Violent Crime Is Not The Same Thing As Criminal Case Filings

by William Skink


That’s the headline, accompanied by a picture of a smiling Kirsten Pabst. If I were the lead County Attorney in Missoula with that kind of good news, I’d be smiling to.

I’ll tell you who is not smiling, and that’s the family of Sean Stevenson.

It’s been about a month since Stevenson was allegedly involved in a fight with 29 year old Johnny Lee Perry at the Poverello Center. Perry was arrested for aggravated assault, then quickly released. No official charges have yet been filed against Perry for his part in a physical altercation that left Stevenson dead and his daughter without a dad.

But violent crime is down, the County Attorney’s office says.

Before believing the headline, let’s take a look at what’s actually down:

Criminal case filings in Missoula were down in most categories, including violent crime, last year, according to a year-end review published Wednesday by the Missoula County Attorney’s Office.

Saying criminal case filings are down is not the same thing as saying violent crimes are down. Violent crimes can happen, and the County Attorney’s office can choose to not bring charges. No charges means no official crime according to the official numbers, but we all know that doesn’t mean the crime wasn’t committed.

Stay tuned for further developments. And if you have any information about what happened between Sean Stevenson and Johnny Lee Perry at the Poverello Center, you can contact me at willskink at yahoo dot com.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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27 Responses to Violent Crime Is Not The Same Thing As Criminal Case Filings

  1. thea says:

    what metric do you suggest to measure crime

    • I’m not suggesting a different metric is needed, I’m trying to show how a headline can be misleading by differentiating between a violent crime and a criminal case filing. if the headline read “criminal case filings are down” I wouldn’t have written this post.

      • thea says:

        In that case, is it ever possible to write a headline that says “violent crime is down” or “violent crime is up”?

        • they can write whatever headline they want, it’s up to you to determine if what they write reflects actual reality, or, in this case, County Attorney office spin.

  2. Robin Reynolds says:

    Ridiculous, reporting that violent crime is down when it’s actually violent case filing that is down is misleading at best but deceptive in reality and intent. Let’s honor the life of Sean Stevenson and other victims of violence with a full investigation of the truth behind his death.

  3. Larry James says:

    Damn Right! Give an award. Make a speech. Post a picture hugging a baby or someone struggling to make ends meet and suddenly the eyebrows go back down and the trumpets of praise sound. This is nothing less than a monstrosity! I truly hope this family and the nation of others experiencing torment like this see justice! Wake up, people!

  4. Kenneth L. Robinson Sr. says:

    So sad in this day and time this stuff is still happening and oftentimes these cover-ups go unpunished!

  5. Andrea says:

    This is so awful!!! When will the killing of our black men stop???? This is modern-day lynching. We deserve justice for this Crime!!!!

  6. lady911 says:

    The Distinction is quite clear in regards to criminal case filings versus crime! It’s appalling that things are being mishandled to such a degree, with many unanswered questions. Thank you for awareness and continuing this conversation; after all we are discussing a LIFE!

  7. Q says:

    It seems peculiar that after a supposed fight which resulted in a man’s death, a month passes and no one is incarcerated yet, even though the authorities know the person involved ! Sounds like assault should have been upgraded at least too manslaughter. Were their witnesses ? Did Stevenson have any friends around ? So many simple unanswered questions.

  8. Charles Bernard says:

    It seems peculiar that after a supposed fight which resulted in a man’s death, a month passes and no one is incarcerated yet, even though the authorities know the person involved ! Sounds like assault should have been upgraded at least too manslaughter. Were their witnesses ? Did Stevenson have any friends around ? So many simple unanswered questions.

  9. Joaquin Lopez says:

    So this happened at the POV? Pure speculations but one would imagine there were witnesses? Hmmm… I wonder if someone assaulted in nearby Orchard Homes, or perhaps the University District would still be waiting for charges to be brought against their assailant?

  10. Sara Samuel says:

    There are policies and procedures for a reason. It’s to serve justice. The county officials have a much more difficult job than you imply. Especially keeping these people out of our neighborhoods! Law enforcement has an obligation to the those of us who pay their salaries. We pay taxes. These indigents who cannot even take care of themselves.

    • Charles Bernard says:

      Your comments are thoughtless, callous and borderline racist.. “these people…indigents…keep them out…”…who died and left you in charge ?….from what I have read so far he had a family and even local residents who cared for him. The things you said could cause the MSM to come down on Missoula like a ton of bricks. I for one would much prefer some decent human being who witnessed whatever happened to get some intestinal fortitude and tell the WHOLE truth ! Charles Bernard

  11. Joseph Banks says:

    I think that the heading of the article is interesting to many but irrelevant to those that Sean Stevenson mattered most to. The question here is not about manicured statistics that tease potential voters but accountability to public procedure. They call it the law and it’s something that we should try, especially by those that are under public oaths, as, public servants and the elected officials. They are not supposed to do as they please. A man has been murdered here, if that can happen to anyone today, though we seldom see the use of this word “MURDER” in any of the written rags and various media. We know that word is hardly ever used due to all the white washing that we all know so well. Also, the main point that seems to be over-looked here is that in the potential balance of Law the police just decided to not only disavow their oath’s as sworn public servants that must uphold written public policy and procedure, they just decide by their own actions to become POLICE, JUDGE AND JURY, not to mention acting as their own publicist and coordinator for a well-crafted cover-up. Well it sure seems like one to me. This sure seem like an interesting place to live where a young Black male can murder someone in a location dominate by a White majority, get arrested and be home and back on the street before diner. Wow, the actions and their non-actions speaks volumes, way over the Headline chatter. This is organized disorganization at it best. For the Democrats this could also be a great Segway for a daring local political come-up for the right individual to hold this Law enforcement accountable to their personal oaths. There should be a full investigation in this matter beyond all the unnecessary political hype and chatter. Imagine if this was your child or loved-one. Simply amazing. Professor Claude Anderson teaches us in his book, “Dirty Little Secrets” that racism is a team sport and lookie here. The Feds should investigate this, and William Skink is to be commended for his honest journalism, which is rare these days. How could you have a, “No Foul, No Harm or reportedly little or No Crime with a murdered victim. His name is Sean Stevenson.

  12. Leslie Susan Shaffer says:

    I think this is asinine!

    The police know who’s involved, but nobody is in prison and one man is dead!

    Crime might be down because more than one isn’t doing their job!

    Amazing how money talks!

  13. Charles Bernard says:

    How many residents were at the Pov when this happened ? Surely someone saw something, otherwise who called the police when, why ?? Since money was mentioned could this somehow be connected to gentrification ? Missoula…I truly want to think better of us, but d$@# in the relative absence of people in or from the Pov speaking out this whole scenario leaves a vile taste in my mouth and I would not want to even try to imagine how Stevenson’s family might be feeling…

  14. Jeremy says:

    Justice is due.

  15. Kim says:

    It seems to me that in this town if you are in a homeless shelter that maybe no one cares enough to really investigate. If this was a local doctor, police, mom this would not be dropped like this. Sean was known and loved by many people. He is the son of my Former Pastors from NY. He was a son, Dad, brother, friend to many. He helped many people and was working and in the process of getting his own apartment. He had places he could have gone but he was a man who wanted to take care of his self. He was murdered! I am an older white woman from NY who wants justice for a fine young black man who was murdered. I care! Will not other please take notice and care and help find out why this happened. Please!

    • Charles Bernard says:

      Since you know his family perhaps you can help humanize Sean by painting a picture to make the right people appreciate that this was a life worth saving.

      Charles Bernard

      • Kim says:

        I knew Sean when he was young up until he was around 18. He was a nice Christian Man. He had a beautiful daughter who he adored. He had a large family and many friends. He was kind. He was loved. He was intelligent. He was handsome. His family adores and misses him.

        • Angela says:

          Yes, well said, Kim. I’m grateful for the forty plus years of life that I had with Sean. To know him was to love him. But with all of the family and friends, that are so easily accessible online, that loved and adored him, there’s no good reason why no one was contacted while he fought alone in the hospital. We cannot change what happened on the 3rd or the 5th of January 2020.
          However, we must fight to change how these institutions that are in place to shelter, serve, mend, and protect are operating. They are all becoming more well known for doing the opposite of their missions. Loss is a part of life but I would never want anyone to experience this trauma in addition to their loss.

        • Kim Callaghan says:

          I am just so very sorry that this happened. I do hope your hard work does get someone convicted for doing this and the police are charged for not contacting you before life support was stopped.

        • Angela says:

          Yes, it would help if the courts would play by their own rules but thankfully I believe in a Higher Court. Justice will prevail. Thank you for caring.

  16. HarleyontheHudson says:

    Question. What is the most basic “human right”? Isn’t it the right to life? I’m staggered to learn of Sean Stevenson’s murder. But this goes beyond the loss of a truly talented young man. It goes beyond the terrible loss for their immediate and extended family. Who have my heart felt condolences. What should be MOST alarming to all of us is the absolute blanket disregard for the sanctity of life. A crime was committed in an overcrowded, public space. Yet no charges for the assault that was witnessed and resulted in someone’s death. The unwillingness of law enforcement and the attorney general office to prosecute is collusion. It should make them accessory(s) to his murder. How about the employees at the POV? Is someone in your Way? Cat got your tongues? or maybe a Fox.
    There are hundreds of individuals that have made countless contributions to our society that experienced homelessness. Thank God none of them spent a night at the POV.

    • Charles Bernard says:

      Did you know him also ? Can you share things to help touch the right people here like Kim did ?

      Charles Bernard

  17. A.Boaz says:

    Everything in play here screams FOULPLAY. But foulplay happens all around us everyday- But when these things happen, we are outraged, we protest,… and we move on. Business as usual. We’re so caught up in the daily grind that we don’t hear the alarm blaring in our ears! Wake up! This is so much bigger than Sean and Johnny! Corruption, greed, lies, and hypocrisy, all swim freely in our melting pot! This is a cry to ‘come out of her’. The collusion that’s alive and well in this tragedy is a mere microcosmic reflection of this nation. The merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies and we are too accustomed with the daily benefits and perks that we cannot see truth for truth or lies for lies. Good is bad and bad is good. There’s so much going on here but let’s be clear: Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
    You may have no belief in or respect for The Bible but truth will always STAND even in this present age of darkness.
    Revelation 18

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