The controversial Northwest Community Bail Fund, known for bailing out violent criminals and prolific offenders, will resume operations starting September 15 with a new twist.
According to an email obtained by Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Jonathan Choe, the nonprofit stated that this time around they "will be prioritizing bail assistance for self-identified non-white and non-cisgender people." The group solicits donations from the public and routinely bails out people accused of violent crimes, many of whom are repeat offenders.
The group said they had spent the summer restructuring in order to assess “who we serve and are responsible to” and had undergone “an intensive anti-racist strategic planning process” in order to “prioritize the communities that are most harmed by the criminal punishment system."
"The criminal punishment system," they contend, "was created and is sustained as a mechanism of the state to socially control and punish those who do not fit the hegemonic norms of the United States of America, including but not limited to non-white people.”
“Come Sept. 15, we will be focused on standing between those most vulnerable to abuse by the systems of policing and court-imposed cash bail and those oppressive systems. Therefore, we will be prioritizing bail assistance for self-identified non-white and non-cisgender people. Factors that we have and will continue to prioritize and consider include but are not limited to health factors, pregnancy, impending loss of job, housing or shelter bed, caretaking responsibilities, and potential separation of families.”
The activist group claims to have been “founded on the principle of countering the abusive racial inequities of the systemic criminal punishment systems in Seattle and the surrounding region. In fact, the decision to start the bail fund stems directly from a workshop reading of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. As Alexander points out, while the system is designed to perpetuate racial oppression, its evolution from explicit racial oppression to a ‘race neutral’ practice in response to legal challenges to racially explicit practices, has led to an increase in the incarceration of poor people of all races, including white people.”
According to the group, which currently operates in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties, the justice system “disproportionately harms our non-white neighbors. We recognize that these harms will be felt differently by people with different, intersecting identities because of the historical, social, cultural, and political contexts with which our country was created and is maintained.”
“Similarly, we must acknowledge that our non-cisgender community members have always been jailed at disproportionate rates and that jail is a particularly cruel experience for them. Therefore, we are including non-cisgender people in our prioritization.”
An analysis of the group’s tax records by The Post Millennial revealed that during the social justice riots that rocked Seattle in 2020, the NCBF's fundraising jumped from $158,000 to approximately $5.7 million.
The radical group was responsible for bailing out a repeat offender, Allister Clinton Baldwin, who then went on to be charged with Seattle’s first homicide of 2023, a year that is on track to eclipse the city’s all-time homicide record.
The victim, a neighbor of the suspect in a dangerous homeless facility, “suffered an extreme amount of physical trauma. Injuries inflicted on the victim were both blunt and sharp force in nature. She had multiple broken ribs, broken fingers, and blunt-force trauma to her face and forehead. Sharp force injuries included multiple wounds to the victim’s neck and back, wounds that punctured areas of both her rib cage and her neck,” according to court documents obtained by The Post Millennial.
The King County prosecutor said of Baldwin, “The defendant’s history of sexual assault and the nature of his actions, in this case, demonstrate that he is likely to continue to commit acts of violence and, as a result, he is a danger to the community.”
Baldwin was previously arrested in 2020 following a domestic violence incident involving another woman. After the NCBF posted cash bail to get him released until his trial, the victim refused to testify and the charges against Baldwin were dropped.
In 2022, the fund posted bail for Kylan Houle on two felony gun charges, and several months later Houle broke into a home and shot a father of four, according to police.
That same year Michael Sedejo was in jail, having been charged with assault and robbery. The fund paid for his release, pending trial, and a month later Sedejo was charged with stabbing a man to death at City Hall Park, the site of a notorious encampment.
Nearly 52 percent of the defendants bailed out by the fund since mid-2020 failed to appear for their court dates, compared to 22 percent of defendants who failed to show up and did not receive the fund’s assistance, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
More than 20 percent of the people the bail fund helped release were later charged with a new felony, including at least four defendants who were later arrested for murder, compared to 15 percent of defendants who posted their own bail.
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