News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Department of Justice to place additional law enforcement resources in Yakima County. The letter is being sent after the brutal daylight execution of 18-year-old Daniel Rivera marked the ninth gang-related homicide in the City of Yakima this year. 

“The Yakima County Gang Initiative and the people of Yakima County understand how to combat gang violence but they need support to succeed in their fight,” wrote Senator Murray. “I request that you deploy all necessary Department of Justice resources, led possibly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Marshals Service, to aid the people of Yakima County.”

Last year, Senator Murray secured $500,000 in federal support for the Yakima County Gang Initiative which develops service programs to address the most pressing needs and problems associated with youth gangs in Yakima County. The initiative brings together a coalition of federal, tribal, and local law enforcement to work cooperatively on this issue. The funding assists law enforcement in Yakima County put in place a comprehensive gang-fighting initiative that focuses on prevention, suppression, and intervention.

The full text of the letter appears below:

Eric H. Holder, Jr.
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001 

Dear Attorney General Holder:

The Department of Justice has provided invaluable assistance in fighting violent gangs and drug-related violence through gang abatement programs.  On many occasions, the Department has brought additional resources and manpower, as well as coordinated the abilities of local law enforcement, to address serious crime issues in our communities.  I have been working with Yakima Police Chief Sam Granato and Yakima County Sheriff Ken Irwin for years on this issue but due to increased gang violence in Yakima County, Washington, I am writing to request the placement of additional Department of Justice resources within that region to assist local law enforcement. 

As you may know, gang numbers and gang membership continue to escalate within Yakima County.  On May 30, 2010, the brutal, broad daylight execution of 18-year-old Daniel Rivera marked the ninth gang-related homicide in the City of Yakima this year and the fourteenth overall. 

I have supported comprehensive law enforcement efforts in Yakima, and I have fought for federal funding for the Yakima County Gang Initiative, a coalition composed of federal, tribal and local law enforcement, teachers and community leaders.  These agencies have been cooperating in a program focused on gang prevention, suppression, and intervention with the aim of eliminating gang violence and reducing gang membership.  Despite the efforts of the Yakima County Gang Initiative, gang-related violence persists which is why I am making this request.

The Yakima County Gang Initiative and the people of Yakima County understand how to combat gang violence but they need support to succeed in their fight.  I request that you deploy all necessary Department of Justice resources, led possibly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Marshals Service, to aid the people of Yakima County.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.