JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Ex-lawmaker’s son charged in planning sophisticated attacks against Seattle police

Oct 16, 2020, 7:14 PM | Updated: Dec 23, 2020, 12:44 pm
19-year-old suspect, Jacob Greenberg, is accused of assault and arson. (Court documents) 19-year-old suspect, Jacob Greenberg, is accused of assault and arson. (Court documents) 19-year-old suspect, Jacob Greenberg, is accused of assault and arson. (Court documents) 19-year-old suspect, Jacob Greenberg, is accused of assault and arson. (Court documents) 19-year-old suspect, Jacob Greenberg, is accused of assault and arson. (Court documents) 19-year-old suspect, Jacob Greenberg, is accused of assault and arson. (Court documents) 19-year-old suspect, Jacob Greenberg, is accused of assault and arson. (Court documents) 19-year-old suspect, Jacob Greenberg, is accused of assault and arson. (Court documents) 19-year-old suspect, Jacob Greenberg, is accused of assault and arson. (Court documents)

The stepson of a former Democratic state lawmaker is charged with assaulting a police officer and planning sophisticated attacks against police.

The video of the assault, which showed an officer hit in the helmet with a bat, went viral after a night of intense, escalating violence against police officers.

Jacob Greenberg, 19, is in King County jail on charges of assault in the first degree, attempted arson in the first degree, and reckless burning in the first degree (a charge from an earlier case). Note: Charging documents misspell his last name as “Greenburg.” 

His alleged accomplice has been identified as Danielle McMillan. She has been charged with attempted arson and has a criminal history including assault in the fourth degree and reckless driving. Several other suspects have not yet been publicly identified.

Greenberg is the stepson of former Democrat representative Laura Ruderman of Kirkland. Last month, the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH first reported Greenberg was the suspect in the assault. She used her position as a state lawmaker to convince a judge to lower the bail on the previous charge and release him to her custody.

“He is basically a good kid, straight ‘A’ student,” Ruderman said. “I’ve served the state in the legislature we will make sure he follows all the provision.”

If even a small portion of the allegations against Greenberg are true, he’s not a “good kid” at all.

Allegations of sophisticated plans

Charging documents allege Greenberg and McMillan “spent their time this fall plotting various assaults and fire bombings on police officers.”

The conversations between the two showed “a high degree of sophistication and planning for their attacks, identifying targets (Seattle Police Officer’s Guild, East Precinct), itemizing the needs for set numbers of Molotov cocktails, calculating expected loss for failed bombs, and where to obtain supplies.”

Greenberg and McMillan allegedly discussed “Molotov cocktail tattoos to memorialize their attacks,” while “sharing news articles of their criminal activities with pride.” Specifically, they said they were “proud of Greenberg” for his assault against the police officer.

They even communicated ways to “destroy evidence of their attack plans.” They obviously failed at that.

Rantz: At least 118 Seattle police officers left department in mass exodus

Sept. 1: Molotov cocktails

On the night of Sept. 1, a group of nearly 100 black bloc agitators met at Cal Anderson Park across the street from the East Precinct. The park has long been used as a staging ground for violent assaults against police targets.

Earlier that day, Greenberg texted a friend identified as “Mariel,” who allegedly texted, “I want to get some stuff going tonight. Like some real <expletive>, ya know?”

Mariel then discussed “what’s needed for the cocktails” and Greenberg replied, “Gas, mid sized bottle, wicc, rag.”

After a short march, the agitators arrived at the East Precinct, many committing acts of vandalism. Greenberg, McMillan, and a third suspect huddled behind an umbrella — a common tactic to shield illegal behavior from surveillance cameras. Moments later, probable cause documents say McMillan lit the wick of a Molotov cocktail, then launched it at the precinct. It didn’t explode.

Then, Greenberg was seen throwing a Molotov cocktail, striking the East Precinct, which was occupied by officers at the time. Both Greenberg and McMillan are associated with other suspects accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at the precinct.

Police say the “group had clearly orchestrated the obscuring of security cameras, and the shielding of the criminal actors as they prepared their Molotov cocktails for throwing.”

Afterwards, Greenberg texted Mariel again. She talked about her failed Molotov cocktail attack. But Greenberg was an understanding friend, texting, “I think we were both nervous as <expletive> and so yea but next time you’ll get it.”

They then discussed recruiting people “who are willing to do stuff like us,” with Greenberg threatening action at the Seattle Police Officers Guild. “I say we make SPOG a bit toasty like we did to ep tonight” (“ep” presumably stands for East Precinct).

Sept. 11 and 23: Bat to the head

Greenberg, wearing the same outfit and carrying the same backpack as he did on Sept. 1, allegedly participated in other demonstrations on Sept. 11 and 23, according to video surveillance.

While he didn’t commit any illegal acts on Sept. 11, he’s accused of participating in a riot on Sept. 23.

A group of nearly 300 agitators, mostly dressed in black bloc, marched through Capitol Hill and downtown, smashing windows along the way. Officers dispersed the crowd and followed them back to Cal Anderson Park, where the agitators regrouped before marching again.

While officers were making arrests, an unknown suspect grabbed an officer’s SPD-issued bicycle, causing the officer to crash to the ground. As he was getting up, Greenberg allegedly came from behind with an aluminum baseball bat and, “with the full swing of a baseball bat, struck the back” of the officer’s head.

According to police documents, the “force of the strike was powerful enough that [Greenberg’s] follow-through from the strike … appeared to throw [him] off balance and caused him to stumble to the ground …”

Sept. 26: Fire

There was another agitator gathering on Sept. 26 that led to yet another riot outside the East Precinct.

About 100, dressed in black bloc, created a barricade of dumpsters and other materials. They were set on fire outside of the precinct.

Greenberg is accused of helping set some of the fires. He was arrested that night.

The physical evidence

Using video surveillance, detectives were able to connect Greenberg to the other criminal demonstrations.

Among the items seized were distinct pants, a full face respirator mask with white round filters, a Nikon camera, a black balaclava, branded gloves, and other items that detectives say tie him to the earlier alleged actions.

A search warrant was executed on Sept. 27 at his parent’s home, where he lives. Former State Rep. Ruderman was present.

Investigators recovered two bats, including one aluminum bat. They suspect it was the same one used to assault the police officer. Two days later, a detective obtained a warrant to search Greenberg’s car. They found a helmet they allege tie the suspect to the Sept. 1 and 11 events.

The text evidence

The detective found a treasure trove of allegedly incriminating text messages to and from Greenberg.

On Sept. 2, the day after he was accused of using Molotov cocktails against the East Precinct, Greenberg texts: “How many Molotovs are you think we should have by Labor Day. Cuz we shouldn’t over use our resources ya dig?”

In another text thread, Greenberg writes, “Oh I was also a part of the youth jail fires. Hell yea dude. That’s <expletive> awesome. I was the one who Molotov the east precinct and other then that I’ve broken windows for other people …”

Later that night, Greenberg allegedly shared a KOMO news article that shows his assault against the officer. His friend joked about calling 911 on him. He then texted McMillan a link of a video of the officer being assaulted.

“I AM SO PISSED AT THE COPS!!! I <EXPLETIVE> WENT OFF ON THEM TONIGHT!,” he texted. He opined, “I’m proud too hehe. Wish he didn’t have a helmet on lol,” and McMillan replied, “Well still a great shot though.” Greenberg agreed.

Greenberg and McMillan discussed destroying evidence of their crime, according to detectives. The texts indicate the two used the texting apps Signal and Telegraph, which allow untraceable chats.

Other “notable quotes” highlighted from the Greenberg texts including, “And can we like pls slit every spd throat,” and “I want the whole damn system to just burn the <expiative> down!!! Btw I really like fire.”

What’s next

Greenberg has been charged and the King County Prosecutor’s Office recommended bail at $750,000. A judge agreed. They also asked $100,000 for McMillan and a judge agreed there too.

The charges came the same day that they received the investigation from police, but neither have been arraigned yet.

That hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29. He will remain in jail until then, unless he posts bail.

UPDATE: Will U.S. Attorney get involved?

U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran has been more involved in taking over federal cases similar to what’s alleged here. Will he intervene? A spokesperson says they’re monitoring:

We continue to work closely with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on this matter. In deciding whether a case should go federal we consider many things including the available federal vs state charges and the various penalties. The information uncovered in the investigation to date indicates state charges carry significant penalties which are appropriate to the conduct described. For example, there is no federal charge relating to the assault on the officer that carries the same significant penalty as the assault charge under state law.

That said, we will continue to work with our King County colleagues if further investigation indicates federal prosecution is warranted.

UPDATE 12/23/20: Psych evaluation

Greenberg has been temporarily released from jail for a psychiatrist evaluation. The expert wasn’t able to visit the jail due to COVID-19. The suspect will be back in jail by the end of the afternoon. A judge has ordered the records of the evaluation to be sealed.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter and Instagram or like me on Facebook.

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Rantz: Ex-lawmaker’s son charged in planning sophisticated attacks against Seattle police