County prosecutor declines to charge firefighters in connection with homeless attack

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SFD memorial Pioneer Sq

SEATTLE — Two Seattle firefighters and a female companion will not be charged by King County Prosecutors after being arrested in March in connection with brutal and unprovoked attacks on two homeless men.

Dan Donahoe with the Prosecutor’s office said the case had been reviewed and that they had concluded there was not enough evidence to prove felony assault.

“We also do not have a provision under state law that allows us to file a malicious harassment charge regarding an alleged victim being targeted based on being homeless,” wrote Donahoe.  “As a result, we are referring the matter to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office for the possible filing of misdemeanor charges.”

According to the Seattle Police Department, two firefighters — Scott Bullene and Robert Howell — along with civilian Mia Jarvinen were accused of assaulting two homeless men in Pioneer Square following a Sounders game. The assault was witnessed by many people, and ended with a self-defense stabbing that sent one of the firefighters to the hospital.

One of the unidentified homeless men was taken to Harborview Medical Center with a possible broken arm.

The odd string of events followedthe March Sounders FC match. According to court documents, Bullene, Howell and a Jarvinen were walking from CenturyLink Stadium to McCoy’s Firehouse near the intersection of South Washington Street and 2nd Avenue when they spotted a homeless man sleeping under the Seattle Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial statue in Pioneer Square.

Witnesses told police that Jarvinen became enraged at the man sleeping under the statue and began yelling at him. With little response from the man, she punched the victim in the head and Howell allegedly stomped the victim.

Witness Alvin Taniferro told Q13 FOX Howell and Jarvinen didn’t like the man’s “disrespect” of the monument, and that they became enraged he was sleeping beneath it.

“(Howell) said to me that he had a brother that died on duty that was a firemen and he didn’t appreciate the homeless sitting on these monuments,” Taniferro said.

Witnesses said the first victim didn’t try to fight back, and only tried to roll away from the three suspects.

Once witnesses intervened, Howell, Bullene and Jarvinen went to McCoy’s Firehouse for a short time. But the three soon returned to Pioneer square and Bullene, who has previously been arrested for road rage and discharging a firearm in public, attacked another homeless man. Witnesses said he grabbed the homeless man’s large walking stick and — unprovoked — hit the man hard in the head.

The homeless man used his arm to defend himself against the stick and pulled out a small folding knife as Bullene prepared to strike again. He then stabbed Bullene in the stomach.

Police called to the scene first contacted Howell, who allegedly lied and said it was the homeless men who attacked his group. However, after multiple witness statements, Bullene, Howell and Jarvinen were arrested for suspected assault. Bullene was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery for minor stab wounds.

All three were intoxicated at the time of the attack, police said.

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  • ᙓᔕᙅO

    In other words the homeless guy got a "justified" beat down, in the Prosecutor's opinion. 👊
    Seems like a pretty poor view of the homeless population they got goin' on there.

  • HiTripper

    Hard to believe they've passed on charges. "Brutal & unprovoked" key words here. Perhaps the Liquor Board needs to get more aggressive on over-serving during sport events as the businesses are held responsible.

  • Bobbi H

    As a public employee, I find this disgraceful. I don't wonder anymore why people distrust the government…I only wish we weren't all lumped in to a horrible category because of the few bad people who get to stay on the taxpayer payroll.

  • Cherish

    This is ridiculous they need to be locked up and they need to be used as an example. This is exactly why people would rather take the law into there own hands than get any city or government officials involved because as a "regular" citizen in this God forsaken country you have to fear the officials more than trust them. These homeless men where not doing anything but trying to get some rest and because of there unfortunate situation they then got beaten and go figure the county just wipes their hands and say "uh there is not enough evidence so nothing will happen to these horrible abusive ignorant people" I am praying for the homeless men that were attack and that the city will stand up for these men and through the book at these arrogant a**holes. If the city does not stand up for the homeless then may god be with them and may those that go after these offenders be kept safe and free just like the offenders have.

  • asdf

    This is an outrage that is total bull shit this ass hole needs to get fisted DO YOUR FUCKIN JOB YOU PRICK BASTARD PICKING SIDES YOU FAVORING PIECE OF GARBAGE !

  • Humble Servant

    As an Army Veteran and now a career firefighter, I am embarrassed for what these folks have done. Their actions were wrong and not justified and I personally apologize for the loss of trust that this has caused in public servants. It was conduct unbecoming of a Professional Firefighter. For the public out there, please know that this incident does not represent firefighters as a whole and our profession. I'm not asking for your forgiveness of the guilty parties, but rather just a comforting reminder that we as Professional Firefighters will continue to unconditionally serve our communities and the public no matter what the situation, when called upon.

  • Guardian Angel

    What a gross miscarriage of justice! It is so clear these were unprovoked attacks by the entitled who apparently rightly believed they were above the law and within their rights to attack the underprivileged. I work with homeless Veterans and daily see how the law loves to punish the poor and disenfranchised. Shameful.

  • ORP

    Hey Scott Bullene, Robert Howell and your bitch…. Hide!!! Justice is looking for you and will find you… Between the Seattle Police department and now the fire department it time for the public to serve justice in its own way… Oh and as far as the Seattle prosecutors office goes…. What a bunch of gutless turds!!!