Richard Sherman, a former Seahawks cornerback, on Thursday waived his first court appearance before a King County District Court judge, who ordered Sherman’s release after finding probable cause for four misdemeanor criminal allegations.
Judge Fa’amomoi Masaniai found probable cause that Sherman committed misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor crimes of second-degree criminal trespass and third-degree malicious mischief, both carrying domestic-violence designations, when he tried to break into the home of his in-laws.
The judge also found probable cause that Sherman resisted arrest and drove while under the influence of alcohol.
After Sherman was booked into jail and investigated on suspicion of domestic-violence burglary, it appears he is no longer facing the possibility of a felony charge; however, a charging decision has not yet been made.
Though The Seattle Times typically does not identify suspects before criminal charges are filed, the newspaper is identifying Sherman because he is a public figure.
“Richard Sherman is among the best in our community, and we’re proud to have him here,” said Cooper Offenbecher, Sherman’s attorney. “He’s a good person with a good soul.”
Noting that Sherman has never been in trouble with the law before, Offenbecher said his client appreciates the gravity of his situation and called his arrest a “watershed moment” with his professional life now hanging in the balance.
In an emailed statement provided by an attorney representing Sherman’s wife, Ashley Moss-Sherman, she wrote: “I love and support my husband. I am committed to helping Richard get the support and care that he needs. Richard has always been a loving father and husband. And we are looking forward to seeing him at home with his family.”
Jail records show Sherman was released from the King County Jail at 5:42 p.m. Thursday. His next hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday.
Sherman, 33, of Maple Valley, was arrested early Wednesday after attempting to force entry into his in-laws’ Redmond residence and fought with police officers, who used a police dog to get Sherman into custody, according to the statement of probable cause outlining the Redmond police case against Sherman. He was also being investigated by the State Patrol for allegedly driving drunk, crashing into a concrete barrier on Highway 520, and driving from the scene in his badly damaged car that troopers found abandoned in a parking lot, says a probable cause statement authored by a Patrol sergeant.
The probable cause statements from the two agencies provide additional details about the events leading up to Sherman’s arrest. According to the Patrol sergeant’s statement, the driver of a black Mercedes crashed in the construction zone while driving 60 to 70 mph around 1:26 a.m. Wednesday. Members of a road work crew used their vehicles in an attempt to box in and prevent the driver from entering the ramp to southbound 148th Avenue Northeast. Without knowing the driver’s identity, two of the workers told a 911 dispatcher that the driver looked “very similar to former Seahawks Richard Sherman,” and said he sounded intoxicated and had slurred speech, the statement says.
Crew members saw the same vehicle driving on Northeast 24th Street with a flat tire and shooting sparks after it left the freeway ramp to northbound 148th Avenue Northeast, before the driver made an illegal left turn and drove over a median to continue south, according to the probable cause statement. The workers found the damaged vehicle in the parking lot of an Arby’s restaurant and the Patrol sergeant noted the car’s rear axle appeared to be broken, a rear tire was sideways in the wheel well, and there was additional damage to the driver’s side of the vehicle. Another trooper wrote in a report that all of the vehicle’s tires were flat.
Sherman’s wife and her sister both called 911 between 1:40 and 1:50 a.m. from the Redmond home, describing a chaotic scene as Sherman repeatedly rang the doorbell and screamed at their father, who was standing at the door inside the house, according to recordings released Thursday by Redmond police in response to a public records request. In separate calls, both women pleaded with the dispatcher for officers to hurry.
His wife told the dispatcher she thought Sherman had followed her to the house and said her husband was going through a really bad depression, was on antidepressants and had been drinking, according to the recording.
Meanwhile, her sister told a dispatcher there were children and a baby in the house, and told someone in the house they needed to stay on the floor and away from windows, the recording shows. Later in the 30-minute call, she said everyone had gone upstairs and hid in the shower.
Four state troopers, including the Patrol sergeant, met up with Redmond police officers as they were getting ready to contact Sherman, who by then had removed his sweatshirt after his father-in-law had sprayed him in the face with bear mace, the statements say.
According to the father-in-law’s statement to Redmond police, Sherman entered a code to unlock the front door of the house on the 18100 block of 30th Street Northeast and partially opened it, but he was unable to get inside because of a second lock. Sherman rammed the front door several times with his shoulder, damaging it as his father-in-law stood on the other side of the door armed with a firearm, the statement says.
Sherman was agitated when police arrived and the officers and troopers took turns talking to him, one telling Sherman that he had worked as a valet and had parked Sherman’s car several years earlier at a charity event, according to the probable cause statements. Sherman was upset because he said his children had been taken away, the statements say.
When officers announced they were arresting Sherman, “Sherman made an implicit threat that it would be ‘a long day’ for the officers on scene if an arrest or any non-lethal tools were used. The deliberation went on for several minutes,” the Patrol sergeant wrote in his statement.
After police worked to de-escalate the situation, Sherman shoved several of the officers, broke free and ran toward the Patrol sergeant’s position, according to his statement: “I found myself squared up with him as I attempted to gain control of his body to effect an arrest. I performed a double leg takedown to bring Sherman briefly off his feet to where he was now sitting on the ground.”
Several officers struggled to get Sherman into handcuffs and a police dog bit him on his left ankle during the struggle, according to the statements. But once handcuffed, Sherman’s mood seemed to lighten “and he even joked around with us about the merits of my takedown form and eventually admitted it wasn’t bad. He was still occasionally agitated, particularly about the K-9 use, but he was overall more jovial than before,” the Patrol sergeant wrote.
Following his arrest, Sherman was treated at a hospital for the dog bite, which required stitches, and his blood was drawn so his blood-alcohol content could be determined, the statements say. He was booked into the King County Jail on investigation of domestic-violence burglary.
During Thursday’s court hearing, a King County deputy prosecutor requested that bail be set at $10,000. The judge denied the bail request and released Sherman on his promise to return to court for future hearings. The judge also ordered Sherman to have no contact with his father-in-law.
The King County Sheriff’s Office obtained an extreme risk protection order against Sherman in February to bar him from possessing firearms, according to court records. The petition was sealed by a Superior Court commissioner, so the details are unknown. On Thursday, Commissioner Mark Hillman’s findings and conclusions of law were made publicly viewable through the superior court clerk’s electronic court records system.
Hillman ruled that sealing the protection order petition was necessary to protect Sherman’s privacy, given “the sensitive nature of the position and the individual’s public status,” court records show. “Nothing short of temporary, complete sealing can safely protect the named individual’s mental health, which is currently in crisis.”
Hillman allowed the records to be sealed for six months, which expires on Aug. 3, according to the records.