EVERETT — Videos from a pro-police rally Friday night shared on social media show an 18-year-old man being arrested after he taunted people, including sheriff’s deputies, by dangling a doughnut hanging from a stick in front of them.
He was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of fourth-degree assault and released the next day after making bail of $1,000.
The young man, from Duvall, had been a more daring counter-protester of the “Back the Blue” rally on Friday, which had been organized by the Snohomish County Republican Party. Featured speakers were candidates for state office, a local Young Republican and Sheriff Adam Fortney. Deputies estimated more than 300 people were in an attendance.
While most of the counter-protesters kept their distance and stayed on the other side of the street, the man was visible in the middle of the rally, holding up a skateboard with “BLM” and “ACAB” (which stands for All Cops Are [expletive]) written on it, and yelling “Black Lives Matter” as the crowd chanted “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter.”
Caution: This video contains potentially offensive language.
Around 8:20 p.m. on Friday, the man approached a group that included sheriff’s deputies and marshals assigned to patrol the courthouse campus, one of whom was a lieutenant wearing plain clothes. The suspect reportedly shoved the stick toward the plain-clothes deputy, and marshal James Simoneschi pushed him away before arresting him, according to a police report obtained by The Daily Herald on Monday through a public records request. In court papers, the suspect was listed as 5-foot-5 and weighing 120 pounds.
There were no reports or video evidence reviewed by The Daily Herald that the man touched anyone during the rally.
Olushola Bolonduro, 26, one of the organizers of the counter-protest, said he witnessed the encounter with the doughnut, which took place after the rally ended and after most people had dispersed. From his perspective, the man didn’t do anything to deserve being jailed.
“I thought, ‘Oh, it’s just a kid pulling a prank,’” Bolonduro said. He said he would understand if the deputies were annoyed, or if they gave him a warning, but arresting him seemed petty.
A teenage girl who took part in the counter-protest recorded the encounter on video. The footage starts with the man skateboarding toward a group of people who remained gathered after the “Back the Blue” rally had ended, holding a stick with a doughnut dangling from a string.
“I wanted to know if any of you guys wanted a bite?” he asks two Snohomish County sheriff’s marshals in the video, as he waved the doughnut at them.
A younger looking man jokes he already had “like 10 doughnuts” earlier in the day.
The man holds the doughnut up higher in the air, in front of the plain-clothes lieutenant.
“Hey, any of you bootlickers want this?” the man says, louder.
The sheriff’s lieutenant immediately becomes upset.
“Get that (expletive) away from my face or I will whoop your (expletive),” he says. “Get the (expletive) away from me.”
Simoneschi then shoves the man from behind. “Get your (expletive) out of here, man,” he says.
Meanwhile, the girl is still recording. Simoneschi arrests the teenage man. The girl asks why he’s getting arrested, then gets shoved by the other deputy, who earlier was laughing at the doughnut prank.
“Back off! Back off! He assaulted a lieutenant,” that marshal shouts. “You back off or you’ll go to jail.”
In his report, Simoneschi wrote that the man had pushed the stick toward the plain clothes lieutenant’s face. The lieutenant was standing on a set of concrete stairs with a retaining wall and hand rail behind him, unable to back away, according to the report.
That’s when Simoneschi pushed the man away, he wrote.
“I observed (the man) move closer to (the lieutenant’s) face and that (the lieutenant) could not retreat any more or move out of (the man’s) way,” Simoneschi wrote. “I pushed (the man’s) arm and (the man) away from” the lieutenant, his report said.
After, the young man “asked another protester, ‘did you get it’ and she stated, ‘yes I did,’” Simoneschi added.
There had been no issues at the rally until counter-protesters crossed the street to confront the attendees, sheriff’s spokesperson Courtney O’Keefe said in an email.
“The individual in the video was also intimidating and verbally attacking ‘Back the Blue’ rally attendees as they were leaving the area Friday night,” she wrote.
On Saturday, the girl related her experience in a public Facebook post. She said she brought the doughnut as a joke, and that earlier in the night it had been well received by people gathered on both sides.
One person went as far as to thank her for bringing humor to “tense events” like Friday night’s, she wrote.
The young man, who turned 18 in February, has had previous run-ins with the police, as a juvenile. In January 2019, he was booked for third-degree assault when he swung his arms at an officer while being treated for a suspected alcohol overdose at a local hospital. In July 2018, he reportedly was “angrily yelling profanities” at police when they arrested him for malicious mischief, harassment and fourth-degree assault. And in 2014, when he was just 12, he hit a school staff member and threatened a Lynnwood police officer, according to court documents.