Seattle City Council candidate was charged with assault, harassment after 2015 confrontation

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Seattle City Council candidate was charged with assault, harassment after 2015 confrontation

Mike McQuaid, a Seattle city council candidate, was charged with assault and harassment in 2015 after allegedly threatening a man with a chop saw and then throwing a stone at him.

McQuaid agreed to a deferred law enforcement arrangement and the gross misconduct charge was dismissed in 2018 after serving a year on probation and 24 hours on a working group. Deferred law enforcement agreements are common with first-time offenders.

McQuaid, a South Lake Union neighborhood leader and president of a communications and public affairs firm, is running for position 8 on the city council, currently held by Councilor Teresa Mosqueda, who is seeking re-election.

When McQuaid arrived on Thursday, he said he was afraid of the situation and wished he could take the incident back.

“If I had those 30 seconds to take over again and could have avoided getting into this situation, I would have done it right away,” said McQuaid. “It’s one of those things that you wish God you had a way to think differently, but neither of us touched, there was no argument.”

According to a police report, McQuaid was upset about some landscaping that was part of a construction project outside of his Westlake apartment. He got into an argument with a man on the construction site, wrote the police, which escalated, and when the two faced each other, McQuaid threatened to push the man.

After the two broke up, police said McQuaid picked up a gas powered chop saw, tried to start it, and said, “I’ll cut your head off.”

When the saw failed to start, police said McQuaid picked up a stone and threw it at the man from 8 to 10 feet away, struck him in the lower back and left a red mark.

The other man took a shovel to defend himself, police said but didn’t use it, and a witness named 911.

McQuaid was later reached by the police and informed them that the other man had entered his property and that he felt threatened because he was cornered. McQuaid told police he didn’t pick up a piece of construction equipment until after the other man swung a shovel. He said he “pretended to throw a stone” but never threw a stone.

“I was scared and made a gesture like throwing something to get him out of the way,” said McQuaid on Thursday. “Basically, I was stuck with no way to go, which I was trying to do.”

The police wrote: “It should be noted that the victim had a red mark on his back and stated that he did not pick up a shovel until after being scared off with a saw.”

McQuaid said he left the situation and his own home “as soon as the path was clear”.

“The way it escalated on me terrified me like I’d never been scared before,” said McQuaid. “I tried to break away from it as quickly as possible.”