- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - A motive cited in the weekend killing of two New York City police officers - a vendetta against law enforcement over perceived brutality - is similar to the charges against a man accused of shooting two Seattle police officers five years ago.

A jury has been selected for the aggravated murder trial of Christopher Monfort in Seattle, with opening arguments scheduled for Jan. 20.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Monfort if he is convicted - a major reason the trial has been delayed so long.

Monfort has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers have said they’ll argue he was insane at the time of the attack.

Monfort is accused of killing Officer Timothy Brenton and wounding Officer Britt Sweeney in their car on Halloween in 2009 after a traffic stop.

In court appearances, Monfort has railed against a sheriff’s deputy who was caught on surveillance video beating a 15-year-old girl who had kicked her shoe at him in a holding cell.

The two New York City police officers also were shot while sitting in their car by gunmen who authorities suspect were motivated by their perception of police brutality.

Monfort also is charged in the October 2009 firebombing of four police vehicles in a city maintenance yard where investigators found a note referring to the beating of the teen girl.

He was wounded in a confrontation with police outside his apartment in Tukwila when he was arrested about a week after the Seattle officers were shot. With a bullet near his spine, he is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair.

Monfort was 39 when he graduated from the University of Washington in 2008 after majoring in law, societies and justice, and studying racial disparities in the justice system. After graduating, he worked as a security guard.

Authorities say the New York City officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were gunned in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Saturday by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who then committed suicide.

Before the attack, Brinsley wrote on an Instagram account: “I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let’s take 2 of theirs.”

He also referred to the law enforcement killings of Eric Garner at Staten Island, New York, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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