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Police investigate assault, possible hate crime against mayor of Burien

BURIEN, Wash. -- Police said Monday they have launched an investigation into an assault and possible hate crime against Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta at the Olde Burien Block Party on Saturday.

The city said Matta was grabbed by the neck from behind and pushed to the ground by an older man.

Burien Police Chief Ted Boe said, "The suspect told Mayor Matta he wasn't going to 'let your people take over," and that 'illegals aren't going to take over our community.'"

The suspect is alleged to have been upset with Ordinance 651, which states city and police personnel will not inquire or collect information about a person’s immigration status or religion.

Matta is the first Latino mayor in the city's 25-year history.

Matta said at a news conference Monday, "He also attacked me about being a Latino ... 'You think you're a celebrity here. You ain't.' And then he went into some bad words."

Immediately following the incident, Matta reported the assault to Burien police officers.

The suspect was described as a white man in his 60s, about 6-foot, with a slim build. The mayor said he's been confronted by the man twice before.