Ex-port commissioner sentenced for damaging memorial

POULSBO, Wash. (AP) — A former Port of Poulsbo commissioner arrested for vandalizing a memorial to a Native American man killed by police struck a deal with prosecutors to avoid a felony conviction, The Kitsap Sun reported.

Mark James DeSalvo, 49, who resigned from the port after his arrest, agreed last week to follow for a year the conditions set forth in Kitsap County District Court. At that point his second-degree malicious mischief charge will be dismissed.

DeSalvo was found July 11 by Poulsbo police, apparently intoxicated, vandalizing the memorial at Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park.

On July 3, 2019, Poulsbo police Officer Craig Keller shot and killed Stonechild Chiefstick at the park amid a crowd gathered to watch fireworks. Witnesses said Chiefstick lunged at Keller with a screwdriver in his hand, according to a prosecutor’s report declining to charge the officer. Keller was trying to arrest Chiefstick after a person in the crowd reported Chiefstick had threatened someone with the screwdriver.

Reports say that during the incident, DeSalvo mocked Chiefstick’s name and claimed he was using his First Amendment rights. Prayer candles from the memorial had been tossed, apparently by DeSalvo, damaging a minivan parked nearby.

DeSalvo’s attorney, Tim Kelly, said DeSalvo attended alcohol-related inpatient treatment, and is remorseful.

Kelly said though technically the Suquamish Tribe is not a victim in the case, he recognizes tribal members have suffered because of DeSalvo’s actions.

According to court documents, DeSalvo is required to complete 100 hours of community service, attend treatment, pay for the van damage and reimburse the city $90 for clean-up costs. Also, DeSalvo will be required to attend a restorative justice circle with the Suquamish Tribe, if the tribe wants to exercise that option.

Prosecutor Chad Enright said the option for diversion would have been an option for anyone charged with a similar non-violent offense.