Jay Dee Harp III spent a day in jail after his arrest last month after the Seahawks-Cardinals game for allegedly grabbing one woman's breast and punching her wife in the face at CenturyLink Field. Harp is charged with assault and malicious harassment for an attack allegedly motivated by the women's sexual orientation.
Prosecutors say a lesbian couple attending a recent Seattle Seahawks game endured a litany of vulgar comments from a 34-year-old Tacoma man, whose crude and apparently drunken behavior escalated to a physical attack that has resulted in hate-crime and assault charges in King County Superior Court.
Charges allege the man, Jay Dee Harp III, grabbed the breast of one of the women and punched her wife in the face when they protested.
Harp spent a little over 24 hours in the King County Jail following his arrest Dec. 30 at CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks were playing the Arizona Cardinals, jail and court records show. He posted a $12,500 bond and was released Dec. 31, according to jail records.
Harp is now facing charges of second-degree assault and malicious harassment, the state’s hate-crime statute, and a $100,000 warrant was issued last week for his arrest due to the “violent nature” of his attack and the threat he poses to community safety, Deputy Prosecutor Rhyan Anderson wrote in charging papers.
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Harp remained at large Wednesday.
According to the charges, the lesbian couple and the mother of one of the women were seated in the same row in Section 118 at CenturyLink Field as a man wearing Arizona Cardinals apparel and drinking heavily. According to the charges, the man walked by the women multiple times to exit the aisle to buy beer, each time stepping on the women’s feet and making sexual comments as he passed, including asking “Do you need a man in your life?”
Sometime in the third quarter, the man returned with another beer but this time stopped as he passed the couple. Witnesses said he unzipped one woman’s jacket, grabbed her breast and refused to let go, according to the charges. The woman’s wife and several nearby fans intervened, taking the man to the ground. During the scuffle, he punched one of the women in the face, bloodying her nose and breaking her front tooth, the charges allege.
Fans flagged down police working security at the stadium and the officers responded to the fight.
“It took multiple officers to detain the defendant and he continued to aggressively fight and assault the arresting officers, punching one of them in the stomach,” Anderson wrote, noting officers ultimately had to use a stun gun on Harp to get him under control.
In a statement to police, the woman who was punched in the face wrote: “I have been an active member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community for decades and fought for marriage equality as an adult. The man’s chronic and repeated comments about our sexuality, based on my experience, suggest my sexual orientation may have motivated today’s assault.”
State law defines malicious harassment — a felony commonly referred to as a hate crime — as intentionally injuring, damaging property or threatening someone because of his or her perception of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical or sensory handicap.
The number of hate crimes has skyrocketed across the country since the 2016 presidential election, The Seattle Times reported in November. In Seattle, the number of reported hate crimes almost doubled, from 118 incidents in 2016 to 234 in 2017. Of the hate crimes reported in the city in 2017, 57 of the cases were based on victims’ sexual orientation.
Information from Times archives is included in this story.