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Richard Sherman waives first court appearance; judge orders his release from jail

UPDATED: Thu., July 15, 2021

NFL free agent and former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was released from jail Thursday.  (Gregory Payan/Associated Press)
NFL free agent and former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was released from jail Thursday. (Gregory Payan/Associated Press)
By Sara Jean Green Seattle Times

SEATTLE – Richard Sherman, a former Seattle Seahawks cornerback and current NFL free agent, on Thursday waived his first court appearance before a King County District Court judge, who ordered Sherman’s release from jail after finding probable cause for four non-felony criminal allegations.

Judge Fa’amomoi Masaniai found probable cause that Sherman committed misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor crimes of second-degree criminal trespass and third-degree malicious mischief, both carrying domestic-violence designations, in his attempted forced entry into his in-laws’ residence.

The judge also found probable cause Sherman resisted arrest and drove while under the influence of alcohol.

After initially being booked into jail and investigated for a domestic-violence burglary, he is no longer facing the possibility of a felony charge.

Though the Seattle Times typically does not identify suspects before criminal charges are filed, the newspaper is identifying Sherman because he is a public figure.

“Richard Sherman is among the best in our community, and we’re proud to have him here,” said Cooper Offenbecher, Sherman’s attorney. “He’s a good person with a good soul.”

Sherman, 33, of Maple Valley, Washington, was arrested early Wednesday after attempting to force entry into his in-laws’ Redmond residence and then fought with police officers, who used a police dog to get Sherman into custody, according to Redmond police. He was also being investigated by the State Patrol for allegedly driving drunk, crashing into a concrete barrier on Highway 520, then driving from the scene in his badly damaged car that troopers later found abandoned in a parking lot, a State Patrol captain said at a Wednesday news conference.

After his arrest in Redmond, Sherman was treated at a hospital for a dog bite to his lower leg and was booked into the King County Jail on investigation of domestic-violence burglary.

During Thursday’s court hearing, a King County deputy prosecutor requested that bail be set at $10,000 and said Sherman’s father-in-law was so concerned for his own safety that he sprayed Sherman with bear spray and retrieved a firearm before police arrived. The judge denied the bail request and released Sherman on his promise to return to court for future hearings. The judge also ordered Sherman to have no contact with his father-in-law.

A woman who identified herself as Sherman’s wife in a 911 call to the King County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday night told a dispatcher Sherman had been drinking and had threatened to kill himself, according to a recording of the call obtained through a public-disclosure request. In a subsequent call, she said Sherman may have been going to her parents’ house in Redmond and confirmed she called ahead to tell them.

The State Patrol received a 911 call from a construction worker about the crash at a construction site on Highway 520 at 1:26 a.m. Wednesday and troopers later found Sherman’s mangled black Mercedes in a parking lot about a half mile from the scene of the one-car collision, according to the Patrol. At 1:49 a.m., Sherman was arrested outside his wife’s parents’ house in the 18100 block of Northeast 30th Street after damaging the front door, Redmond police said Wednesday. No one inside the residence was harmed.

The King County Sheriff’s Office obtained an extreme risk protection order against Sherman in February to bar him from possessing firearms, according to court records. The petition was sealed by a Superior Court commissioner, so the details are unknown. On Thursday, Commissioner Mark Hillman’s findings and conclusions of law were made publicly viewable through the Superior Court clerk’s electronic court records system.

Hillman ruled that sealing the ERPO petition was necessary to protect Sherman’s privacy, given “the sensitive nature of the position and the individual’s public status,” court records show. “Nothing short of temporary, complete sealing can safely protect the named individual’s mental health, which is currently in crisis.”

Hillman allowed the records to be sealed for six months, which expires on Aug. 3, according to the records.

Under state law, ERPOs can be sealed if there are no other active protection orders against the restrained party, no pending violations of the order, and evidence of full compliance with the relinquishment of firearms.

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