Charges of domestic violence have been dropped against Seattle Councilmember Richard McIver after a judge ruled that statements his wife made to police were hearsay.
Marlaina Kiner-McIver gave two different accounts of an argument to 9-1-1 operators and police, and has refused to testify at trial against her husband of 30 years. The Oct. 10 9-1-1 call Kiner-McIver placed stated that the couple had gotten into a purely verbal argument after McIver had come home after several drinks. She later told police he had grabbed her about the arms and throat. With a lack of physical evidence, the prosecutor in the case could not move forward with a trial.
McIver released the following statement about the charges against him being dismissed: "I am pleased that the domestic-violence charges against me have been dropped, and it is my hope that my wife and I will now be able to put this experience behind us. This has been the most painful and embarrassing chapter in my life. I want to express my deep thanks to my friends, supporters, and staff who have offered their support and prayers to Marlaina and me over these past three months.
"As I said in my initial statement when these allegations were first raised in early October, I did NOT choke, grab, or hit my wife. I have NEVER hit my wife in our 34 years of marriage. Physical violence has no place in a relationship, and in my mind there are no exceptions.
"Domestic abuse is an all too real problem in our society, and I am highly supportive of the increased efforts by law enforcement and the judicial system to see that violence against spouses will not be tolerated.
"While I am absolutely adamant in my claim that I am not guilty of domestic violence, I did contribute to the situation that led to the 9-1-1 call that was made that night. I had stopped by the Four Seas to pick up dinner, as my wife had asked me to do. I did have cocktails while there, and accepted the offer of a friend to drive me home. When I got home, I got into a very heated vocal argument with my wife. I did raise my voice. I did use profane language. I'm not proud of this, and I certainly know this is not the best way to resolve conflict, but the issues that precipitated this argument are private and will remain so. I think every marriage has challenges, and mine is no different, but I ask that both the media and the public respect our privacy as we work to heal the issues we have.
"I realize that there are some who will always assume that I am guilty of these charges simply because they were filed. I would remind people, however, that our legal system is based on the premise that a person is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty. In that the charges against me have been dropped, I have not been proven guilty. I know I am innocent.
"These issues have absolutely no bearing on my ability to serve the citizens of Seattle on the City Council. Since these allegations were first made some three months ago, I have continued to do the job the citizens elected me to do. I spearheaded the Council's recent adoption of the City's 2008 budget and just became the chair of the Council's Housing and Economic Development Committee. I look forward to continuing this work, seeking to address the many challenges we face as a city."