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Man Arrested For Violent Threats Against Gay Seattle Mayor, City Council Member

TaylorseattleMitchell Munro Taylor, 32, was arrested last Thursday on charges of cyberstalking and malicious harassment after posting over twenty anti-gay statements on Seattle mayor Ed Murray's Facebook page. The posts threatened violence against not only Murray, but also city council member Kshama Sawant.

The Seattle Times reports:

One post said, “Mayor meet Harvey Milk,” a reference to slain San Francisco board of supervisors member Harvey Milk.

Milk, who was openly gay, was murdered in 1978.

Other posts said “death to socialist council member” and “feminists must get raped and die.”

...

Murray, when interviewed by police, said he found the comments posted on his Facebook page to be very offensive and considered some to be death threats, according to the probable-cause affidavit filed Friday by Ernsdorff.

While Sawant wasn’t named directly in the postings, police believe she was the target because she is the only socialist on the council. Sawant, who was elected to the Seattle City Council in November, told police that “she was concerned for her safety and the safety of her family,” the affidavit said.

Taylor's defense attorney, Eric Lindell, reported that Taylor has Asperger's syndrome and had been off of his medications when the posts were made, though just how those facts play in remain unclear. Lindell asked for bail to be set at $10,000, while prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff requested a far more significant sum of $1 million. On Friday, Taylor's bail was set at $600,000 in the King County District Court presided over by Judge Arthur Chapman.

Taylor reportedly has no prior criminal record. 

Photo via Seattle Times.

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Comments

  1. This is very troubling. In spite of recent events, like the Newtown shootings, people with Asperger's are usually quite passive, although they are prone to self-injury. I hope this man gets the help he needs and can avoid a prison sentence which would not be helpful to him at all.

    Posted by: Ken | Jan 20, 2014 7:18:56 PM


  2. To blame his behaviour on Asperger's syndrome is repulsive.

    Posted by: badtattoo | Jan 20, 2014 7:33:46 PM


  3. It will take a lot to sell the "off his meds" defense. Pharmaceutical treatment, by itself, does very little: behavioral therapy and environmental control are the first line treatment, with or without drugs. Either someone seriously dropped the ball on his care, or the defense is flat-out lying.

    Posted by: Gregory in Seattle | Jan 20, 2014 7:54:04 PM


  4. @ Gregory; The defense IS flat-out lying.

    Posted by: badtattoo | Jan 20, 2014 8:08:21 PM


  5. I still don't get this being charged for making statements on the net...
    Jail time? Please. No priors. Give him a warning and let it go.

    Posted by: Matteo | Jan 20, 2014 10:18:46 PM


  6. What is the proper response in mental health situations when someone is "off their meds?" Assassination and rape are not light topics, and to state the threat to the mayor as "Mayor meet Harvey Milk" is nothing off-the-cuff: this involves knowledge of that incident.

    Does everyone who has been prescribed meds and goes off of them expect to get a pass because they have no prior criminal history?

    Taylor made nearly two dozen threatening posts. I would be very frightened of the potential here.

    Posted by: Steve | Jan 21, 2014 12:13:00 AM


  7. Not being on medication is not an excuse. He chose not to take his medicine, and if he wants to use that as a pathetic excuse, then he still needs to be held fully accountable for his actions. People think they can threaten and troll on the internet, but enough is enough.

    Posted by: Reality | Jan 21, 2014 12:53:14 AM


  8. Could Mitchell Munro be another tragic example of a closeted self loathing homosexual?

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 21, 2014 1:01:38 AM


  9. Meds or no meds, Aspy's don't make violent threats. It's not part of their overall psyche do to so.

    They may withdraw, they may seek zero interaction, etc.

    Violent death threats are not part of the Aspergers psychological make-up. This defense is a horrible slap to all Aspergers victims and is reprehensible.

    Posted by: johnny | Jan 21, 2014 8:01:38 AM


  10. Please note that making death threats to "normal" people will rarely motivate the police to arrest them or even investigate. Despite what the law says about assault, your abusive ex-boyfriend will not get arrested for calling you night and day. You'd need to get a restraining order first.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 21, 2014 11:40:15 AM


  11. Alas, yes, even in Seattle, we have Right Wing nutters and extremists. I hope this man serves serious jail time.

    Posted by: Liam SW | Jan 21, 2014 12:26:11 PM


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