A Seattle man faces charges of felony stalking brought against him on Wednesday despite allegations of a hate crime occurring at U.S. Rep Pramila Jayapal’s home July 9, KING 5 reports.
Jayapal, her husband, and a neighbor reported hearing multiple male voices shout expletives and possibly the phrase, “Go back to India,” before driving away from the West Seattle neighborhood. Police arrested Brett Forsell when the 49-year-old returned armed with a pistol later that night, stopping in Jayapal’s driveway, The Seattle Times reports.
According to KING 5, Jayapal’s husband, Steve Williamson, provided investigators with video of voices shouting comments with the word “India.” However, Forsell faces no hate crime charges since police could not determine with certainty that Forsell made the comments in the video, KING 5 reports.
“Police investigators did not forward a hate crime case to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office,” KING 5 reports. “An investigator with the Seattle Police Department noted he did not believe a hate crime or malicious harassment had been committed, according to court documents.”
Forsell denies making threats against Jayapal’s life or referring to her race and ethnicity, The Tribune India reports. Forsell admits to yelling profanities, drinking that night and setting up a tent in front of Jayapal’s house, but notes his actions were the result of his struggle with mental illness, The Tribune reports.
According to The Seattle Times, Forsell continued to talk about firearms while in police custody. Police required Forsell surrender any guns and pistol licenses in his possession via a temporary extreme risk protection order (ERPO).
“Those remarks demonstrate that he is focused on getting his Glock .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun back as quickly as possible and that he also plans to obtain an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff wrote in the charges, according to The Seattle Times. “He also stated that he intends to continue his pattern of returning to Representative Jayapal’s house until, in his words, she ‘goes back to India.’”
Forsell alleges his feelings about Jayapal are based purely on difference of political opinion and Jayapal’s Democrat status, according to The Tribune. Jayapal, the first Indian American woman elected to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, released a statement Wednesday.
“The news today from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office that they have charged Mr. Forsell with felony stalking demonstrates that the justice system is doing its work,” Jayapal said via Twitter. “I am grateful to the King County Prosecutor’s Office for holding this man accountable for his dangerous actions…”
AsAmNews is incorporated in the state of California as Asian American Media, Inc and has an application for non-profit 501c3 status with the IRS pending. Check out our Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story, or making a financial contribution. We are committed to the highest ethical standards in journalism. Please report any typos or errors to info at AsAmNews dot co