Yakima Prosecutor Says He Won’t Charge Coroner With Assault
Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice will not be charged with assaulting a Yakima County Sheriff's Deputy. That's the decision announced by Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic Tuesday after reviewing facts of an incident reported March 10 at Curtice's home in Gleed.
THE INCIDENT IN QUESTION
Media reports and a Facebook post from Jim Curtice say the incident was the result of Curtice struggling with his mental health. Because he's served in emergency health since a young man his family says he struggles with PTSD and was having a mental challenge as deputies were trying to help him.
BRUSIC SAYS THE EVENING STARTED AT A LOCAL BAR
In a news release from the prosecutors office Brusic says the evening started with Curtice and an off-duty Yakima County Sheriff's Deputy who were together at a local bar. The Deputy offered to give Curtice a ride home because he felt Curtice was to intoxicated to drive. Curtice accepted the offer for a ride to his Gleed area home. The release says the ride was uneventful but problems started when the two men arrived at the home.
WHEN THE TWO ARRIVED AT THE HOME CURTICE BECAME BELLIGERENT
The release from the Yakima County Prosecutors Office reads in part;
"As they approached the front porch, Mr. Curtice became belligerent and out of control. Off-duty deputy Swale indicated that Mr. Curtice tried to fight with him and was asking to be killed. Mr. Curtice allegedly told Swale that he wanted to die and that he was going to stab himself once inside his house. Curtice's wife was at home and had contacted YSO because she was observing the conflict between Swale and Curtice on the front lawn of the residence. YSO Sgt. Panattoni and YSO Dep. Hubbard arrived at about the same time and observed the two gentlemen on the ground with Swale on top of Curtice.
THE ALLEGED ASSAULT HAPPENED AFTER CURTICE WAS HANDCUFFED
Curtice was yelling. Both deputies attempted to pull Curtice up and they grabbed his arms. He pulled away and said "fuck you" and "kill me", repeatedly. Curtice was then handcuffed behind his back while still on the ground. After being handcuffed the Deputies tried to get Curtice to his feet but he refused to stand. The Deputies tried to help him stand and that's when Brusic says Curtice kicked a Deputy in a leg causing Curtice and the Deputy to fall to the ground.
CURTICE WAS TAKEN TO A HOSPITAL AND GIVEN SEDATIVES
Curtice was eventually placed in a patrol vehicle as he kept yelling at Deputies saying he wanted them to kill him."
He was taken to a Yakima hospital where he had to be restrained to a bed and given sedatives by doctors.
BRUSIC SAYS BASED ON THE EVIDENCE NO CHARGE WILL BE FILED
"I am formally determining that Jim Curtice will not be charged with a crime under these set off acts and for the state of mind he possessed during this event. It is clear that he was suffering from some type of severe medical event and his ability to form the requisite mental state, also lcnown as a mens rea, to commit an intentional assault is not present. Without being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was intentional, the State will fail to meet its burden of proof for an assault. Additionally, any leg kick, as seen in the video, could be seen as purely de minimis with no injury or associated pain as Dep. Hubbard concluded. It would be my position that any underlying prosecution with these facts would not serve a public purpose. I om using my prosecutorial discretion to not file any charges in this particular case."
Curtice is now seeking treatment for PTSD issues. He's on a leave of absence from the coroners office."