Seattle Fire Chief apologizes for two firefighters accused of attacking homeless men
Seattle’s Fire chief has apologized for two off-duty firefighters accused of attacking two homeless men in Pioneer Square Saturday night.
“I apologize for the violence that occurred in Pioneer Square this weekend. 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.”
Police say Mia Jarvinen and Robert Howell attacked a homeless man sleeping next to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial near First Ave. S and S. Main St.
Witnesses told police Jarvinen, 37, yelled at the homeless man and then kicked him. They saw Howell punch and stomp on the man until a crowd of people pulled him off the victim.
Witnesses said the group took off, but then stopped and got into another fight with another man.
Police say in the second attack, Bullene is accused of taking a homeless man’s walking staff and beating him with it. The victim told police Bullene hit him on the head and his arm. That is when he stabbed Bullene with a folding knife.
Bullene and the second homeless victim were taken to Harborview Medical Center. Howell and Jarvinen were not injured.
Police say the group smelled of alcohol after the attack.
A King County judge set Jarvinen’s bail at $20,000 Monday, according to The Seattle Times. Charging documents say she’s Bullene’s girlfriend. She’s being held for investigation of fourth-degree assault.
An attorney for Jarvinen denied the allegations at the court hearing Monday. She declined to appear in court.
Chief Dean said both Howell and Bullene are on disability leave. They will be placed on administrative leave while the investigation concludes, once they return from disability.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.