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Eye On Olympia

From the police report…

State Rep. Geoff Simpson, D-Covington, was arrested Sunday afternon on charges of fourth degree assault and interfering with reporting of domestic violence. He says — see below — that the charges are baseless and that he’ll be exonerated.

In essence, Simpson told the police that he and his ex-wife were arguing over tax paperwork that she was about to tear up. Any contact between the two, he said, was “incidental” to his efforts to save the documents.

Here’s a summary of what’s in the King County Sheriff’s Department incident report, filed Monday morning by officer Christopher Sawtelle:

According to Sawtelle’s report, Simpson and his ex-wife got into a dispute at the home they used to share before their recent divorce.

The report is pretty heavily blacked out, but it seems that during the argument over tax paperwork, Simpson allegedly grabbed his ex-wife’s hand and squeezed it painfully. When she went to pick up the dropped paperwork, he then allegedly grabbed her arm and painfully squeezed that. He weighs 265 pounds; she weighs 150.

At that point, Simpson’s ex-wife apparently got his cell phone and said she was calling the police to help her get her belongings. Simpson allegedly “grabbed the phone from her then grabbed onto her arm and drug her out of the house.” She called for a deputy.

Two arrived. Sawtelle said he could see “some minor reddening” on Simpson’s ex-wife’s upper arm. Simpson, meanwhile, allegedly told the other officer that he never grabbed anyone.

Due to the allegation, Simpson was then arrested.
Simpson subsequently volunteered to give a statement. He said he, standing behind her, grabbed the tax paperwork from his ex-wife because she was about to rip it up.

“He stated that he never grabbed onto her and that any contact was incidental,” the report says. “He stated that he took the phone away from (her) only after he told her to give it back and she refused, and that again, any contact was incidental.”

Simpson said he never grabbed her or twisted her wrist.

A witness whose name is blacked out also told the deputy that he heard Simpson’s ex-wife call out to him in a “frantic” voice and that he saw Simpson holding onto her arm and trying to pull her out of the house.

Click here to read the police report.

UDPATE: Barbara Baker, chief clerk of the House of Representatives (and a lawyer) said she’s advising House Speaker Frank Chopp to find out more about what happened before proposing any discipline.

“The House of Representatives takes criminal charges against any of the members very seriously — especially those of domestic violence,” she said in a written statement. “…I will be talking later this evening with the Speaker and other members of leadership about this unfortunate situation. Our next steps will be based on what we learn in the days ahead.”


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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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