Bruce Guthrie outside the Frances Anderson Center, a public park owned by the city of Edmonds. Guthrie was arrested by arrested by Edmonds Police during the Edmonds Arts Festival for soliciting signatures on a petition to get Libertarian presidential candidate Chase Oliver on Washington’s ballot this year. (Photo provided by Bruce Guthrie)

Bruce Guthrie outside the Frances Anderson Center, a public park owned by the city of Edmonds. Guthrie was arrested by arrested by Edmonds Police during the Edmonds Arts Festival for soliciting signatures on a petition to get Libertarian presidential candidate Chase Oliver on Washington’s ballot this year. (Photo provided by Bruce Guthrie)

Edmonds state House candidate arrested collecting petition signatures

Bruce Guthrie believes the city violated his First Amendment rights by arresting him at an event in a public park, making him a “political prisoner.”

EDMONDS — A candidate for state House of Representatives was arrested last week on charges of criminal trespassing at the Edmonds Arts Festival after trying to get signatures for a petition.

Bruce Guthrie, 61, sees it as a violation of his civil rights.

Edmonds police arrested Guthrie while he was seeking signatures on a petition to get Libertarian presidential candidate Chase Oliver on Washington’s ballot this year.

Guthrie, a semi-retired substitute teacher, will appear on August’s primary ballot. The Edmonds Libertarian will challenge 10-year incumbent Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, a Democrat from Mukilteo.

Over two days, he gathered about 90 signatures for the statewide Libertarian Party during the Edmonds Arts Festival at the Frances Anderson Center, a city-owned park.

Though it was public property, event organizers asked Guthrie a few times to leave, before the arrest. He said the event manager claimed they had the right to ask him to leave, since the Edmonds Arts Festival had rented out the public park.

Guthrie refused.

“This is a public event on government-owned property, and I don’t believe they have the right to exclude petitioners there,” Guthrie said. “They don’t have the power to violate those rights just because someone else paid the money.”

Shane Pocius, operations manager for the festival, did not respond to a request for comment.

Eventually, four police officers asked him to leave the park and conduct his business on the sidewalk, instead.

After he refused to leave again, the officers arrested him.

Guthrie was booked into the Snohomish County Jail shortly after 2 p.m. last Friday. He was released hours later, after his wife posted the $500 bail.

While in jail, Guthrie said he was strip-searched and spent several hours in custody.

“They had me in a jail cell for four hours alone, and then another two hours with some rather scary other gentlemen,” he said.

Guthrie believes the festival and city violated his First Amendment rights, since he was still on public city property.

A spokesperson from Edmonds Police Department did not immediately have answers to a Daily Herald reporter’s questions.

“When I was sitting there for those six hours in that jail cell in Everett, I thought to myself, I am a political prisoner,” he said.

It’s Guthrie’s first second running for state House against Ortiz-Self. Last time he took third place, as a Libertarian candidate.

Ortiz-Self did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an Edmonds Municipal Court hearing Monday, Guthrie pleaded not guilty to the criminal trespassing charge. Still, he hopes the case will be dismissed.

Misdemeanors like second-degree criminal trespass carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“I can afford $1,000,” he said, “but any fine, any penalty for me, would be a travesty of justice.”

Jenelle Baumbach: 360-352-8623; jenelle.baumbach@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jenelleclar.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Lynnwood appoints new council member after abrupt resignation

Derica Escamilla will take the seat vacated by Shirley Sutton in May, who claimed the city had a “total lack of leadership.”

Everett Housing Authority is asking for city approval for its proposed development of 16 acres of land currently occupied by the vacant Baker Heights public housing development on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett council locks in building heights for Park District

After months of negotiation, the council approved on Wednesday the 1,500-home project with buildings as high as 12 stories.

Onions are grilled up at the Walla Walla Burger booth during opening day of the Evergreen State Fair on Aug. 25, 2022 in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Save money and time with advance ticket sales for Evergreen State Fair

The fair’s 115th installment runs 11 days starting Aug. 22 in Monroe. “Bright Lights, Summer Nights” is the theme.

Jayden Hill, 15, an incoming sophomore at Monroe High School is reflected in the screen of a cellphone on Wednesday, July 10, 2024 in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Come fall, Monroe students must silence their cellphones in class

Elementary and middle school students won’t be allowed to use phones in schools. High schoolers will have more leeway.

Members of “Everett Deserves a Raise” group turn in their signed patients to the the clerk at City Hall on Thursday, July 11, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett minimum wage initiative submits signatures to get on ballot

Meanwhile, another group is leading a campaign for a similar local measure, but with a few notable differences.

The winner of the 2023 Great Mukilteo Dog Show at Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo. (Photo provided by Kandace Barnes)
All dogs are show dogs at the Great Mukilteo Dog Show on Saturday

The mayor “double dog” dares you to attend. Categories include Best Wiggles and Most Slobbery at the show at Lighthouse Park.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.