Editor's note: This article has been edited for clarity and and has been updated as events continued to unfold. The title and a few other word choices have been changed.
UW Police Department (UWPD) officers arrested an antifa-affiliated woman for vandalism and fourth-degree assault after she threw paint on members of the UW College Republicans (UWCR). She was released a few hours later with a written citation.
Two UWCR members, director of outreach Diodato Boucsieguez and treasurer Alex Guerrero, were tabling outside the HUB for several hours before a college-aged woman approached the table at about 12:30 p.m.
Boucsieguez said he noticed the woman sitting in one of the chairs in the seating area behind them but didn't pay attention to her.
About five minutes later, he said the woman walked around the tent from his left. In a fluid motion, the woman flicked the paint from a plastic bottle onto the booth.
The table and Boucsieguez’s shirt received the bulk of the paint. Guerrero, who was lying down at the time, sat up and saw the woman’s distinguishable orange hair as she went into the HUB.
The UWCR memebers called the police at 12:34 p.m., according to Maj. Steve Rittereiser, the UWPD public informations officer. Multiple officers responded to the call, with some looking for the suspect and some speaking to witnesses.
Boucsieguez remained on the phone with a dispatcher describing the incident, but spotted the woman exiting the HUB and heading toward Thomson Hall. He followed her, but met a police officer near the entrance to Thomson.
The woman was spotted leaving Thomson through another exit, and Boucsieguez and the officer lost her again. Boucsieguez said they followed her to The Quad, but she had doubled back at some point. The officer discussed the incident and the woman’s description with Boucsieguez for about 20 minutes before leaving Boucsieguez to walk back to the HUB alone.
“It’s really rather lucky that I saw the person walking into the HUB's north entrance,” Boucsieguez said.
Boucsieguez called the UWPD again at 1:27 p.m., according to Rittereiser, around 50 minutes after the initial call.
The two students, joined by fellow UWCR member Armen Tooloee, stationed themselves at the three main HUB entrances to watch for the woman.
It was Guerrero who spotted her next, from the HUB's north entrance, and began taking pictures of her.
“I was just kinda spooked,” Guerrero said, comparing the incident to other antifa encounters and explaining his anxiety for his $800 camera that was rented from the UW. “They broke my girlfriend’s phone.”
An officer contacted the woman at 1:50 p.m.
“The individual indicated that they wanted to cooperate with the investigation,” Rittereiser said. “We arrested them based on the probable cause for assault in the fourth degree based on all the information we had at the time.”
The physical description of the individual was unique: bright orange hair with black roots, steampunk boots, a tartan dress, and a black hoodie.
There was a second paint bottle found at the scene, photographed and confiscated by police, according to Guerrero and later confirmed by Boucsieguez.
The UWPD took the woman to the station in custody, informed her of her constitutional rights, and attempted to interview her. Rittereiser said the woman didn’t have anything to say, exercising her right to silence.
Rittereiser explained that fourth-degree assault is the lowest level of assault in Washington.
“We identified them and don’t need to place them in jail,” Rittereiser said. “They don’t create a risk. It’s nothing like a mandatory arrest in domestic violence calls. It’s a misdemeanor case, not a felony. In the eyes of the law, we have the option to release them with citation and identification.”
The UWPD released her within a few hours with a written citation in lieu of arrest. They also documented her identification.
“The idea is that [we] believe they will, when charged, appear in court,” Rittereiser said. “It’s a judgement call.”
Boucsieguez, as the one hit with the paint, intends to press assault charges as well as for vandalism for defacing RSO and UWCR property.
The Daily is withholding additional statements by the UWCR members until the young woman can provide her account as well.
Update on April 20:
UWCR members tabled in front of the HUB again Thursday morning. Protesters not affiliated with antifa responded by heckling the UWCRs, Essex Porter with KIRO 7 reported. Video coverage can be found on KIRO 7’s newscast.
A young woman argued with members who were tabling, and a young man also sat on the table until RSO manager Tony Colinares intervened, according to Boucsieguez.
UW administration is aware of Wednesday’s incident.
“We have protocols and policies in place to address issues of harassment, including intervention by UWPD,” Victor Balta, university spokesperson and senior director for media relations, said in an email. “As with all students and organizations that face harassment, the university is taking appropriate action to protect the community and our commitment to the free exchange of idea.”
“That kind of behavior is illegal, and police detained and cited that individual and will forward the results of their investigation on to the King County Prosecutor for further action,” Balta’s statement read. “Every student and member of our community has a right to peacefully express themselves without fear of intimidation, which is why actions like this that are clearly intended to stifle those rights are wholly unacceptable.”
Boucsieguez hasn’t begun the process of pressing charges. While it may be a year-long process due to cases with more priority, he plans to see it all the way to court.
Reach UWPD reporter Olivia Madewell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @OliviaGMadewell