A former Seattle firefighter lobbying to get his job back after being acquitted of beating up several homeless men in Pioneer Square failed to show up for an arbitration hearing Monday because he was sitting in jail.
A former Seattle firefighter who is trying to get his job back after he was accused of assaulting several homeless men last year is now suspected of robbing a man during a road-rage incident.
Scott Bullene was arrested Monday morning after a nearly four-month investigation stemming from the road rage-related assault and robbery of a cabdriver in downtown Bellevue, according to police.
His arrest came on the day of an arbitration hearing to appeal his firing after he and another ex-firefighter were accused of assaulting several homeless men in Pioneer Square. The two men were acquitted in December of the assault charges.
On Tuesday, Bullene waived his right to appear before a judge at the King County Jail during a probable-cause hearing for the road-rage incident. The judge ordered Bullene held in lieu of $15,000 bail for investigation of robbery.
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Bullene posted bail and was released from jail just after 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to the jail’s online register.
According to an affidavit of probable cause outlining the police case, Bullene is accused of attacking the cabdriver and taking his cellphone during a road-rage incident just after 9 a.m. Dec. 22 in the 10500 block of Northeast Fourth Street.
The cabdriver told police he was driving west on Northeast Fourth Avenue when the driver of an Audi Q5 cut him off, causing the cabdriver to slow down to avoid a collision.
The Audi driver then switched lanes, rolled down his window and flipped off the cabdriver, according to the affidavit. The Audi driver cursed at the cabdriver and spit toward the cab, according to the affidavit.
The two cars stopped and the cabdriver took out his iPhone to photograph the driver of the Audi, the affidavit said. The two men argued and the Audi driver pushed the other cabdriver “hard on his chest,” causing the man to fall toward the ground, the affidavit said.
The two men continued to tussle before the Audi driver snatched the cabdriver’s phone, the affidavit said.
The driver of the Audi asked the cabdriver to meet him down the street if he wanted to get his cellphone back, the affidavit said. The cabdriver refused and the other man drove off.
Although several witnesses called 911, police were unable to find the Audi driver. One witness gave police a license-plate number, which was traced to an Audi owned by Bullene’s girlfriend, Mia Jarvinen, who lives with Bullene in Seattle, the affidavit said.
Police said the incident also was captured by a Bellevue traffic camera.
The cabdriver’s cellphone was later found at a business a half-block away. Police said they received several anonymous emails from someone reporting the location of the phone, according to the affidavit. When a detective responded, addressing one email to Bullene, Bullene’s lawyer sent a letter to the department asking that all communication be directed to the law office.
According to the affidavit, Bullene resembled the man caught on surveillance video during the incident. In addition, witnesses as well as the cabdriver identified Bullene from a photo montage.
The affidavit said Seattle police have twice investigated Bullene in connection with road-rage incidents in 2010 and 2012, but no arrests were made in either incident.
Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecutor’s Office, said that Bullene’s next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.
Because of his arrest Monday, Bullene was unable to attend his arbitration hearing at the Seattle City Attorney’s Office. Bullene and Robert Howell, another former Seattle firefighter accused of participating in the same March 15, 2014, assault at Occidental Park, have spent the past three weeks fighting to get their jobs back.
The hearing was recessed and Tuesday’s session was canceled, said Kimberly Mills, spokeswoman for the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.
It is scheduled to reconvene Wednesday morning, but Bullene did not appear, Mills said. Bullene and Howell are being represented in the arbitration by an attorney for the Seattle Fire Fighters Union, said Kenny Stuart, union president.
Stuart said he and other union members were “shocked” by Bullene’s arrest.
“The first time we learned about it is when he didn’t show up for the arbitration hearing on Monday morning,” Stuart said.
It’s unclear whether Bullene’s arrest could jeopardize his union representation in the arbitration hearing.
“We’re going to get all the facts before we take any action,” Stuart said Tuesday. “One of the priorities for us is our integrity as an organization.”
Bullene and Howell were fired in August by former Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean after they were accused of assaulting several homeless men in Occidental Park.
The two men, as well as Bullene’s girlfriend, Jarvinen, were accused of a “brutal attack” allegedly motivated by their anger toward the homeless, according to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, which charged each with fourth-degree assault and malicious harassment, under the state’s hate-crime statute.
The three were accused of attacking homeless men who were lying or lounging on the Seattle Fallen Firefighters Memorial on March 15, an act the three allegedly viewed as disrespectful, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
Attorneys for the firefighters said the men had spent their careers caring for others, including the homeless. Attorney David Allen, who represented Bullene in the criminal trial, said his client was the actual victim and suffered injuries.
In December, less than two weeks before the alleged road-rage incident, a Seattle Municipal Court jury acquitted the three.