Police Probe Attack On Sanctuary City Mayor As Hate Crime

The mayor of Burien, Washington, said the suspect was angry about the city's immigration policies.

The mayor of a Seattle suburb says he was pulled to the ground and threatened by a man angry about his city’s policies supporting undocumented immigrants.  

Sheriff’s deputies said they were investigating the alleged weekend attack on Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta as a possible hate crime. Investigators haven’t identified a suspect, but Matta vowed to press charges.

Matta wrote in a Sunday Facebook post that he was “physically assaulted and verbally threatened” by a white male upset because Burien is a so-called sanctuary city, which limits local cooperation with federal immigration authorities. 

“We have no room for hate or violence in our community,” Matta wrote. “I don’t care what color or nationality you come from. When your behavior is violent you need to be prosecuted and locked up!!!!!”

The man approached Matta from behind at a party, put his arm around the mayor’s neck and pulled him down to the ground, according to a Burien city press release

“We’re not going to let you Latino illegals take over our city,” Matta said the man threatened, according to The Seattle Times.

Matta said the man was enraged by his Latino heritage and his support for Burien’s law prohibiting local law enforcement from inquiring into someone’s immigration status or religion. Matta has championed Burien as a sanctuary city.

Matta told the paper he had met the man twice before, and had conversations in which the man criticized Matta’s views on immigration.

Matta was elected to Burien City Council in 2017 and later became the city’s first Latino mayor.