A downtown Seattle courtroom was shrouded in a cloud of pepper spray Friday after a fight broke out during a pretrial hearing.
A downtown Seattle courtroom was shrouded in a cloud of pepper spray Friday morning after a fight broke out during a pretrial hearing.
Seattle defense attorney Teri Rogers Kemp said her client was sitting alone in the gallery about 10 a.m., awaiting her appearance before King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers, when another woman walked up and punched the client. Two other women then jumped on her client and the women ended up on the floor, Rogers Kemp said.
Rogers Kemp said she jumped into the altercation in the gallery to protect her client. A jail officer assigned to the 12th-floor courtroom ordered the women to break up the fight, said jail spokesman Capt. Troy Bacon.
When they didn’t, he pepper-sprayed the group, Bacon said.
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“This was a melee,” said Rogers Kemp. “I protected my client. I pulled these females off my client. They wouldn’t let her go, they had her by the hair, they scratched her face. We were pretty much all on the ground.”
Rogers Kemp said that when the fight erupted the judge remained on the bench and most of the lawyers stayed behind the glass partition that separates the gallery from the judge, lawyers and court staff. She said the fight was over within three to five minutes.
A group of courthouse security and jail officers, as well as other law enforcement, were called to the courtroom, Bacon said. Rogers Kemp said the woman who struck her client was escorted out of the courtroom.
No arrests were made by the King County Sheriff’s Office.
“The fight was broken up and everybody was released. Nobody would cooperate with law enforcement to explain what happened and nobody wanted to be the victim; there was nothing we could do,” said sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Stan Seo.
Rogers Kemp doesn’t know why her client was attacked. She said her client doesn’t know the other women.
After the fight, Rogers Kemp’s client, whom she declined to identify or say why she was in court, had her omnibus hearing.
“It was scary,” Rogers Kemp said, adding “I’m OK.”