A Thurston County judge this week signed an extreme risk protection order against a Seattle man accused of spraying journalists with bear spray and threatening to shoot others during a riot on the capitol campus in January.
Extreme risk protection (ERP) orders first became available in Washington State in 2017, and allow law enforcement to seize guns from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. They can be requested by both law enforcement and concerned citizens. In this case, the order was issued against Damon M. Huseman, 26, who’s simultaneously facing felony counts of assault and harassment.
Huseman has been held in the Thurston County Jail since Jan. 19 on $50,000 bail.
A Washington State Patrol detective requested the ERP order and provided a several-page narrative supporting the order. The narrative describes interviews with multiple journalists who say they had run-ins with Huseman throughout the day of Jan. 6.
What started as a protest on the capital campus turned into a law enforcement-declared riot, as over 50 people went through the fence to the governor’s mansion and occupied the grounds for less than an hour. WSP troopers ordered them to disperse. The same day, other riots popped up throughout the country, including one at the U.S. Capitol, where far-right groups claimed widespread election fraud.
Two reporters told law enforcement Huseman pepper sprayed them in the face, after asking them if they were media. Both were incapacitated for hours afterward.
Another reporter told authorities Huseman told her she had five minutes to leave the area, and then lunged at her, trying to grab her cellphone.
“We’re gonna shoot you fucking dead in the next year,” Huseman allegedly said. When other members of the group told him he was taking things too far, he responded, “That’s not far enough,” according to court documents.
At the time, Huseman was described as carrying an assault-style rifle, handgun and knife, and wearing a tactical vest.
For these alleged run-ins, Huseman was charged with two counts of second-degree assault and one count of felony harassment. A judge ordered protection orders prohibiting Huseman from coming into contact with the three reporters. A fourth reporter, who was present when Huseman allegedly threatened to shoot journalists, filed a civil petition for a protection order. The order was granted this week.
In the narrative filed by the WSP detective, there’s a brief mention of a video of Huseman that’s been viewed on Twitter over 400,000 times. In the video, appearing to take place on Jan. 6 on the Governor’s Mansion grounds, it appears Huseman approaches a camera and makes threats against “boomers” — or members of the Baby Boomer generation, in a profanity and racism-laced tirade.
“Fuck boomers, they signed NAFTA, they allowed the Mexicans to come here … they hog buildings, they hog houses, they hog boats, they’re greedy pieces of shit. Fuck boomers, one bullet for every fucking boomer,” Huseman appears to say in the video. “Day of the pillow, motherfucker,” he adds, referencing radical, online slang encouraging smothering elderly people with a pillow.
In other videos from that day, uploaded on social media and YouTube, Huseman appears to utter a number of racist and anti-Semitic comments.
“Fuck Jews,” he appears to say and directs a slur against Jewish people to a person in the crowd. He later appears to say, “I’m not conservative, I’m a fascist” and “I’m farther right than you people will ever hope to be,” as he argues with other members of the group that occupied the Governor’s Mansion grounds. Others can be heard arguing with him, calling him anti-Semitic.
A judge signed a warrant for Huseman’s arrest on Jan. 11. WSP troopers and Seattle police officers arrested Huseman in Seattle without incident on Jan. 19.
He appeared in Thurston County Superior Court the next day, where a judge ordered he be held on $50,000 bail.
Court records indicate law enforcement seized any guns in his possession — a routine order when someone is accused of a violent crime. However, the ERP order enacts stricter firearm restrictions. The order mandates Huseman can’t own guns for one year after the order was signed, and provides a checklist of reasons the order was granted: “Respondent has unlawfully or recklessly used, displayed, or brandished a firearm. ... Respondent has been arrested for or convicted of a felony offense or violent crime. … Respondent has recently committed or threatened violence against self or others … Respondent’s behaviors present an imminent threat of harm to self or others.”