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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.

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A driver displays sample passport cards and Washington state enhanced IDs, which are acceptable at the 'Ready Lane' at the border crossing between Washington and British Columbia.
A driver displays sample passport cards and Washington state enhanced IDs, which are acceptable at the ‘Ready Lane’ at the border crossing between Washington and British Columbia. (Photo by U.S. Embassy in Canada, via Flickr.)

State lawmakers are trying to balance new federal regulations on ID cards with Washington’s existing laws that allow undocumented immigrants to access driver’s licenses.

Currently, applicants don’t have to disclose their U.S. citizenship or residency status when applying for a driver’s license or identification card in Washington state.

Under a proposal being considered in the state legislature, the Washington Department of Licensing would keep questions of citizenship optional for standard IDs.

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Nestora Salgado addresses the community police force she lead in Olinalá, Mexico, prior to her arrest last year. (Still from Youtube)
Nestora Salgado addresses the community police force she lead in Olinalá, Mexico, prior to her arrest in 2013. (Still from Youtube)

Nestora Salgado, the Renton woman who returned to Mexico to head a community police force, should be a free woman, the interim Gov. Rogelio Ortega of Guerrero, Mexico, said this week.

The statement by Ortega could be a key step in freeing Salgado and getting federal kidnapping charges against her dropped, according to a story published this week by the Associated Press.

Salgado, a naturalized U.S. citizen, faces charges of kidnapping after her community police force arrested several people, including a city official accused of stealing a cow and the Los Angeles Times.

The previous governor of Guerrero, Angel Aguirre, had been critical of Salgado’s methods, according to the Los Angeles Times. However,Ortega was named as Guerrero’s interim governor after Aguirre left the governorship last year in the political fallout following the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, another city in Guerrero.

The charges against Salgado were filed by Mexican federal prosecutors, but the Associated Press reported that Ortega said that Guerrero’s government “does not attack social struggles or movements.”

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Taxi hate crime
A not-guilty plea was entered in the assault of a cab driver in Seattle that is alleged to be racially motivated. (Photo via Flickr user doerky)

A man accused of beating a Somali American taxi driver while calling him a “terrorist” pleaded not guilty Monday to hate crime and assault charges.

Jesse Alexander Fleming, a U.S. Navy sailor based in Everett, is charged with second degree assault and malicious harassment, a charge that alleges that the Dec. 7 attack was motivated by racial, ethnic or religious bias. He is free in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Fleming, 26, is accused of beating taxi driver Adan Ali Gaal, 34, unconscious, causing Gaal’s cab to roll downhill, striking several cars and an apartment building in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, according to charging papers.

The case is the second high profile assault of a cab driver in Seattle that prosecutors say has alleged racial or religious motivation in the past two years. The previous case was tried by federal prosecutors.

Gaal told police that Fleming got angry after a slow credit card transaction, and accused Gaal of being a terrorist and told him to “go back to your own country,” according to charging papers. Gaal also suffered a broken nose, according to prosecutors.

Fleming told police that he hit Gaal in self-defense, according to the charging documents. According to KIRO TV, which obtained video of the investigation from the Seattle Police Department, Fleming told police that Gaal was using abusive and explicit language against the United States.

 

 

The independent Ark Lodge Cinemas in Seattle will show "The Interview," after major movie theater chains pulled out of screening the comedy set in North Korea and starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. Phot
The independent Ark Lodge Cinemas in Seattle will show “The Interview,” after major movie theater chains pulled out of screening the comedy set in North Korea and starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. (Photo via “The Interview” official Facebook page.)

Ark Lodge Cinemas in Seattle’s Columbia City is among the 200 indie theaters nationwide that will show the nearly shelved “The Interview” on Christmas Day, according to entertainment site Deadline.com and the theater’s website.