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Report reveals conflicting statements on Education Board assault allegation

Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery will get the last word on whether to charge the president of the state Board of Education with assaulting schools chief Diane Douglas.

A final report released Monday by the Department of Public Safety of the Aug. 24 incident found conflicting statements from witnesses as to whether Greg Miller ever touched or grabbed Douglas. Miller himself said he did not but acknowledged there may have been “incidental” contact with her while he was trying to get her to stop speaking.

Montgomery spokesman Jerry Cobb said his office had not yet seen the report and could not comment.

Greg Miller

Miller said also was unaware of the findings. But he told Capitol Media Services he was not worried about being charged with a crime.

“It never occurred,” he said.

But at least one board member interviewed by DPS said that, in fact, it did.

The incident occurred when Douglas, who is a member of the board, was attempting to speak during a board meeting. Miller repeatedly told her she was out of order and said he was attempting to move the microphone from in front of her face.

Douglas, however, said Miller, sitting to her left, grabbed her arm and demanded that he release her.

Several board members who were interviewed said they did not see Miller touch Douglas. But Charles Schmidt, who sat three chairs to the right of Douglas, said he did.

According to Detective John Begley, Schmidt said that when Douglas began to speak “he observed Miller reach over with his right hand and grab her left arm as he told Douglas to stop speaking, as she did not have the floor.”

Begley aid Schmidt described the grab as “closing his right hand around Douglas’ left firearm.” Schmidt said Miller “appeared to be angry during the incident” and that Douglas “told Miller to get his hands off her.”

The report makes mention of a similar incident two months earlier that was never reported to police.

Miller, in discussing the Aug. 24 incident at the time, said what he did was justified.
“She was out of order again and, similar to the last time,” he said.

“I took her microphone away and pushed it up,” he said. “Obviously, I must have bumped her arm or something when I did that.”

Michael Bradley, Douglas’ chief of staff, said he believes that his boss is interested in pursuing charges if the county attorney finds sufficient evidence.

 

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