Assault charges were expected to be filed this week against a 23-year-old Renton man in connection with a fight Monday with a detective and attorney outside a courtroom at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
Kent Police arrested the man for fourth-degree assault and third-degree assault, according to probable cause documents filed with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors had until Thursday (after the Renton Reporter deadline) to file charges. The man was booked Monday into the city jail and released Tuesday. Bail was set at $20,000.
The incident started outside of a third-floor courtroom during recess of a criminal trial stemming from a 2012 drive-by shooting in Seattle.
A Seattle detective was in the courtroom at the trial involving several gang members, according to probable cause documents. The detective knew about threats that had been made to the victim and witnesses by associates of the defendant. The detective said he observed the Renton man angrily staring at the victim in the courtroom. The detective told the man he needed to stop staring.
When court went into recess, the Renton man and others went outside the courtroom into the foyer. The Renton man and another man started to yell at each other.
The detective said he put a hand on the Renton man’s chest to encourage him to leave but the man pushed his hand away. He identified himself as a police officer and again put his hand on the man’s chest. When the man started to reach for his back pocket, the detective saw that as a threat and grabbed the man’s right hand.
The man pulled his hand away and started to yell at the detective, according to court documents. He then allegedly reached up with both hands and grabbed the detective’s shirt collar, turning his hands inward as if the strangle him. He then pushed the detective backwards.
As the detective tried to get the man on the ground, a prosecuting attorney attempted to assist the detective. But the Renton man reportedly kicked the attorney in the stomach, causing him to fall in pain.
The Renton man and detective started to exchange punches and head butted each other. The man also bit the detective on his forearm. The detective then struck the man twice in the back of the head to get him to release the bite. Court security then helped the detective handcuff the man.
A Kent Police officer observed that the detective had a cut above his left eye and bruise above his right eye and a cut upper lip.
The Renton man told police that some guy in a suit came up to him in court and told him about not starting anything in court. He said he didn’t know who the guy was. He said then outside the court another man started to yell at him.
The man said the guy in the suit then came up to him and pushed him in the chest. He said when he reached behind to pull his pants up, the guy grabbed his arm. He said he tried to push him away when the guy said, “I’m the police.” The man said the detective then started hitting him and head butted him and he head butted back before others tackled him and he got handcuffed.
The Renton man was treated for a facial laceration and transported to the city of Kent jail. Both the detective and prosecutor were treated at the scene for their injuries. The trial resumed later in the morning.