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Wednesday, October 10, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Seattle City Councilman Richard McIver arrested

Seattle Times staff reporters

Seattle City Councilman Richard McIver was arrested and booked into jail early today for investigation of domestic violence assault.

Seattle police went to McIver's address after receiving a 911 call shortly after midnight. Officers who responded to the Southeast Seattle home determined a physical assault had occurred, said Seattle police Sgt. Deanna Nollette.

McIver's wife, Marlaina Kiner-McIver, told an officer that her husband had grabbed her by the throat and arm repeatedly before going on a "profane tirade," according to a Seattle police report. She told police she tried to push him off her at least three times, the report said.

Officers reported that she did not have visible injuries.

Police say McIver admitted that he had been drinking, and was probably drunk, and confirmed he had been in an argument with his wife. He denied making any physical contact during the argument, according to the police report.

King County Jail records show that McIver, 66, was booked shortly after the arrest and was being held without bail.

In a statement released today, McIver said, "Domestic violence is a very serious issue. At this time I will not comment on the charges being brought against me except to say I will be pleading not guilty at my arraignment."

The statement also said that he is cooperating with the investigation and that he expects to be arraigned Thursday morning.

McIver was to make his first court appearance to set bail in Seattle Municipal Court today but the city requested the case be handled by King County District Court to avoid any conflict of interest.

McIver's attorney filed a motion to accelerate the hearing but King County District Court Judge Mark Chow said he couldn't hear the case because he knows McIver. Chow was unable to get another judge to replace him.

Instead McIver will appear on the usual domestic violence docket in King County Superior Court at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Any time police respond to domestic violence calls, officers are required by state law to arrest the person they determine is the primary aggressor, said Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt. There are no exceptions, she said.

The Seattle City Attorney's Office has requested that the King County Prosecutor's Office handle McIver's case "because of a potential conflict of interest," said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office.

Domestic violence offenses in Seattle Municipal Court are either misdemeanors, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, or gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Dawn Mason, a former state representative speaking on Kiner-McIver's behalf, said Kiner-McIver is doing as well as can be expected.

"The best response is to have a strong circle of women around her right now," she said.

"If this is, in fact, alcohol involved, Councilmember McIver will go into treatment because that's a disease," said Mason.

The Seattle Weekly's blog reported today that Weekly reporter Aimee Curl had drinks with McIver Tuesday evening. According to the blog, Curl met McIver at the College Club at 5:30 p.m. to discuss stories she was working on. McIver spoke glowingly of his wife and drove Curl home to Capitol Hill at 7:45 p.m., she wrote. He "seemed in good spirits when he dropped me off," Curl wrote.

Curl declined to comment today.

In 1997, McIver was appointed to the council to complete the term of John Manning, a former cop who resigned after pleading guilty to domestic violence.

McIver was elected to a full four-year term later in 1997, then re-elected in 2001 and again in 2005.

McIver is currently chair of the finance and budget committee.

Seattle City Council President Nick Licata said the council "will continue working on items at hand. We will await statements from all parties involved."

Licata said he has not spoken with McIver.

Fellow Councilmember Jean Godden said, "The council is respectfully waiting to see what the details are. Obviously we want the investigation to be as thorough as it would be for any citizen."

She said she knew the family well and did not know of any problems the couple had. If there were, "it was not apparent to his colleagues. I think Richard has been looking very well recently," she said.

Godden said she had only seen McIver with soft drinks at evening events.

McIver had been traveling in Asia for several weeks earlier this month, during which time Godden ran budget meetings as vice-chair. Several council members have mentioned him as a candidate for council president next year.

During the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, McIver, the council's only African-American member, was stopped twice by police and nearly arrested in downtown Seattle on his way to a WTO reception at the Westin Hotel.

McIver, who was stopped at a checkpoint, said police gave him a rough time even though he showed them his business card and WTO credentials.

Christina Siderius: csiderius@seattletimes.com

Seattle Times staff reporters Sharon Pian Chan and Bob Young contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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