Arizona Schools Superintendent Diane Douglas' Assault Case Doesn't Merit Criminal Charge

Diane Douglas
Diane Douglas
Gage Skidmore

Diane Douglas' assault case against State School Board President Greg Miller has been slapped down by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Douglas, whom Miller once called "unqualified for the job," claimed that the board president assaulted her on August 24 at a board meeting. During the meeting, Miller and Douglas started fighting about who's turn it was to talk during the meeting when Miller grabbed a microphone. Allegedly, he grabbed her arm while doing it.

"It's intolerable the way this meeting is addressed...  please take your hands off me," Douglas told him, according to Fox-10 News (KSAZ-TV).

Douglas later filed an assault complaint with the state Department of Public Safety, which forwarded the case to Montgomery for review.

Today, Montgomery announced that he's not moving forward with a charge against Miller.

"In order to sustain a charge of assault under our criminal statutes, prosecutors must prove the intent to insult, injure or provoke,” Montgomery said, adding that his office has determined it can't be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt," the standard for criminal cases.

Charles Tack, spokesman for Douglas, says the prosecutor's decision "does not change the fact that it happened."

He denies that Douglas created the controversy, saying another school board member backed up Douglas' version of events. The incident actually was the second time Miller had grabbed her during a meeting, Tack says, which was one reason she moved ahead with a complaint.

Miller assigned Douglas a different seat at the board meetings afterward — which was his solution "in case he lost his temper in the future so she wouldn't be there for him to grab," Tack says.

Miller didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Douglas was elected last year after narrowly beating Democrat David Garcia, an Arizona State University education professor who drew several Republican endorsements. She's been involved in several controversies, including a fight about whether she has the power to fire State School Board staff members that is now on appeal.

UPDATE December 14:

Miller returned our message. He said he never grabbed Douglas' arm, but was moving a microphone for her as he'd done before. He moved her seat to deny her the opportunity to file another "false report," he said.

"I am very pleased with the outcome that validated my explanation of the incident," Miller said, adding that he hoped to get back to major issues before the School Board.


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