A Pierce County prosecutor told a judge Friday that the estranged wife of a Tacoma police officer, who was charged with domestic violence against her this week, might have injuries worse than initially thought.
Deputy prosecutor Tim Lewis also said patrol officer Marco Tyrell Rahn had been investigated in 1989 for domestic violence against his wife but was never charged. Rahn was hired by Tacoma police in 1997.
And Rahn violated an order by his department in the last couple of days when he called his wife's parents, Lewis told substitute district court judge Michael Clark.
Rahn, the first Tacoma police officer to be arrested under the city's new domestic violence policy, pleaded not guilty Friday to fourth-degree domestic violence assault. He left the courtroom without having to post bail.
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Charging documents say Rahn, 35, grabbed his wife by the throat and threw her to the ground Wednesday morning outside their University Place home. The two have been separated for eight months, and she has lived in their house.
Lewis asked the judge to hold Rahn in lieu of $50,000 bail because of the seriousness of the charge, the woman's continuing health problems, the 1989 incident and Rahn's inappropriate phone call.
But defense attorney Richard Williams argued that Rahn, who has no criminal history, shouldn't have to pay more than the $1,000 cash bail he posted Wednesday after his arrest.
"I don't think Mr. Rahn poses any sort of threat to the community," Williams said.
Clark, a local defense attorney, released Rahn, noting that court rules say defendants should be released without bail unless they're shown to be a likely danger. The judge also signed an order that banned Rahn from contacting his wife or having any firearms.
Deputy prosecutor Kevin Benton, who supervises the prosecutor's misdemeanor division, said Rahn's wife had seen a doctor for dizziness since the incident.
Few details were available about the 1989 investigation. Ed Troyer, spokesman for the sheriff's department, said deputies responded to a call at 1:30 a.m. May 3, 1989, in the 5400 block of 108th Street Southwest in Lakewood. Only Rahn's wife was there when deputies arrived. The report lists both Rahn and his wife as suspects.
"So, the officer took a report and thought it was a mutually combative situation," Troyer said.
Rahn is on paid administrative leave while his department conducts an Internal Affairs investigation into his actions Wednesday.
Investigators also will be looking at Rahn's history with the department, including whether police commanders knew about the 1989 incident when he was hired.
"We can't even say that seven years ago that we knew about the 1989 incident," police spokeswoman Tracy Conaway said. "We are researching whether it even occurred, if there is any incident at all."
Also part of the investigation will be the allegation that Rahn violated a department order when he contacted his wife's parents, Conaway said. After his arrest, Tacoma police administrators told Rahn not to contact his wife or her family.
Rahn has been in trouble before. In 1999, he was ordered to receive counseling after he made inappropriate comments to a female prisoner.
Later that year, he received a letter of reprimand when a Washington State Patrol investigation found he harassed a Tacoma woman who turned down his requests for a date. The woman received $40,000 from the city after she filed a claim criticizing how the department handled her complaint.
Rahn, who is black, later filed a federal racial discrimination lawsuit against his department and the city. A judge dismissed the case in December.
Before the court hearing Friday, Rahn initially denied who he was when a reporter approached him in the hallway. When asked later, he acknowledged his identity but said he didn't want TV camera crews to approach him. He said his department had told him not to talk.
When the reporter asked him to talk, Rahn, who'd been reading a newspaper sports section, said "Do you want to talk about sports?"
Rahn wouldn't answer questions including whether he had hurt his wife.
Karen Hucks: 253-597-8660
Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268