A former Port of Poulsbo commissioner, arrested in July for destroying a memorial to an Indian killed by police, signed a diversionary agreement with prosecutors to avoid conviction for a crime.
Mark James DeSalvo, 49, who exited port after his arrest, agreed on October 9 to abide by the terms set by the Kitsap District Court for one year. At that point, his charge of second degree malevolent harm under the diversion agreement will be dismissed.
DeSalvo, described in court documents and online as a commercial airline pilot for JetBlue, was found on July 11 by Poulsbo police who were apparently drunk and who were demolishing the memorial on the Poulsbo coast.
Mark DeSalvo 2010 FILE (Photo: KITSAP SUN FILE PHOTO)
On July 3, 2019, Stonechild Chiefstick was shot dead at Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park amid a crowd that had gathered to watch fireworks. Several witnesses said he pounced on Poulsbo police officer Craig Keller with a screwdriver in hand. Keller went to arrest Chiefstick after someone in the crowd reported that Chiefstick had threatened someone with a screwdriver.
After the shooting, the fireworks continued.
DeSalvo's attorney Tim Kelly said DeSalvo had attended inpatient treatment and continues to attend anonymous alcoholic meetings and outpatient treatment. He is repentant.
Kelly said that while the Suquamish Tribe is technically not a victim in the case, he recognizes that tribe members have suffered as a result of DeSalvo's actions. However, Kelly said DeSalvo met the criteria for a distraction.
"We just wanted him to be treated like any other citizen," Kelly said on Wednesday.
Prosecutor Chad Enright said the distraction option would have been an option for anyone else charged with a similar nonviolent crime.
"I see this particular case has done more damage to the community," Enright said. "But if we look at the law that was violated and how we would normally treat people who are first-time offenders, that's how we usually treat people in those cases."
Prayer candles from the memorial had apparently been thrown by DeSalvo and damaged a minivan parked nearby. The estimate to repair the minivan was $ 2,000. Without the damage to the vehicle, prosecutors would not have been able to charge DeSalvo with a crime.
DeSalvo reportedly mocked Chiefstick's name during the incident, claiming he had used his First Amendment rights.
The destruction of the monument – for the second time – led to further tension between the small, mostly white town and the Indian reservation of Port Madison, home of the Suquamish Tribe. Chiefstick was a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Montana, but had strong ties to the Suquamish Tribe.
After the first incident at the memorial, the Tribal Council published a column in the Kitsap Sun detailing how the incident caused pain to the tribal community and members of Chiefstick, but matched the pattern of racism in and outside Poulsbo.
"These events are tragic, but far from unique," wrote the council members. "Members of our tribe, from school ages to notable elders, report incidents of hostility and discrimination while shopping, attending school, or when stopped by police in Poulsbo and other parts of northern Kitsap County."
According to court records, DeSalvo is required to do 100 hours of community service, receive treatment, pay for the damage to the van, and reimburse the city for $ 90 for cleanup costs.
In addition, DeSalvo must participate in a circle of restorative justice with the Suquamish Tribe if the tribe wishes to exercise this option. Enright said the requirement was included in the diversion agreement to acknowledge the damage done to the Chiefstick community, but the tribe was not required to participate.
A tribe spokeswoman said Wednesday the tribe is reviewing the agreement.
The owner of the minivan wrote in a letter on the court record that her three children were afraid to return to the family van and find it damaged. The woman wrote that after parking, her daughters found out about the monument, and the girls heard that the man's loved ones were visiting to feel close to him.
"My children keep asking me whether Mr. DeSalvo will have any consequences for what he has done. I tell them," Of course he will, "the woman wrote." Shame on him for disregarding a monument and property others not taken into account. "
Kitsap Sun reporter Nathan Pilling contributed to this report.
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