Mike McQuaid, a candidate for Seattle City Council, was charged with assault and harassment in 2015 after he allegedly threatened a man with a chop saw and then threw a rock at him.
McQuaid agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement and the gross misdemeanor charges were dismissed in 2018, after he served a year of probation and 24 hours on a work crew. Deferred prosecution agreements are common for first-time offenders.
McQuaid, a South Lake Union neighborhood leader and president of a communications and public affairs firm, is running for citywide Council Position 8, currently held by Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who is seeking reelection.
Reached Thursday, McQuaid said he’d been frightened by the situation and wished he could take the incident back.
“If I had that 30 seconds to take over again and could have avoided walking into that situation, I would have done it in a heartbeat,” McQuaid said. “It’s one of these things that you wish to God you had a way to think differently, but neither one of us touched each other, there was no altercation.”
According to the police report, McQuaid was upset with some landscaping work, part of an construction project outside of his Westlake condo. He got into an argument with a man on the site, police wrote, it escalated, and when the two were face to face McQuaid threatened to head butt the man.
After the two separated, police said, McQuaid picked up a gas-powered chop saw, tried to start it and said “I’m going to cut your head off.”
When the saw wouldn’t start, police said, McQuaid picked up a rock, and threw it at the man, from 8 to 10 feet away, hitting him in the lower back and leaving a red mark.
The other man picked up a shovel to defend himself, police said, but did not use it, and a witness called 911.
Reached later by police, McQuaid told them that the other man was trespassing on his property and he felt threatened because he was backed into a corner. McQuaid told police that he picked up a piece of construction equipment only after the other man brandished a shovel. He said he “feigned throwing a rock” but never actually threw a rock.
“I got frightened and I made a gesture as if I was tossing something, to get him out of the way,” McQuaid said Thursday. “Basically, I was stuck and didn’t have a path to walk away, which I was trying to do.”
Police wrote that “It must be noted that the victim had a red mark on his back and stated that he only picked up a shovel after being scared off with a saw.”
McQuaid said he left the situation, and his own home, “as soon as the path was cleared.”
“The way that it escalated on me frightened me like I have never been frightened before,” McQuaid said. “I was trying to get myself away from that as quickly as possible.”