Sgt. Teresa Fuller
Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 11:25 p.m.
A Spokane Police Officer who responded to a residence on the report of Domestic Violence was assaulted as he attempted to detain the suspect. The suspect, later id’d as Michael Withey (39) barricaded himself in a residence in the 1700 block of east Desmet. Desmet was closed between Napa and Madelia for several hours while officers attempted to peacefully resolve the situation.
On July 29th, 2020 just after 3:00pm, Officers were dispatched to a residence in the area of E Desmet Ave. and Pittsburgh St. Witnesses reported a male and female could be heard yelling at each other and the male was seen kicking a parked vehicle. They believed the male had assaulted the female and observed the couple go into a residence. The first officer on scene located the male suspect walking away from the residence. As the officer attempted to question the suspect, he ran from the officer resulting in a short foot pursuit.
The male, Withey, made it back inside the residence with the female as the officer followed closely behind. As Withey made it inside, he pushed the officer causing him to fall back outside of the home. The door was then locked preventing the officer from entering. Withey and female remained inside despite numerous attempts to contact them.
Out of concern for the safety of the female inside the home, the likelihood the female was a victim of a domestic violence assault, and because of the felony assault on the officer who initially arrived on scene, a number of resources responded in an attempt to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Those resources included, but are not limited to, the Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT), SWAT, the Explosives Disposal Unit (EDU), the Air Support Unit, K9 Officers, Spokane Fire, and AMR.
For over three hours officers attempted to gain verbal compliance to get Withey and the female to exit the home, to no avail. After receiving a search warrant, at approx. 7:00pm, force was used to gain entry. At that time, the female victim was able to exit without further incident, however, Withey still refused to comply with commands to exit the home. The female did not seek any medical attention.
Officers used additional tactics in attempt to get Withey to exit the residence, but after almost two additional hours of non-compliance, officers made entry to take him into custody. He was taken into custody without further incident. Out of an abundance of caution, he was taken to the hospital to be cleared by medical staff before being booked into jail.
Withey will be booked into Spokane County Jail for 3rd Degree Assault on Law Enforcement and Resisting Arrest. Additional charges could be added at a later time. Despite the initial assault by Withey, our officer escaped injury.
The Spokane Police Department is thankful for the concerned witnesses who originally reported the violence they saw. If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, there is help. In an emergency, call 911, but additional resources can be found through Spokane County YWCA 24 hour DV helpline: Call: 509-326-2255, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , or Text: 509-220-3725. We’re also very appreciative of the neighbors nearby who remained in their homes while we dealt with this potentially volatile situation.
Officer John O'Brien