Bellingham man offers his first public account of a wild fight outside a Ballard bar.

Share story

A Bellingham man testified Thursday that he thought police would arrest an off-duty Seattle police officer after a fight outside a Ballard bar, only to find himself in handcuffs and attacked by the officer.

“I was just kicked in the head,” Jake Baijot-Clary told a Seattle Municipal Court jury on the third day of the assault trial of the officer, Garth Haynes, 36, stemming from a brawl that erupted in the early-morning hours of Dec. 12, 2010.

Haynes ultimately was charged with fourth-degree misdemeanor assault, but on the night of the incident Baijot-Clary and two male companions were arrested for assaulting Haynes in what began as an evening to celebrate Baijot-Clary’s 21st birthday.

Felony charges were later dismissed against Baijot-Clary, now 22, and the two other men after prosecutors said Haynes asserted his Fifth Amendment right to not testify.

Jurors didn’t hear about the dropped charges under the judge’s ruling that it wasn’t relevant to the trial.

But they heard Baijot-Clary, a custom hunting-knife maker, describe in detail his confrontation with Haynes outside the BalMar nightclub.

Under prosecution questioning, Baijot-Clary said he left the noisy, crowded club to get some air and bought a hot dog when he noticed an argument over a coat between two young women and two men.

The dispute stemmed from Haynes’ effort to retrieve a jacket or jackets he believed had been stolen by one of the women inside the BalMar, according to previous accounts of the incident.

Haynes and the other man were the primary aggressors as the argument escalated, Baijot-Clary testified in his first public account of the incident. He said he took note that both men were wearing jackets.

Baijot-Clary said he became “scared” for the woman Haynes was targeting because she was small in stature.

He told jurors he concluded “it had gone too far” and “something needed to stop.”

When Haynes grabbed the woman by the wrists, Baijot-Clary said, he asked Haynes not to touch her.

But the situation worsened, Baijot-Clary recounted, adding that his two friends ultimately joined him in attempting to thwart Haynes as he pulled the woman away.

After pushing and shoving, Baijot-Clary testified, Haynes punched him in the face and a full-blown fight broke out.

Baijot-Clary said he held down Haynes, believing the police would take Haynes into custody.

Instead, Baijot-Clary said, a responding officer put him in handcuffs face down on the sidewalk, and Haynes “took his foot and kicked my head down to the pavement.”

Baijot-Clary said he felt pain in his jaw.

Throughout the incident, Baijot-Clary said, he didn’t hear Haynes identify himself as a police officer. Other accounts during the trial have described Haynes as announcing he was a police officer.

Prosecutors rested their case Thursday, with the defense set to begin presenting its case on Tuesday.

Haynes will testify, said his attorney, Oscar Desper III, who has told the jury that his client simply stepped on Baijot-Clary, and that Haynes suffered a concussion during the fight that made it questionable he could form criminal intent.

Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or