Rantz: Seattle activists bail out homeless suspect in brutal eye gouging of cop

Dec 7, 2021, 6:00 PM | Updated: Feb 3, 2022, 4:09 pm
Tents at Ballard Commons Park. (Photo: Jason Rantz/KTTH) A cashier's check showing that the Northwest Community Bail Fund paid Tyler Martin's $1,000 bail.

Tyler Martin is a homeless, prolific offender accused of gouging a Seattle officer’s eye in a brutal assault. And it’s not the first time Martin has allegedly attacked a police officer.

Martin was allegedly breaking out a window at the Ballard Health Club in Seattle. When an officer arrived, police documents say Martin resisted after retreating into an alleyway. He asked the officer if he wanted to be “curb stomped,” according to charging documents. Then, prosecutors allege, Martin ran at the officer to attack.

During the scuffle, the report says Martin “jammed his finger into [the officer’s] left eye, gouging the eye.” The report says the finger went so deep into the officer’s eye socket that Martin’s “palm pushed up against [the officer’s] face.” It caused considerable damage.

But the 27-year-old suspect has friends in an anti-bail, abolitionist activist group that continues to put the city at risk. It has come to light that the Northwest Community Bail Fund (NCBF) paid Martin’s bail.

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A quick release, then back to jail

Martin was charged with one count of assault in the third degree for the Sept. 8 incident.

The attack left the officer with lacerations around the eye and hemorrhaging in the eye. He had to see an eye specialist to confirm there would be no long-term damage.

The King County Prosecutor’s Office asked for $25,000 in bail during the first appearance, arguing Martin “is substantially likely to commit a violent offense.” But Judge David O. lowered the case to $1,000, paving the way for him to be bailed out.

Editor’s note: The KCPO originally identified Judge Kuljinder K. Dhillon as lowering the bail, but that was an error.

The NCBF then stepped in to help. It’s a revelation that came to light during research for a different story — one that has plenty officers livid.

Northwest Community Bail Fund pays for suspect’s release

On Oct. 28, the NCBF paid Martin’s $1,000 bail.

It’s unclear why the group chose to bail out Martin. The NCBF did not respond to a request for comment.

Is this the kind of person the NCBF supports? After his arraignment on assault charges, police allege he was involved in a separate crime that they had been investigating. He was charged with malicious mischief in the second degree for extensive property damage on Aug. 23, 2021.

But those details don’t matter.

The NCBF is a police and prison abolitionist group that appears to bail suspects out indiscriminately. The executive director is Becky Errera.

The group opposes bail, arguing it “creates two systems of criminal justice in Washington: one for people who can afford bail, and one for people who can’t.”

And there are no consequences for the group’s reckless activism. Via a polished promotional video on NCBF’s YouTube, featuring a supporter from the ACLU of Washington, the NCBF acts as if what it does is admirable and helpful. But it puts the community in danger.

The NCBF previously bailed out a suspect accused of an assault and robbery. A month after it bailed him out, the suspect allegedly stabbed a man to death.

The maddening irony

Martin shouldn’t have been in a position to gouge the officer’s eye in September. He was previously charged with assault for a body-check attack on Jan. 27, 2021.

In that case, officers arrived at a Ballard apartment on a domestic violence call. A gunshot had been reported. Officers attempted to evacuate residents at the address and at the homeless encampment across the street at Ballard Commons Park. Martin was living there at the time.

According to charging documents, Martin refused to leave at first. But then, he did. But in the process he allegedly “deliberately and forcefully, stepped into or ‘body-checked'” an officer, knocking him to the ground.

The prosecutor’s office didn’t push for high bail — or any at all. It left the decision to Judge Gregg Hirakawa. He opted to release Martin on his own recognizance.

Martin failed to appear for his next hearing. His next contact with the court appears to be his eye-gouging assault. But now that he’s been bailed out, will he actually make a return appearance?

Did you like this opinion piece? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3–6 pm on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Parler, and like me on Facebook

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Rantz: Seattle activists bail out homeless suspect in brutal eye gouging of cop