Deputy arrested for suspicion of assault

A highly decorated Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy stands accused of threatening to kill his ex-wife with a handgun and assaulting her on several occasions, according to court documents.

King County detectives arrested deputy Michael J. Mayson on May 13 at a Poulsbo residence, and booked him into jail on suspicion of second-degree assault and felony harassment.

Both involved domestic violence allegations.

Clad in standard orange jail garb and escorted by at least three corrections officers, Mayson appeared in Kitsap County Superior Court May 14.

Judge Karlynn Haberly set Mayson’s bail at $250,000. He is now being held in a jail outside Kitsap County.

He was not charged, but Kitsap County prosecutors said they expected to file formal charges against the 40-year-old deputy late Friday afternoon. Mayson’s arrest and subsequent court appearance is the second case in the past week in which a law enforcement officer was accused of physically abusing his estranged spouse.

Bremerton Police Officer William Cook was also arrested last week, and later charged with assaulting his wife on two occasions.

Both local arrests followed fairly closely on the heels of the Brame family tragedy.

Late Tacoma Police Chief David Brame shot his wife Crystal before turning the gun on himself in Gig Harbor April 26, while their two young children sat in a nearby car. His wife died May 3.

“Current events and publicity always have an effect,” said Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer. “I think the situation down there has focused attention on family violence in general, not just domestic violence. But it’s important in the justice system to take each case on its individual merits.”

Law enforcement officials said the timing of the reported domestic violence incidents involving law enforcement officers in Kitsap County are more than likely coincidental to the Brame case.

Mayson, one of seven deputies to receive the Medal of Valor — the department’s highest honor — is alleged to have abused his ex wife on at least three separate occasions during an 18-month period at a Leonard Costello said. He retained bail at the previously set amount and granted no-contact orders to prevent Bill Cook from communicating with both his wife and Greg Wilson, the Poulsbo Police Department sergeant who tipped off other law enforcement officials.

On April 29, Wilson confessed his knowledge of a long history of domestic abuse between Bill Cook and his wife to PPD Chief Jeff Doran. Doran passed the information onto the Sheriff’s Office who led the investigation of Bill Cook.

“He did a good job while he was here,” Doran said of Bill Cook in an interview last week. Bill Cook started out as a patrol officer with the PPD, moving up the ranks to detective before leaving to work with the BPD.

Doran said that the PPD responds to about one domestic violence call every week and that Bill Cook responded to such cases while serving on that department. Bill Cook also underwent officer training about domestic violence assaults and how to respond to those types of calls.

Many of the assaults alleged by Sara Cook occurred while Bill Cook was employed by the PPD, and according to court documents, Sara Cook began reporting these assaults to Wilson, “Bill’s best friend,” as early as 1992. When contacted by Sheriff’s Office detectives on May 2, Wilson admitted to his knowledge of domestic violence between the Cooks. He also told them he’d been best friends with Bill Cook for about 18 years and that Bill Cook had told him about physically and verbally assaulting his wife Sara Cook on many occasions.

PPD Sgt. Bill Playter said the department does not have a set policy for dealing specifically with domestic violence cases or require its officers to report such abuse if they learn about it while off-duty.

“It’s kind of an unwritten policy,” Playter said.

Wilson is still serving on the PPD.

Sara Cook gave details to Sheriff’s Office detectives about several incidents of domestic violence which occurred in various houses in Kitsap County the Cooks resided in as early as 1986.

In the second year of the Cook’s marriage, Sara Cook alleges that Bill Cook verbally assaulted her, threw objects at her and would punch the wall, sometimes right by her head.

Between 1989-1991, Sara Cook claims that Bill Cook continued verbal intimidation, kicked her and made threats of physical harm.

According to court records, Bill Cook suspected Sara Cook of having an affair in 1992. She told Sheriff’s detectives that he dragged her through their home by her hair and threw her a distance of six feet over their front porch. Sara Cook also alleges that Bill Cook then threatened to shoot the man she was supposedly engaging in an affair with, as well as himself. Court documents state that Bill Cook shot their car that night before leaving the house in his truck, and that Sara Cook called Wilson that night to tell him about what had occurred.

By 1996, when Bill Cook began working as a patrol officer for the BPD, court documents state that Bill Cook had begun keeping track of “allegations, admissions and lies” by scratching dates and words into three different doors in the couple’s bedroom.

In the following years Sara Cook alleges the assaults grew more violent. She told detectives that he once lifted her off the floor by the throat until she began to black out; she claims she was left with marks on her face and neck. Sara Cook also alleges that her husband once punched her in the eye causing it to bleed for more than four hours. The most recent incident of domestic violence Sara Cook told the detectives about occurred in October 2002.

Cook remains on paid administrative leave while in jail awaiting his July 2 trial date. He is not being held at the Kitsap County Jail as officers are normally not jailed in the same county where they served.

The Bremerton Police Department is taking measures to begin its own internal investigation this week.

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