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Teenager arrested during Capitol Hill riots suspected in arson attack on East Precinct

(Photo: KOMO News){p}{/p}
(Photo: KOMO News)

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KOMO News has learned a teenager arrested for one of the fires set during recent riots on Capitol Hill is suspected of additional serious crimes.

This comes amid growing concern and frustration that people accused of serious crimes during protests aren't being held accountable.

19-year-old Jacob Greenburg faced a judge Monday after Seattle Police said he lit dumpsters on fire during the ‘Every Night Direct Demonstration’ last weekend.

Now, according to court documents, Greenburg is a, “strong suspect for another arson attack on the East Precinct,” where several people threw Molotov cocktails Sept. 1 at the precinct while officers were inside.

Court records said Greenburg is, “also a strong suspect in recent felony assault which is currently under investigation.”

Two independent KOMO sources said he is the suspect who last week allegedly whacked an officer in the head with a metal baseball bat during a protest—cracking the officer’s helmet.

The King County Prosecutor’s Office said based on the seriousness of investigations, they asked a judge to hold Greenburg on a $350,000 bail, but a judge set bail at $20,000 and Greenburg has been released.

“It’s understandable that people in Seattle look at the vandalism, property destruction and violence and say, ‘what’s happening here?’” said Casey McNerthney with the King County Prosecutor’s Office. “The most difficult part I think is for people who don’t understand the court system, who don’t realize that the prosecutor’s office wants to hold people who commit violent acts in jail. Ultimately whether somebody stays in jail or not at a first appearance is up to a judge."

In court Monday, Greenberg’s stepmom Laura Ruderman vouched for him saying she’s a former state lawmaker.

“He is basically a good kid, straight 'A' student,” said Ruderman. “I’ve served the state in the legislature we will make sure he follows all the provision.”

Greenburg’s attorney, Jason Lantz, told KOMO News that in the chaos of the protests, investigators have arrested the wrong man.

“Let’s remember what the police think they have, is that in this chaotic situation with dozens, hundreds of people that have very generic clothing, that doesn’t mean they have the right person,” said Lantz. “They made a snap judgment.”

The prosecutor’s office said people who've been released can still be charged if more evidence comes in.

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Greenburg will be back in court at a later date.

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