Rantz: Suspect accused in stabbing death freed by anti-bail group weeks earlier

City Hall Park, adjacent the King County courthouse. (KTTH, Jason Rantz)

The Northwest Community Bail Fund paid to free a suspect one prosecutor warned was a danger to the public. Just over a month later, that same suspect is in jail, accused of a stabbing death at a Seattle homeless encampment.

Michael Sedejo is a homeless man accused of stabbing another man to death on June 17 in City Hall Park. But in early May, Sedejo was charged with fourth-degree assault and second-degree robbery. He was behind bars until the anti-bail activist group paid his bail for release.

Had it not been for the group paying his bail, the tragedy likely would not have occurred.

Northwest Community Bail Fund released man before alleged stabbing

The Northwest Community Bail Fund (NCBF) is an activist nonprofit fighting against bail. They pay the bail for “marginalized people” who can’t afford to themselves.

“This allows people to get out of jail during their trial period and defend themselves from a position of freedom,” the NCBF says on its website.

In line with their mission, the NCBF paid $5,000 bail to free Sedejo on May 6, according to court documents. At the time, prosecutors asked for $20,000 bail “based on the likelihood that the defendant may commit a violent offense.”

At the time, Sedejo had been charged with assault and robbery stemming from an incident on April 13.

Michael Sedejo bail info in case 21-1-02563-6

Assault and robbery allegations

Police say Sedejo was upset that a 65-year-old man was taking pictures of the homeless encampment at City Hall Park. The man was formerly homeless, and was documenting the site. But, according to court documents, Sedejo “became more hostile and threatening” during the confrontation with the victim.

Sedejo and an unidentified suspect who joined the argument tried to steal the victim’s camera, according to police. The investigation report alleges Sedejo punched the victim in the face, “nearly knocking him unconscious.” It left the victim with a “very swollen right eye” and “bloodied left hand from being [dragged] on the ground.”

Sedejo and the other suspect then allegedly stole the camera and fled back to the encampment. Police were called but did not find the suspects.

Five days later, the victim said he saw Sedejo sitting on a bench near a tent at the park. He approached the suspect, asking what happened to his camera.

“The suspect told him to go away, then picked up a board and walked towards [the victim],” reads the investigation report. “…the suspect struck [the victim] with the board once on each leg.”

This time police were able to make an arrest.

Why did NCBF bail Sedejo out of jail?

Sedejo’s public defender successfully argued for reduced bail.

Judge Melinda Young signed off on the new bail amount at $5,000, originally set at $20,000. The NCBF was there to pay for it. It’s unclear how the NCBF became aware of this case. Sometimes, defenders will alert bail-fund groups about their indigent clients.

Sedejo was to return to court on these charges in July. But now he stands accused of stabbing a homeless man at the same encampment.

According to court documents, Sedejo was arrested on June 17 after police responded to reports of a stabbing. Seattle police spotted Sedejo holding a knife. Medics were unable to save the victim, who as reportedly stabbed 11 times according to the autopsy report. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A King County Judge set Sedejo’s bail at $2 million. Sedejo told police he was defending himself from the victim.

If Sedejo wasn’t able to afford the bail on his own, he arguably would have been in jail on June 17, preventing him from allegedly stabbing the homeless man to death.

NCBF did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Sunday.

The problem with the anti-bail fund movement

There’s a progressive movement gaining momentum in America’s most far-left cities. Seattle is one of them.

Some activists believe that bail is inherently racist and that virtually no one should be kept behind bars as they prepare a defense. There’s certainly an argument on bail reform that deserves a conversation: should a first-time offender who stole food for her kids face excessively high bail? No.

But for many of these activists, they blindly and ideologically oppose all instances of bail towards “marginalized” people, even when the suspects are clear threats. All some activists see are identities that they feel an obligation to defend at all costs.

NCBF makes us unsafe

The NCBF is a fringe group that amplifies dangerous ideas under the guise of “reform.” Fueled by their far-left ideology, they defend criminals at the expense of victims and community safety.

The group opposes bail, arguing it “creates two systems of criminal justice in Washington: one for people who can afford bail, and one for people who can’t.” That sounds just on paper but in practice, this group is considerably more extreme.

On Twitter, the group’s fringe beliefs become more obvious. They endorse movements to abolish prisons. The NCBF argues police must be abolished, too. They push law enforcement to drop charges against violent Black Lives Matter rioters.

Not everyone deserves assistance and moves to release criminal suspects shouldn’t be shrouded in some self-righteous social justice cause. Fighting to release violent suspects isn’t some noble gesture fighting injustice. It’s an extreme position that leads to people’s death or injury. If only this group felt more concern for the damage their activism causes to our communities.

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