Opinion

Public officials should behave in public

In the wee hours of Saturday, Jan. 17, Assistant City Attorney Simon Stocker had a scrape with the law in Seattle.

All that is known so far is what the initial police report states: Stocker was arrested for allegedly punching two men in their faces. In addition, he allegedly kicked one of the men in the head. Both Stocker and his boss, City Attorney Roger Lubovich have declined to comment.

The police report also states that while Stocker was being arrested, he kept telling police he was a city attorney. If that is true, that shows Stocker was aware enough to remember he was important, he just didn’t remember it was important to act nice.

Is it true? We’re not sure; right now all we have to go on is the police report.

Since the incident, Stocker has been charged with one count of felony assault and one count of misdemeanor assault. He also was placed on administrative leave pending his second court date, which was to be Thursday. Lubovich is investigating the situation so he can make an informed decision on what to do.

If it were an average citizen who was accused of this, would it be a front-page news story?

No.

Why then, is it a big deal because Stocker was involved?

Simple: Stocker is Bremerton assistant city attorney. His job title means he’s not an every day person. He’s a public official; a fact he allegedly continuously repeated to the police at the time of his arrest.

For public officials, it’s a whole different ball game. Public officials are those whom the citizens trust to act in our own best interests. Public officials are expected to handle themselves with dignity and restraint. Public officials are supposed to accomplish things the common citizen cannot. Public officials are supposed to represent themselves, the citizens and the government bodies for which they work.

In this case, if the allegations are true, Stocker has failed. Even if the allegations are not true, that he — a 32-year-old assistant city attorney who should know better — put himself into a situation that could have ended with a fight is shameful.

When Stocker accepted the position as assistant city attorney two years ago, he willingly put himself in the public light. What he did in that public light was completely up to him.

It is unfortunate this was his choice.

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