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Hundreds join in a Muslim prayer at the beginning of Seattle’s vigil held in Westlake Park in honor of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. (Photo by Alex Garland)

As the last of the sun ducked behind the glowing Pike Place Market sign on Feb. 14, the Muslim call to prayer rang through Seattle’s Westlake Park during an evening vigil in memory of Chapel Hill shooting victims Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

Hundreds of Muslims gathered together, laid their mats on the cement and listened to recited verses from the Quran, which included verse 3:125:

“Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of God and the enemy come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction].”

Coincidentally, about 5,000 people of all faiths attended the funeral just a few days prior in North Carolina for the three victims. The three students of University of North Carolina were fatally shot by a neighbor on Feb. 10 at their apartment complex near the school campus in Chapel Hill.

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Family members of Antonio Zambrano-Montes gather outside of Pasco City Hall to protest the shooting. (Photo courtesy of Anna King / Northwest News Network)
Family members of Antonio Zambrano-Montes gather outside of Pasco City Hall to protest the shooting. (Photo courtesy of Anna King / Northwest News Network)

Dozens of bystanders witnessed Pasco police officers shoot at Antonio Zambrano-Montes over thirteen times on Tuesday.

It was the latest in a string of recent incidents where Pasco police have used deadly force against citizens, and evoked an angry response from locals and family members who gathered outside Pasco City Hall yesterday.

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A crowd packed a King County Council meeting to object to a new youth jail. (Photo courtesy South Seattle Emerald.)
A crowd packed a King County Council meeting to object to the approval of a building contract for a new youth jail. (Photo by Celia Berk for the South Seattle Emerald.)

This story originally appeared on the South Seattle Emerald.

Monday’s King County Council meeting to approve the contract for the building of a new youth detention center turned into a marathon session of civil disobedience.

What was intended to be a cut and dry public hearing ended up punctuated by police scuffles and full throated salvos against the county’s proposed plans as protesters refused to allow an end to public testimony until every last voiceagainst what they perceived as a noose around the necks of youth of color in the areawas heard.

Hundreds of protesters jam-packed the King County Council chambers and foyer area located on the 10th floor of the King County Building on 3rd Avenue and James in Seattle’s Pioneer Square district beginning at 1:30 p.m. and did not leave until almost 7 p.m.

“I’m so tired of coming downtown to speak out about this stuff,” said Afam Ayika, who had spent the last two years actively organizing against the detention center. “I’m so tired of people making policies that affect our youth in the South End but but have no effect on children in Fremont, Magnolia and Mercer Island. They need to come down to Rainier Valley and see how our kids are being impacted.”

Ayika joined a swarm of opponents Monday to publicly decry the County’s plans to build a voter-approved $210 million juvenile detention center on 12th and Alder in the Squire Park neighborhood. It would replace a pre-existing detention center in the same location, which is drastically in need of repairs.

Afam Ayika addresses King County Council. (Photo by Celia Berk for the South Seattle Emerald)
Afam Ayika addresses King County Council. (Photo by Celia Berk for the South Seattle Emerald)

County officials, workers and volunteers compared the current facility’s conditions to those of a dungeon or sewage plant.

Opponents, on the other hand, see the proposed facility as perpetuation of the county’s disproportionate incarceration of black youth – noting they make up 42 percent of the juvenile prison population while accounting for only 8 percent of the general population at large.

Monday afternoon, which almost bubbled into bedlam between police and protesters, was just the latest in a series of public meetings many demonstrators had flocked to in attempts to delay the center’s construction.

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FBI agents

An FBI community outreach program in Seattle received orders to gather intelligence on the Somali community, according to reports released this week by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis.

Seattle was one of six cities targeted in a 2009 plan to use the FBI’s community outreach programs to gather intelligence on Somali immigrants, according to documents obtained and published by Michael Price, counsel for the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. The order was rescinded in 2010.

While the Brennan Center report said the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area was identified as the program’s top priority, the Star-Tribune reported that the Minneapolis FBI officials told reporters it resisted the spy orders because the bureau’s outreach specialists did not want to jeopardize their relationships with community members.

Seattle FBI field office spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams told the Globalist that the FBI’s community outreach relationships are important to build trust.

“Unfortunately in Seattle, we’ve seen a number of incidents with bias crime,” she said, referring to several recent attacks on immigrant cab drivers. “It’s for things like that, so that people know that we have a commitment to investigate.”

She said in the al-Shabab case in Minneapolis, it was members of the Somali community who came to FBI agents to report that their family members had been radicalized.

“They came to us; we’re not suspicious of them. They want to protect their families,” she said.

The FBI has long had community outreach programs and fostered relationships with community groups, to provide mentorship and to build trust in law enforcement, according to the agency’s website.

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Seattle teacher and author Jesse Hagopian pepper sprayed at the Black Lives Matter rally on  Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Seattle teacher and author Jesse Hagopian pepper sprayed at the Black Lives Matter rally on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Provided by James Bible via YouTube screen shot.)

Garfield High School teacher and commentator/author Jesse Hagopian filed a $500,000 claim against the city of Seattle on Wednesday, nine days after being pepper sprayed at a “Black Lives Matter” rally on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, according to The Stranger and KIRO TV, and other reports.

The incident occurred on South Lake Union, shortly after Hagopian delivered a speech to the crowd, according to a press release to the news outlets sent by Hagopian’s attorney, James Bible.

Bible told reporters in the statement that Hagopian had been talking to his mother about being picked up for his son’s birthday party when a Seattle police officer deployed the pepper spray, directly hitting him.

A video posted to YouTube shows Hagopian talking on the phone and walking onto the sidewalk near a line of Seattle police officers on bicycles, with one officer yelling, “Get back! Seattle Police Department!” just before using the spray.