Attack on Latino mayor probed as possible hate crime

BURIEN, Wash. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the alleged assault of a suburban Seattle mayor after he reported being attacked Saturday night by a man apparently angered over the mayor’s policies supporting Latino immigrants.

Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta said Monday that an unidentified man in his 60s approached him from behind while he was in a beer garden at a Burien block party.

King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Ryan Abbott says the man allegedly put his arm around Matta’s neck and pulled him down, scratching Matta’s arm on a fence and drawing blood. The man also allegedly made a disparaging remark regarding Matta’s Latino heritage and immigration.

Abbott said Monday that the incident is under investigation as a possible hate crime.

Matta says the man had previously criticized his policies toward immigrants.

Matta is the city’s first Latino mayor who has supported Burien as a sanctuary city.