Criminal law, Uncategorized September 5, 2020
We have been discussing the notable reliance on federal as opposed to state charges to prosecute crimes during the recent protests. The shifting of these cases into the federal system is being done with the support of local police. The result can be enhanced sentencing as well as political cover. The latest example is Jacob D. Little, 24, who allegedly stole a high-powered rifle from a patrol car during a riot in Seattle.
Little was charged in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Friday with possession of a stolen firearm. That charge may be expanded later given an allegation that he tried to sell the weapon (which gives this case more of a federal or interstate foot print than some of the earlier cases that we discussed).
Notably, the indictment below reveals that it was the Seattle Police Department that first investigated and identified Little, but then had the federal authorities take the case.
Seattle officers fled the vehicle when confronted by a riotous mob. Six patrol cars were torched that night. Among items stolen was a Colt M4 rifle with a suppressor. Prosecutors allege that Little is shown in photos taken by police and in videos posted on YouTube taking the heavy bag from a Seattle police vehicle. Little also apparently posted an image of himself on Snapchat in which he is posing in front of the same vehicle. Police later found matching clothing in his home as well as various guns. The stolen gun was identified by serial number as well as markings (and fire extinguisher residue).
The Justice Department refers to messages from Little on the Internet "that he has removed the sling and suppressor and the 'red dot' (a type of optical sight) from the rifle. All those accessories were present on the rifle when stolen from the Seattle Police vehicle."
The indictment has a variety of high-quality pictures that allegedly show Little at the vehicle and removing the gun bag. Notably, Little in the indictment papers seems to fashion himself as a type of gangster, including a Facebook account for "Jacob YG Little" — "YG" typically stands for "Yung Gangsta."
One heartbreaking part of the indictment details Little's parents being confronted with the evidence against their son:
"Also on July 20, 2020, LITTLE's parents went to the EPD North Precinct and spoke with investigators. Investigators showed LITTLE's parents photographs of the suspect taken on May 30, 2020. Investigators asked them what they saw in the photos. LITTLE's parents were initially quiet. S.L. then began crying and at one point pointed at the photographs and said "That is not the son I raised." Detective Magan interpreted this to mean that S.L. recognized the person in the video as LITTLE and that she was disappointed to see him engaging in such actions. When investigators again asked what they saw in the photos, S.L. said she saw Jacob holding something. Detective Magan released LITTLE, who departed from the precinct with his parents."
Possession of a stolen firearm is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Here is the complaint: Little Indictment