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Seattle Arson Investigated As Hate Crime, Bail Set At $1 Million

Musab Masmari

In the latest development of Seattle's gay bar arsonist, police have determined that Musab Musmari is a flight risk and have thus set his bail at $1 million. This determination was reached in light of the fact that when SPD arrested Musmari as he was leaving home he was in possession of his U.S. and Libyan passports and a one-way airline ticket to Turkey.

Meanwhile, the FBI, working on the case as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, are investigating the case as a possible hate crime, and friends and victims of Musmari have described him as having increasingly volatile and unstable behavior over the past year.


Police Make Arrest in Seattle New Years Eve Gay Nightclub Arson: VIDEO

Masmari

Police have made an arrested 30-year-old Musab Masmari in connection with the arson at Seattle's Neighbours gay nightclub on New Year's Eve, KING5 reports:

Police took Masmari into custody as he was en route to the airport.  Police say following the arrest, Masmari was interviewed by detectives and later booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Arson.

It was just after midnight on New Year's Eve while nearly 700 people crammed into Neighbours for a celebration when customers noticed the staircase at the iconic gay club was on fire. Management at the iconic gay club in Capitol Hill later discovered a gasoline container near the stairs.

A surveillance video released by police led to the identification of Masmari. His motives are still unknown. 750 people were inside the nightclub at the time. Slog has more on MAsmari's background HERE.

Watch KING5's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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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.


Seattle's First Gay Mayor Ed Murray Lays Out First Year Plans: VIDEO

Murray

Ed Murray, Seattle's first gay mayor and first mayor in a same-sex marriage, sits down with local station KIRO to talk about plans for his first year in office.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Fourth Openly Gay Man Appointed To Washington House

Brady Wilkinshaw

After Ed Murray was elected to mayor of Seattle last month, his position in the 43rd Legislative District state Senate was left vacant. State representative Jamie Pedersen ran for the seat more or less unopposed and as a result his seat in the state House has been filled by Cuban-American and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation officer Brady Walkinshaw.

Wilkinshaw is now the fourth openly gay man in a row to be elected to the state House, with Pedersen before him being openly gay, as well as Pedersen's predecessors Ed Murray and Cal Anderson. On Wilkinshaw's platform were the advancement of gay rights as well as passing the Voting Rights Act, which failed the last time it was in Olympia. During the Q&A he noted that Yakima's seven-member citywide council did not have a single Latino representative despite Latinos comprising over 40% of the population, suggesting that Wilkinshaw could help usher in more cultural diversity among Seattle's lawmakers.


Ed Murray Declares Victory in Seattle Mayoral Race, Will Be City's First Out Gay Mayor: VIDEO

Murray

Ed Murray, an 18-year veteran of Washington's legislature and an architect of Washington state's marriage equality law, declared victory in the Seattle mayoral race on Tuesday night, defeating incumbent mayor Mike McGinn. He'll be the city's first openly gay mayor.

The Seattle Times reports:

Murray grabbed a commanding 56 percent of the votes counted on election night, compared with 43 percent for McGinn.

At a jubilant party at Neumos on Capitol Hill, Murray took the stage before 9 p.m. to cheers and hugs from supporters, including a pack of elected leaders who’d endorsed him.

Signaling the change in tone he hopes to bring to City Hall, Murray said his campaign “was energized by the belief that Seattle can show the nation that government can work once again.”

Although he acknowledged votes remain to be counted, Murray said if current trends hold, “we are here tonight to declare victory.”

About 90,000 votes were counted in the mayor’s race Tuesday. If King County elections officials’ estimate of 57 percent turnout in Seattle hold, McGinn would have to capture 54 percent or more of the remaining votes to make up his big deficit — a virtually impossible task.

Watch raw video from KIRO, AFTER THE JUMP...

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