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Rantz: Homeless prolific offender’s baseball bat attack subject of Seattle lawsuit

(AP file photo)

A homeless, “mentally ill” man with a long history of criminal offenses attacked a couple outside of Westlake Center with a baseball bat. It’s now landed the city of Seattle and King County with a lawsuit that challenges the region’s failure to protect residents from known dangers.

Melanie and James Richardson, a married Oregon-based couple in their mid-60s, say they were attacked by Nail Muied with a baseball bat, according to the lawsuit filed last week. The couple had been window shopping on the morning of August 24, 2016 near Westlake Center in downtown Seattle, prior to a Mariners game they were in town to attend, when Muied “beat them with a baseball bat.” The lawsuit says just before the attack, he had assaulted another passerby with the bat.

We should have seen this coming

The Richardson couple was hurt severely. James required oral surgery to install plates in his jaw. Melanie suffered a “traumatic brain injury, subdural and sub anural hemorrhages and has required extensive neurological rehabilitation,” according to the lawsuit.

Prolific offender not charged after waving knife, suspected theft

The lawsuit alleges Muied has a long history of dangerous, criminal behavior, including prior felony convictions for Assault 3 and Felony Harassment, and a “lengthy misdemeanor record as well, with 29 warrants on 45 bookings.” He also has a propensity for using a bat, something the lawsuit says law enforcement were keenly aware:

Nail Muied was known by law enforcement to be mentally ill, dangerous and in the habit of carrying a baseball bat. He had been arrested numerous times prior to this incident, the last date being July 22, 2016, just one month prior to his attack on the Richardsons. On that date, while being arrested for an outstanding warrant, officers detailed in their police reports that Mr. Muied, who was carrying a baseball bat, threatened them with murder in such a manner that the officers specifically mentioned his threats seemed credible and they were concerned that he would “actually follow through”. He was released the next day.

The police report from the July incident suggests we should have seen this kind of behavior coming.

Nail Muied police report by MyNorthwest on Scribd

“I swear to God all you guys are gonna to die”

After resisting arrest, Muied threatened to kill officers and their families multiple times. According to the report, he said, “I swear to God all you guys are gonna to die,” “I put on my life that I am going to kill all of you officers,” and “You lucky I didn’t pull out my bat and start swingin’ on you guys wit it.” He would end up spitting in one officer’s face.

Police took him serious, writing in the report “Due to Muied’s history, the current assault 3 warrant and his threats to kill we as officers are concerned that Muied may actually reach the point to follow through on his threats.”

Implications

The lawsuit takes issue with the failure to refer Muied “for involuntary commitment or take other reasonable action to protect the public from the risk of harm of their physical safety,” which led to the attack on the couple.

The lawsuit alleges, “King County, through its jail personnel, likewise knew Nail Muied to be mentally ill and extremely dangerous” because he was previously ordered to participate in Community Center for Alternative Programs, which is meant to help offenders change their dangerous behaviors. Instead, he was offered brief jail time and released “without anyone referring him to a designated mental health professional for evaluation and involuntary commitment.”

There are significant implications to the city and county if this lawsuit is successful, even if it’ll be a difficult case. How many prolific, violent criminals are on the streets right now in Seattle that the city and county knows to be dangerous? It seems that, in many cases, area-leaders fight for these criminals to not be punished at all. And it’s dangerous.

Earlier this year, the Washington State Fraternal Order of Police Officers blasted the “failure to consistently prosecute repeat and prolific offenders [because it] does immeasurable damage to the public’s sense of safety and fails to consider the victims and the unintended negative impact on the community when such decisions are made.”

Politically, this is also bad news for the region’s leaders: it’s a sympathetic couple with a compelling story to remind us just how bad it’s gotten in Seattle. There have been a number of high profile prolific offender attacks, including a mentally ill homeless man who randomly sucker punches passers-by when he’s not throwing coffee in a toddler’s face and another who has repeatedly tried to throw people from a freeway overpass.

Richardson v. Seattle & KC by MyNorthwest on Scribd

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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