King County prosecutors declared on Tuesday that they would not be pursuing criminal charges against former and current executives in Seattle who were accused of deleting text messages during the Black Lives Matter protests that swept through the city in the summer of 2020.
This decision, as reported by The Seattle Times, arrives a year after the former Prosecuting Attorney, Dan Satterberg, directed the King County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the alleged deletions. These deletions came to public notice in 2021 when a whistleblower disclosed the absence of text messages from then-Mayor Jenny Durkan’s communication records spanning a ten-month period.
The missing messages encompassed a crucial period during Seattle’s summer of 2020 when civil infrastructure and common mores became fractured and devolved.
Notably, both then-police Chief Carmen Best and the current fire Chief Harold Scoggins were found to have failed to retain their text messages over a similar timeframe.
Following the tumultuous events of that summer, a number of businesses situated on Capitol Hill initiated legal proceedings against the city. They contended that city officials had neglected their duty to safeguard them, leading to financial losses and vandalism during the protests.
The gravity of the situation was further underscored when a federal judge sanctioned the city for the text message deletions and raised questions regarding the credibility of Mayor Durkan and other officials who asserted that these deletions were accidental and a result of improper, albeit innocent, settings on their devices. In a striking revelation, the judge determined that Chief Best had manually deleted over 27,000 text messages.
The lawsuit eventually culminated in a settlement of $3.65 million, which included $600,000 in sanctions specifically tied to the deleted text messages. The judge’s findings indicated a substantial body of evidence pointing towards intentional deletions and a concerted effort by officials to conceal them from opposing attorneys.
Throughout this protracted legal battle, Mayor Durkan offered a range of explanations for the missing messages, including phone damage through water exposure had inadvertently produced alterations to deletion settings, and the assertion that “someone” had configured a new phone to automatically delete messages older than 30 days, leading to a continuous cycle of message purging.
Nick Koutsobinas ✉
Nick Koutsobinas, a Newsmax writer, has years of news reporting experience. A graduate from Missouri State University’s philosophy program, he focuses on exposing corruption and censorship.
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