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Friday, May 4, 2012 - Page updated at 04:01 p.m.
May Day ruckus brings federal vandalism charge
By Sara Jean Green and Mike Carter
Seattle Times staff reporters
A federal charge was filed Thursday against a 23-year-old homeless man who is accused of damaging Seattle's federal courthouse during Tuesday's violence-marred May Day protests.
Cody Ingram was charged in U.S. District Court with destruction of government property, a crime that carries up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Ingram was charged in U.S. District Court because he allegedly broke windows at a federal building, the William Kenzo Nakamura U.S. Courthouse. He is the only person to thus far face a federal charge in connection with the protests.
Ingram told authorities he lives in Vermont and traveled to Seattle to participate in the protests. He is allegedly one of at least two men captured on video using sticks to break the windows and glass doors at the courthouse, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Shortly after the vandalism, Ingram was spotted by Seattle police carrying the stick on Sixth Avenue, the office said. When confronted by police, Ingram initially refused to drop the stick and resisted when he was being handcuffed by officers, federal prosecutors allege.
On Wednesday, three people facing state charges made their first court appearances after they were arrested on Tuesday. The three are all under investigation for alleged felony assaults on police officers during the May Day protests. Their cases are being handled by the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, which has until Friday to decide on charges.
Another man, 23-year-old Paul Campiche, who works as a secretary at his father's downtown Seattle law firm, made his first court appearance on Thursday for allegedly throwing a bottle at a Seattle police officer and kicking a second officer who was attempting to arrest him. He is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail.
On Wednesday afternoon, King County District Court Judge Anne Harper set bail for Robert Ditrani, 23, at $10,000 and released Joshua Garland, 28, and Maria Morales, 30, on personal recognizance. All three were ordered to stay seven blocks from the intersection of First Avenue and Pike Street, ground zero for the violence that erupted during the May Day protests.
Ditrani was stopped by police for carrying "a long wooden pole that had bolts screwed to the ends" — similar to the ones used by protesters to commit assaults and smash windows at NikeTown and three banks earlier in the day, according to the probable-cause statement filed by police. Before Ditrani's arrest, Mayor Mike McGinn had issued an emergency order that allowed police to confiscate potential weapons from protesters.
Officers took the pole from Ditrani, who began to walk away but then "turned and spit" on one of the officers, the statement says.
"Mr. Ditrani got swept up in something bigger" than himself, defense attorney David Hancock said. "He did hand it (the pole) over to officers when they demanded it."
The judge found probable cause to hold Ditrani on investigation of third-degree assault and expressed concern that this was his second arrest this year.
Ditrani pleaded guilty in March to malicious mischief and trespassing for a Jan. 1 incident in which he scaled an 8-foot fence around a Capitol Hill construction site and broke out the windows on two excavators, causing nearly $3,000 in damage, court records show. A student at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, he was sentenced to 25 days of electronic home detention and 40 hours of community service in that case, the records say.
The judge also found probable cause that Garland, a barista and photographer, committed an assault on an officer. Garland was part of a crowd that circled officers who had just made an arrest and refused to step back when ordered, then grabbed and yanked an officer's arm, "causing physical pain," the statement says.
Garland has documented numerous social-activism events since 2010 through his photography, his defense attorney said.
"His work is the powerful documenting of social activism," said attorney Andrea Robertson, who noted Garland does not have a criminal history.
"He was taking pictures. His hands were on the camera and in no way on the police officer," Robertson said.
Morales waived her appearance after Harper denied her attorney's request that Morales not be photographed by the news media.
According to the probable-cause statement, as officers were forming a "mobile fence line" Tuesday and asked protesters to step back, Morales punched a police officer in the chest.
Defense attorney Robert Jourdan said his client is a full-time student and an emergency-room technician for Group Health. Her boyfriend spoke on her behalf, saying, "she's not a violent person." The judge released Morales on personal recognizance.
Outside the courtroom, Ian Finkenbinder, an Occupy Seattle member who helped organize the May Day protests, said "the narrative" being offered by police and the mayor's office amounted to "trumped-up charges" meant to intimidate those involved in the Occupy movement.
While Finkenbinder said he doesn't "support or condemn" the property destruction and violence, he conceded that Tuesday's event was supposed to have been peaceful. But he said he wasn't surprised by the turn of events, given the public anger with the government and corporate America.
"When you have the inequity we see today, there will be a few broken windows," he said.
Asked to respond to Finkenbinder's assertions, Seattle police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said: "Trumped-up charges? What about the smashing of windows, the hurling of paint, the setting off of incendiary devices? ... These were deliberate acts, and people need to be held responsible."
Meanwhile, in Seattle Municipal Court, Jack Tierney, a 19-year-old California man, was charged Wednesday with unlawful use of weapons, a misdemeanor, by the City Attorney's Office.
Tierney was arrested because he had a 4-inch hunting knife attached to his fanny pack, according to city attorneys. Under city code, it is illegal to carry blades longer than 3 inches.
Because Tierney has no previous criminal history, the city will recommend a one-year continuance in the case, said Kimberly Mills, a spokeswoman for City Attorney Pete Holmes.
The city will wait to read and review the police reports on incidents that led to the arrest of two other men, 28 and 26, she said.
Seattle Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge and news researchers Miyoko Wolf, David Turim and Gene Balk contributed to this report.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654
Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
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