Thurston County Court Sets Bail for Two Men Accused of Assaulting Law Enforcement During Protest


Thurston County Superior Court set bail at $45,000 and $10,000 Monday for two men accused of assaulting deputies during a Saturday protest.

Deputies arrested Charles S. Gaston, 38, and Thomas E. Johnson, 37, Saturday on suspicion of assaulting law enforcement and resisting arrest. Both attended a Dec. 12 protest that law enforcement deemed a riot amid clashes between supporters of President Trump and anti-fascist protesters.

The prosecution alleged that Gaston committed second-degree assault against three deputies while armed with a deadly weapon and that he resisted arrest. Meanwhile, Johnson is suspected of third-degree assault against two deputies, criminal mischief and resisting arrest.

Commissioner Pro Tem Charles Houser established probable cause and set bail for both in separate cases. Additionally, both are barred from contacting the officers involved or possessing weapons or firearms.

Deputy prosecuting attorney Scott Jackson requested $75,000 bail for Gaston who allegedly resisted arrest with a spiked baton. Jackson also requested $25,000 bail for Johnson who was unarmed but allegedly tried to help Gaston when deputies were arresting him.

Public Defense Attorney Danielle Walker said it was unclear whether the protest was a riot and added both should be released on personal recognizance because they lacked criminal history.

An affidavit for probable cause describes the incident from the perspective of Sheriff deputies responding to the Saturday protest.

Deputies responded to the protest in Olympia at about 2:30 p.m. as part of the Thurston County SWAT Team to assist the Olympia Police Department and Washington State Patrol.

Law enforcement declared the assembly unlawful and issued dispersal orders due to the number of confrontations and assaults between the two groups, the document read. They allege protesters threw large homemade explosives, rocks, frozen water bottles and other items at the other side as well as police.

As they attempted to clear area, law enforcement allegedly met resistance from a group of 10 to 15 people near the intersection of Union Avenue and Capital Way South. The deputies then attempted a mass arrest of this black-clad group, which reportedly carried homemade shields, facemasks, gas masks, batons, sticks and baseball bats.

One deputy grabbed Gaston, who was dressed in black and held a spiked baton, but Gaston attempted to flee and fight off his captor, according to the document. Gaston allegedly hit three deputies with his baton in the altercation.

As Gaston struggled, Johnson allegedly attempted to help free Gaston from law enforcement by pushing and punching the deputies. The deputies managed to arrest Gaston and Johnson, but one deputy suffered a bruise on his shin.

Both Gaston and Johnson reportedly wore full protective gear including pads and body armor.

They are both due Dec. 29 for their separate arraignments.


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