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Man held in threatening Seattle’s openly gay mayor, socialist council member

Saturday, January 18, 2014
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SEATTLE — A 32-year-old man accused of threatening Seattle’s openly gay mayor and a socialist City Council member in Facebook postings was ordered held in jail Friday on $600,000 bail.

Mitchell Munro Taylor

Mitchell Munro Taylor

Mitchell Munro Taylor of Seattle was arrested Thursday night, two days after Mayor Ed Murray’s staff found more than 20 threatening, anti-gay postings from the man’s account on Murray’s Facebook page, court documents said.

One post said “Mayor, meet Harvey Milk,” a reference to a gay rights activist and San Francisco board of supervisors member who was fatally shot in 1978, The Seattle Times reported (http://is.gd/atEoNf ).

Another post on the mayor’s page said “death to socialist council member.” Kshama Sawant is the first socialist City Council member in Seattle’s modern history. While she was not named directly, police said they think she was the target of that post.

Taylor was held on suspicion of two counts of cyberstalking and two counts of malicious harassment.

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On Friday, defense lawyer Eric Lindell told King County District Court Judge Arthur Chapman that his client has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. He said his client had been off his medications and asked that bail be set at $10,000. Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff sought $1 million bail.

Taylor lives with his parents and works for “an aerospace company,” his lawyer said. The Times reported that Taylor has no criminal history.

According to an affidavit filed in court, the mayor told police he found the comments very offensive and considered some to be death threats. The same document said Sawant told police she was concerned for her safety and the safety of her family.

Both were elected last November and sworn in earlier this month.

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