In response to the call for an independent investigation into the cause of Ben Moussa Keita’s death in Lake Stevens, nine House Democrats from Snohomish County issued the following written statement:
“Our hearts continue to be with the family of Ben Moussa Keita, who was found lifeless in early January near his home in Lake Stevens.
“His family and friends are in our prayers, and we strongly support their quest for answers, especially now that the cause of his death is officially ‘undetermined’.
“Ben, an African American Muslim, was only 18 years old and had a bright future. He was in the Running Start program at Everett Community College and his goal was to become a physician. He was happy and he had plans. He had a purpose.
“Although Lake Stevens officers are conducting an investigation, we support the family’s request for an FBI investigation. The family and the community need to get as many facts as possible.
“Regardless of the findings, there is so much divisiveness, so much hate speech and anti-immigrant sentiment in our nation at this time, that it’s impossible to hear about this and not see it in light of the current climate. That is not what Snohomish County or our state stand for, in fact, we always come together at a time of loss.
“Washington’s highest asset is its people. We value diversity, fairness and inclusion in this state. There is no room for prejudice and hateful rhetoric here. As legislators elected to speak and act for you, we continue working on legislation to fight for our young people and address concerns that range from mental illness to protection of civil liberties to ensure Washington is a safe place for all.
“We urge anyone with information to come forward and collaborate with law enforcement to shed light on the very sad loss of this young man’s life.”
Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, 21st LD
Rep. Strom Peterson, 21st LD
Rep. Mike Sells, 38th LD
Rep. June Robinson, 38th LD
Rep. Cindy Ryu, 32nd LD
Rep. Ruth Kagi, 32nd LD
Rep. Derek Stanford, 1st LD
Rep. Shelley Kloba, 1st LD
Rep. John Lovick, 44th LD