Rantz: Seattle judge slapped in the face, but refused to report assault to police

May 16, 2022, 6:11 PM | Updated: 6:24 pm
King County Courthouse from City Hall (flickr creative commons)...
King County Courthouse from City Hall (flickr creative commons)
(flickr creative commons)

A King County Superior Court judge was assaulted by a man well known to Seattle police, but he initially refused to report the crime. That ensured the dangerous criminal would stay on the streets to assault new victims. Perhaps it is why the King County Executive’s Office intervened.

The unidentified suspect allegedly slapped King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott in the face at the county courthouse Monday morning around 9:30 a.m. But the judge didn’t want to be identified as a victim. In fact, it appears he never called 911 to report the crime. Instead, King County security flagged the incident for the Seattle Police Department.

It’s unclear if the suspect knew the victim was a judge.

After police spoke with the security staff, according to the police incident report, Judge Scott emailed the responding officer to say that “he did not want to press charges on the suspect unless it benefitted law enforcement.” But that meant police would not be able to make an arrest.

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This wasn’t the suspect’s first alleged assault of the day

The suspect, according to a source, has had repeated run-ins with police and may be suffering from mental illness. And police say the judge wasn’t the man’s only victim that morning.

Before the alleged assault against the judge, security saw the suspect in an “intoxicated” state. About two and a half hours later, the suspect “punched a random person sitting on the side” of the street while walking towards the judge. The suspect ultimately slapped the judge in the face.

The judge initially described the assault as a “push or slap” to the face. The security guard told police he witnessed the assault via surveillance cameras.

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A judge’s dangerous decision reversed

The judge initially refused to cooperate with Seattle police. But the responding officer documented the report anyway.

“This report is to document the events of this assault/disturbances in case the judge, other employees, is targeted by the same suspect or in case the judge does want to pursue charges for the assault,” the officer noted in the incident report.

It’s unclear why Judge Scott did not want to cooperate with the police, raising many questions.

Did the judge not want the attention? Why not? Is this judge part of the reason why people like the suspect are out on the streets instead of in jail or in treatment where they may belong? Is he trying to hide the city and county’s crime surge?

And what did the judge mean when he said he’d report if it helped law enforcement? Judge Scott should know that police need a victim in order to make an arrest in a case like this.

No matter the reasons, not calling 911 meant that a suspected criminal would stay out on the streets and would almost certainly allegedly assault someone else. This poses a clear and obvious public safety threat. Unless there’s some legitimate reason not to report the alleged crime, it’s reasonable to argue that Judge Scott has a moral obligation to file a report to help ensure the behavior wouldn’t happen again.

When asked to explain what happened and why, Judge Scott, through his office, emailed the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, “no comment.”

Executive Constantine’s office gets involved

Eventually, Judge Scott changed his mind.

The King County Executive’s Office confirmed to the Jason Rantz Show that the Deputy Executive intervened. After being notified by the Sheriff’s Office of the incident, sources say she asked that judge to report the crime to the police. It’s unclear why the sheriff’s office reached out to the executive’s office, but a source speculates it was so that police would have a more solid case when making an arrest.

After the judge cooperated with the police, an investigation to track the suspect down was launched. A source says the suspect was arrested hours later. He has not yet been charged.

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Rantz: Seattle judge slapped in the face, but refused to report assault to police