The scene of the incident in Occidental Park.
  • Cienna Madrid
  • The scene of the incident in Occidental Park.

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This afternoon, a six-member jury found former Seattle firefighters Robert Howell and Scott Bullene, along with Mia Jarvinen, not guilty of assault or malicious harassment in the March 15 fight involving several homeless men in Pioneer Square.

The verdict followed three weeks of complicated testimony and mere hours of deliberation.

The benches of Seattle Municipal court were full of reporters and lawyerly bystanders awaiting the verdicts. As the three defendants filed into the room, one lawyer could be heard advising his client to "remember, there are six verdicts here. Don't show any emotion until you hear all six verdicts."

All three defendants showed visible signs of relief as the verdicts were read. Pro Tem Judge Catherine McDowall stated, "I respect the jury's verdict, and trust that this incident has affected you greatly, and that this conduct will not be repeated."

"The city took their best shot at them and the city was unsuccessful," stated David Allen, Bullene's lawyer, after the verdict. He added that Bullene, "very much wants to return to the force."

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Both Bullene and Howell were fired from the Seattle Fire Department last August, following the incident.

(Our earlier reports on the trial testimony are here, here, here, here, and here.)