On Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, Craig Peirce Tweney was convicted of Assault in the Fourth Degree for his attack on Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta in 2018.

Tweney was given a deferred sentence with the following conditions:

    • Within 60 days the defendant must make a $750 donation to the Seattle chapter of the Anti-Defamation League
    • Pay $756 in restitution to Jimmy Matta
    • File proof of an alcohol assessment and completion of recommended treatment
    • Pay a $500 Victim Penalty Assessment
    • Have no criminal law violations and no contact with Mayor Matta for 24 months outside of official meetings

According to court documents, Tweney has already completed an alcohol/drug information school and evaluation as of Jan. 28, 2020. The defendant shall also have no “hostile contact” with Matta, “only in official capacity or public appearances, the interactions with Matta” must be non-hostile. If completed, charges will be dismissed with prejudice at the end of a 24-month deferred sentence.

On Saturday, July 21, 2018, Matta was physically and verbally assaulted while attending the Olde Burien Block Party in downtown Burien.

Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta

Mayor Matta was grabbed by the neck from behind and pushed into a fence by Tweney, who was upset with the City of Burien’s Ordinance 651, which states City and Police personnel will not inquire or collect information about a person’s immigration status or religion. He also made statements about Mayor Matta’s Latino heritage. Matta is the first Latino Mayor in the City of Burien’s 27-year history.

Immediately following the incident, Mayor Matta reported the assault to Burien police officers who were present at the event. Burien Police initiated an investigation, which was referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Justice. The Washington State Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case.

“I would like to thank the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Washington State Attorney General for their work in bringing justice on this case,” said Mayor Matta. “Let this bring closure and give us the fortitude to continue to make our democracy work for the benefit of everyone.”

Here’s a statement from Matta:

“Hello, my name is Jimmy Matta, today I would like to have my statement read to the courts, not only as Mayor of the City of Burien but as a USA Citizen and a resident of Washington State.

Growing up in Eastern Washington, I quickly at a young age realized hurtful actions and words against my family were racially-rooted, it upset me as we could not choose the bodies or financial states we were in.

As I grew up and eventually moved away from my hometown, my family and I found Burien, a small city in the greater area of Seattle. I had my children, in hopes that they would never need to suffer through the harsh social circumstances I had experienced as a young child, merely because of the color of their skin.

One experiences I had in Burien was at a grocery store I had always gone to, this day different, as Donald Trump had just been elected to office, instead of the warm smiles from the cashiers, this day I was greeted by a fellow customer who said, “That’s right, your presidents gone, you’re going back home,” I was dumbfounded, it took me back to when I was a young boy and continuously called racial slurs.

However, my resistance to this, with my children in mind, was that if I wanted something to change, I needed to voice my opinions and get involved, something I have always protested to my family, so I decided to run for Burien City Council.

I have never been against people having different opinions from me, in fact, I think it’s vital that we see it from different perspectives, but that should never give the justification to verbally or physically hurt someone; everyone we cross paths with has a story, and while we can try and make them see the world differently, we cannot force them to do so- these rights built in the foundation of America, the right to freedom and justice.

No politician or civilian should have to go to an event fearful that they’ll be hurt because of their perspective of helping their city, or worried for themselves and their families that someone will harm them in their homes, or that they need to tell their children to be extra cautious because their parents chose to be involved in changing something in America.

Today I speak on this, on behalf of myself, my family, community members, people that have been verbally or physically assaulted, and America’s constitutional beliefs.

Although our country is divided, I not only have hope for the future, but I will continue to try and redress the divide the best that I can. I will continue to uphold to the best of my abilities, the values that made this country possible.

With that said, I would like to thank the FBI, U.S Department of Justice, and the Washington State Attorney General, for their work in bringing justice to those aforementioned. Let this bring closure and give us the fortitude to continue to make our democracy work for the benefit of everyone in the United States of America.”

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