Simpson says he will be exonerated
State Rep. Geoff Simpson was arrested April 27 by King County Sheriff deputies and booked into the county jail in Seattle on suspicion of fourth-degree assault.
Sheriff Department spokesman Rodney Chinnick said the arrest at Simpson’s home in Covington was based on “an allegation of domestic violence. The incident report has been forwarded to the city prosecutor’s office for review” of possible charges.
The alleged victim is Simpson’s ex-wife.
A statement by Simpson, who also is a Kent Fire Department firefighter, was provided to the Reporter via e-mail Thursday by a representative of Seattle-based public relations firm Moxie Media. He said accusations against him are “unwarranted.”
“This is an unfortunate situation for everyone involved. The end of a marriage is an emotional and trying time for any family, and mine is no exception,” Simpson said in the statement. “As a firefighter and first responder, I have witnessed the reality of domestic violence and provided care for many victims. As a state legislator, I remain strongly in support of erring on the side of protecting potential victims with our laws and their enforcement – even when, in situations like mine, it can result in unwarranted charges. I am confident that once the facts come to light, I will be exonerated. I believe in our justice system and will continue to cooperate fully as this situation is resolved.”
According to an incident report provided by the Sheriff Department, Simpson and his ex-wife recently finalized their divorce. She had returned to his residence in Covington to collect some belongings.
During this effort to retrieve her property, according to the report, the two got into an argument related to tax paperwork. His ex-wife was holding the paperwork when Simpson grabbed her right arm and apparently squeezed, the report stated. She dropped the paperwork, and when she went to reach for it, he allegedly grabbed her right arm and squeezed again, an action the report described as causing her pain.
When deputies arrived, one took a statement from Simpson’s ex-wife, who had called the police using her cell phone, while the other officer spoke with Simpson.
In the incident report, a deputy wrote the woman told him that when Simpson “grabbed her wrist, he twisted it. I could see minor reddening on (her) upper arm.”
In the report, the second deputy said he heard Simpson state that he never grabbed his ex-wife, whose name was removed from the report by the Sheriff Department but is listed as Kathy in Simpson’s past election campaign materials.
Deputies decided to arrest Simpson on suspicion of fourth-degree assault and interfering with reporting of domestic violence.
Simpson provided a statement to the officers after he was asked if he wanted to wait and speak with an attorney, the deputies said.
“I took a typed statement from (Simpson) where he stated that he only grabbed the tax paperwork from (her) because she was about to rip it,” a deputy wrote in the report. “He stated that he was standing behind her, reached around her with his right arm, and took it from her. He stated that he never grabbed onto her and that any contact was incidental.”
Simpson, according to the report, refuted repeatedly that he had touched his ex-wife, grabbed her arm or twisted her wrist.
A witness at the scene also provided a statement to the deputies. The witness said he was outside when he heard a woman’s voice call out to him in what he described to officers as “frantic.”
Chinnick said the city prosecutor, Thomas Hargan, “is the charging authority in this case and will determine what, if any, charges will be filed.”
Simpson has served in the Legislature since 2000. A Democrat, he represents the 47th District, which includes Covington, Black Diamond and areas of Kent and Renton. He is a former Covington City Council member.
He has also, according to his biography on his campaign Web site, worked for the Kent Fire Department as a firefighter since 1990.
Kyle Ohashi, a spokesman for the fire department, said Simpson “has been placed on administrative leave pending a fact-finding mission” by the department. “Whatever disciplinary action is taken by the department will be done at the end of that fact-finding mission,” Ohashi added.
Simpson is up for re-election this year. In February, he told the Reporter he needed “to talk with my family, supporters and friends before I make a decision” on whether to run, he said, adding that he planned to finalize his decision by March 13.
Republican Mike Hargrove is the only announced candidate for Simpson’s seat in the Legislature.
Staff writer Kris Hill can be reached at (425) 432-1209 (extension 5054) and firstname.lastname@example.org