Man suspected of attacking Burien mayor turns himself in

The man suspected of attacking Burien's mayor turns himself in.

BURIEN, Wash. — A man suspected of a hate crime against Burien's first Latino mayor has turned himself into police. Mayor Jimmy Matta announced the arrest an already-planned city hall rally to support him.

Matta found himself in the embrace of a community now feeling empowered to speak up because of what he says was a racially motivated assault on him at the Olde Burien Block Party last Saturday as he greeted a friend.

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​"I said 'Hey,' and when I said that, I felt somebody grab me from the back of my neck like this," he said, showing how he was grabbed. He said he was pulled down and that's when (he got this) little puncture."

The man, he says, shouted expletives.

"Just basically, he said, 'You think you're a celebrity in this town, you ain't blank,'" Matta said, recounting the conversation. "'You and your illegals, don't mess with me, you and your illegals, because I'll kill you.'"

After Matta went public about the assault, the Latino community rallied around him.

"Let me tell you, there are a lot of people out there," said Nina Martinez, chairwoman of the Latino Civic Alliance, who organized the event, "that have been harassed, spit at, verbally assaulted, physically assaulted. And they don't want to say anything because they believe that if they say anything, worse is going to come to them."

Matta got the call Monday night that the 62-year-old white Burien man had turned himself into Burien police. Matta says he has had encounters with the man before.

"The previous times he was just telling me where he stood on particular issues," Matta said. "But this is the first that he actually roughed me up and threatened me. But you know, I forgive the guy. Right?

But he does want the man to face charges. He was arrested, fingerprinted, photographed and released.

A spokesman for the King County Sheriff said detectives planned to forward the case to the King County prosecutor Tuesday. They are recommending that the man be charged with a hate crime.