Stay-at-home protesters in Washington post information on those who complained to state about open businesses
Stay-at-home protesters in Washington state posted on Facebook personal information of those who complained to the state about businesses violating the stay-at-home order, The Seattle Times reported Saturday.
Two Facebook pages during the past week posted names, emails and phone numbers of Washington residents who submitted complaints against businesses for allegedly violating Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) stay-at-home order.
The Washington Three Percenters and Reopen Washington State, which have backed the protests against the order, released lists on their Facebook pages, leading to the named individuals receiving threats.
Chelsea Hodgson, a spokeswoman for the Washington Joint Information Center, told The Hill that the information was most likely obtained through public records requests. She said the complaint form indicates it is subject to public release and the state has made it clearer people can submit anonymously.
“Several individuals made public disclosure requests to the Washington Military Department for the complaints that have been filed to date,” Hodgson said, adding that more than 25 requests have been filled related to violation submissions. “This list was likely generated and shared by one of those individuals.”
The Washington Three Percenters linked to a spreadsheet with names and contact information and added the message “Want to snitch on your neighbor? Don’t expect to hide behind you computer screen,” according to the Times.
Matt Marshall, a leader of the group, defended the posting to the Times, saying it was public information. He added that he didn’t condone the threats the named individuals have received but said that “they need to stand behind their word.”
A woman who was named on the list shared by the Washington Three Percenters told the Times that she wouldn’t have sent the complaint if she had known it could be released. She has reported threatening phone messages, which were verified by the Times.
One from a man said, “You got 48 hours to get the [expletive] out of Washington, or I am coming for you, and your loved ones.”
State attorney general spokeswoman Brionna Aho told the newspaper that the posts were potentially a violation of the law against threatening or harassing people but said it would “have to be assessed on specific facts.”
Washington state has reported 16,674 cases and 921 fatalities as of Saturday, according to the state health department’s website.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.