Seattle firefighters accused of beating homeless man won’t face charges
The King County Prosecutor’s Office won’t file felony charges against two Seattle firefighters and another woman accused of beating a homeless man in Pioneer Square last month after a Sounders match, the office announced Tuesday.
Witnesses told police a woman yelled at the homeless man for sleeping on the Fallen Firefighter Memorial and then kicked him on March 15. One of the men, a Seattle firefighter, hit the man with a stick and the third, another firefighter, joined in the attack.
The homeless man stood up to defend himself and stabbed one of the firefighters with a knife.
One of the men went back and witnesses say he attacked a second homeless man.
The King County Prosecutor’s Office says it has reviewed the alleged assault because one of the three suspects involved had potentially committed a felony assault.
“We have concluded that there is not sufficient evidence to prove a felony assault,” according to the prosecutor’s office.
Because there is not a provision under state law allowing the prosecutor’s office to file a malicious harassment charge regarding an alleged victim being targeted based on being homeless, the case will be referred to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office for the possible filing of misdemeanor charges.
Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sue Stangl said the firefighters are 15 and 17-year veterans of the Fire Department. The woman involved is not part of the department.
Stangl said one of them has been on disability since January, while the other had last worked days before the incident.
Seattle Fire says both firefighters will be on administrative leave pending the ongoing investigation, which is being handled by an outside agency.
Stangl said, currently one firefighter is still on disability, but will be placed on administrative leave upon his return to duty.
Seattle’s Fire chief apologized for their behavior.
“The actions these two firefighters are accused of is not representative of the conduct we expect of Seattle firefighters,” said Chief Gregory Dean. “I expect Seattle firefighters to treat every person in our community with respect.”