Redmond worker arrested for posting threatening, anti-gay messages on Seattle mayor's Facebook page

City of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (left) and Council Member Kshama Sawant were both targeted with threatening messages posted on Murray
City of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray (left) and Council Member Kshama Sawant were both targeted with threatening messages posted on Murray's public Facebook page.
— image credit: Courtesy Photos

A Seattle man was arrested on Jan. 16 at Crane Aerospace & Electronics in Redmond for posting threatening  and anti-gay messages on City of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s Facebook page.

According to King County charging documents, Mitchell Taylor was charged with malicious harassment, cyber stalking and felony harassment.

“(Taylor) maliciously and intentionally and because of his perception of the sexual orientation of Ed Murray, did threaten a specific person or specific group of persons…and place that person or members of that group of persons in reasonable fear of harm to person and/or property,” the documents state.

Members of Murray’s staff discovered the posts on Jan. 14 and contacted the Seattle Police Department (SPD) due to the messages’ language and threatening manner.

Taylor, who lives in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, posted multiple messages, using gay slurs and expletives and telling Murray to kill himself. One of the messages Taylor posted stated, “Mayor meet Harvey Milk.” According to the charging documents, this is a reference to Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. Milk was assassinated on Nov. 27, 1978.

SPD Detective Timothy Renihan interviewed Murray, showing him Taylor’s comments. Charging documents state that Murray, who is openly gay, found the comments offensive and took the comment regarding Milk as a direct threat to his life.

Murray’s office declined to comment on the story.

In addition to the threats directed toward Murray, Taylor also posted “death to socialist council member.” Charging documents state that Seattle City Council has only one Socialist member, newly elected Kshama Sawant.

Renihan interviewed Sawant and showed her Taylor’s comments. According to the charging documents, she was “concerned for her safety and the safety of her family.”

Attempts to contact Sawant by the Reporter were unsuccessful.

According to the charging documents, Taylor posted nearly three dozen messages on Murray’s Facebook page. And “while every posting is concerning in and of itself, the sum total present a frightening and rage-filled threat against” Murray and Sawant, the document states.

Seattle detectives located and arrested Taylor on Jan. 16  at his place of employment, Crane Aerospace & Electronics in Redmond.

The company declined to comment on the story.

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