Rantz: After Seattle principal stonewalled police, suspect allegedly assaulted two victims

Nov 16, 2022, 8:04 AM | Updated: 9:21 am
(Screenshot from bodycam footage acquired by The Jason Rantz Show)...
(Screenshot from bodycam footage acquired by The Jason Rantz Show)
(Screenshot from bodycam footage acquired by The Jason Rantz Show)

A Seattle principal is seen on video stonewalling a police investigation. An officer says it allowed a dangerous suspect to escape and allegedly commit two assaults. This incident comes as police said they have encountered more hostility from Seattle Public Schools (SPS) staff when responding to incidents.

Liban Harasam allegedly assaulted a young girl before stealing a student’s backpack at Sand Point Elementary in Seattle. According to court documents, Harasam admits to being a drug user (meth, fentanyl, and marijuana) and may suffer from mental illness. Before this incident, he had been arrested nine previous times in the last year.

Police couldn’t detain Harasam at the time of the alleged crime on June 2. Then-principal Ric Baileykaze refused to cooperate with the responding officer, making it impossible to establish probable cause for an arrest.

Police say Harasam assaulted a DHL driver while on the loose and injured a police officer while resisting arrest. These alleged crimes could have been prevented had Baileykaze cooperated with the police.

Baileykaze’s dismissal of police was caught on bodycam footage obtained by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. Since the incident, Baileykaze has left Sand Point. SPS would not confirm what happened, but a school staff member said he took an education job out of the country. The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH has yet to be able to reach Baileykaze via phone or social media after several attempts.

Stonewalling cops

When an SPD officer arrived on campus, Baileykaze and staff watched Harasam wander around the campus, dumping items out of a backpack, according to body cam footage. Baileykaze offered only a few details to the officer. The school was on lockdown at the time, but the principal did not tell the officer. According to police, a teacher had to yell to her students to flee when Harasam allegedly hopped over the fence to get on campus.

Harasam explained to the officer that someone was “doing a hostage situation” and “kidnapping kids over here.” The officer radioed dispatch to explain this was a 220 situation — a mental health complaint.

The suspect was allowed to walk away as the officer attempted to establish probable cause for an arrest.

“He entered a classroom, said he wanted to talk to a student, and he said he wanted to take a student. Again, I don’t think he was in the right mindset. And he grabbed a student’s backpack,” Baileykaze said, according to the bodycam footage.

Baileykaze said he didn’t know where the student was, and that Harasam may have dropped the student’s backpack while wandering the campus. At this point, Harasam fled.

‘We’re good’

The officer told dispatch that Harasam was “a possible suspect in a backpack theft, but I can’t verify that yet.”

Baileykaze then showed the officer the stolen backpack. Harasam did, apparently, drop it. When the officer asked where the student was, and if anything was stolen, Baileykaze held his hands up like he was done talking.

“Can we check with the student, see if there’s anything missing? Because if I have to put hands on this guy, it’s going to go south,” the officer told Baileykaze.

Baileykaze then refused to cooperate, even after previously alleging Harasam “wanted to take a student.”

“I don’t mean to tell you what to do at all, but we’re good. We’re good. I’ll replace this stuff on my own. Thank you. Thank you,” Baileykaze tells the officer as he begins walking away.

The officer told dispatch that the principal is “declining to talk to me.”

Preventable assaults

Police say Harasam assaulted a nearby DHL driver after he fled. Body cam footage shows the victim talking with officers as they determine if he needs medical attention. Police say the driver had two cuts on his lip.

“[The driver] observed the male suspect get into the driver seat of his van,” an officer writes in a police report. “He began yelling at the male to get out, believing the suspect was about to steal the vehicle. [The driver] got to the door of the vehicle and was stuck in the face with what he believed was a blue binder. He attempted to move out of the way of the strike, but was hit in the mouth, causing a split bleeding lip. [He] pulled the male out of the vehicle, but the suspect grabbed at the mounted cell phone that the victim had by the steering wheel. The victim believed that the suspect was attempting to steal his phone before exiting the vehicle.”

Harasam then boarded a nearby King County Metro bus, presumably to flee. Before the bus could leave, officers were able to board and make an arrest. But Harasam didn’t go quietly.

The suspect is seen on body cam footage resisting arrest and screaming at officers. During the melee, an officer was injured, and Harasam was eventually subdued.

When other officers arrived, Harasam was agitated and attempted to resist while officers waited for medics to arrive. At one point, he insists the police don’t have probable cause to detain him.

Principal remained defiant

These assaults would not have occurred had the officer been able to detain and arrest Harasam. Officers returned to the school to let the principal know what had happened due to being uncooperative.

The body camera footage shows Baileykaze seemed reluctant to meet with the officer in the administrator’s office.

“Actually, I can’t wait because we have an injured officer,” the officer responded before taking him into another room to talk.

“See, the reason I needed your information was he committed a crime but when you walked off, we had no crime so I couldn’t legally do anything. And he tried to assault and rob a DHL driver. Then he went on a metro bus and assaulted a bus driver. I finally need to get your information,” the officer tells the principal.

“When they said your school was locked down, the other lady I was talking to, said the school is on lockdown. So, you know, these are the kinds of things we need to know,” the officer continued.

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‘I couldn’t have you walk away’

The officer explained that his wife is a teacher and he understands the safety concerns at schools. He explained to Baileykaze that just because Harasam did not have any weapons, did not mean he wasn’t a threat. But by refusing to cooperate, the officer said it went from a simple misdemeanor to felonies allegedly being committed.

“I couldn’t have you walk away because I had nothing based off of what you said. Based on the law, we go enforce the laws. If we don’t have a crime, I have no legal recourse to contact him other than a social contact, that he walked off, which he did. It wasn’t until he tried robbing the DHL driver, that I had a crime and a felony at that. That could have been avoided if I knew that he had stolen a backpack at the time,” the officer concluded.

At this point, a teacher walked in. She says on the body cam footage that witnesses say Harasam grabbed a few students. She says he was “fixated” on one girl and tried to get her to go with him.

“He was trying to come into our classroom and I was in the doorway, trying to keep him away from this student who was cowering and crying in a corner near him,” the teacher said.

It remains unclear why Baileykaze did not cooperate with police, though he appeared more understanding during this follow-up. But police say this kind of treatment has become more common.

Police say they are being rebuffed by Seattle Public School staff

Several officers speaking to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH on the condition of anonymity have suggested they’re noticing an uptick of dismissive treatment from some school staff when responding to issues on campus. Some have witnessed it; others have heard second hand from other officers.

They said staff are either rude to them or seem reluctant to share information.

Police speculate it’s due to the general anti-police posture that SPS has taken since the Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots and protests in 2020. They suspected staff did not want to be seen as cooperative with police, which have been falsely accused of spreading a white supremacist culture that targets minority communities.

Seattle Police Officer Guild president Officer Mike Solan tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that his membership has complained of this issue to him. He blames SPS leadership for spreading anti-police messages.

“We have a fundamental breakdown in our value system. It’s a moral decay. And that’s obviously evident with some of the faculty in these schools. That starts from the top down,” Solan explained.

The school board previously removed school resource officers (SROs) from campus. Student activists, regurgitating the anti-police talking points from educators and community activists, falsely claim SROs make campus less safe and that they target minority students. Two weeks ago, a 14-year-old student allegedly murdered a 17-year-old classmate at Ingram High School. It’s prompted renewed calls to return SROs to the campus since students have committed more violence on campus within the last year than police ever have.

After the incident with Baileykaze, first reported by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, a SPS spokesperson indicated leadership would meet with SPD to discuss ways to better communicate incidents in the future.

What is happening to Harasam?

Without the cooperation of the school, Harasam was initially charged by the Seattle City Attorney’s office for criminal tresspass, vehicle prowling, two counts of misdemenaor assault, and resisting arrest.

But a judge dismissed Harasam’s case.

“In this instance, the City filed against Harasam and secured $10,000 bail for this individual on 6/3/22. Defense raised competency, and following an evaluation, Harasam was determined to incompetent to stand trial. He was released and the case was dismissed on 6/21/22,” a City Attorney spokesperson explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

The King County Prosecutors, however, filed felony charges against Harasam before his release. The SPD was finally able to get more information from the school. It justified felony charges of burglary and assault of a child in the second degree.

Harasam had a Nov. 14 competency hearing continued to a later date. He remains in custody.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: After Seattle principal stonewalled police, suspect allegedly assaulted two victims