July 16, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 29

News

Suspects in attack on homeless man in Occidental Park charged with assault

By Aaron Burkhalter / Staff Reporter

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Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has filed criminal charges against three people suspected of attacking a homeless man at the Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Occidental Park March 15.

Holmes filed fourth degree assault and malicious harassment charges against Robert Howell, 46, of Burien, Mia Jarvinen, 37, of Seattle and Scott Bullene, 45, of Seattle. The charges are all misdemeanor offenses.

If convicted, each person could face a penalty of $5,000 and 364 days in jail, Homes’ spokesperson Kimberly Mills said in an email announcement.

According to a Seattle Police Department report, Howell, Jarvinen and Bullene came upon a homeless man sleeping at the Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Occidental Park after a Sounders game on March 15. One screamed at the homeless man and kicked his food; another punched and stomped on the man who was lying on the ground, according to the incident report.

The group, later identified by SPD as two off-duty firefighters and a friend, also attacked other people who attempted to intervene, in one case taking a wooden cane from a man and striking him in the head and arms, the report says.

In a press conference March 17, Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean apologized for the incident.

“The actions that these firefighters are accused of is not representative of the conduct we expect of Seattle firefighters,” he said.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterburg declined to file felony charges in April, citing a lack of evidence. State law does not have a provision that allows malicious harassment charges based on the target being homeless. The King County Prosecutor’s office forwarded the case to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office to file misdemeanor charges.

Howell, Jarvinen and Bullene will have their first appearance in Seattle Municipal Court in about two weeks.

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