Spokane Superior Court declines to file charges despite police recommendation

By Jane Martin

Former EWU football player Chandler Gayton, who was arrested last May after allegedly displaying a gun near police officers, is not facing any charges for the incident, according to court records.

After an initial review of video footage from a traffic camera on First Street with Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz, Cheney Police recommended that Gayton be charged with second degree assault and secondary charges for weapons prohibited in certain places and unlawful display of a weapon, according to Sgt. Rick Beghtol.

On May 11, Gayton was arrested after pulling a gun from his pocket when Cheney Police officers responded to a call at the Eagle’s Pub. Gayton only complied with the officers after being ordered to drop the gun multiple times, according to the report. The gun was unloaded.

Beghtol said that the case was originally handed over to Spokane Superior Court, but the case was dropped by the county prosecutor’s office before it reached court. “We [Cheney Police] were not happy about that,” he said.

Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney Steven Tucker said that he made the final decision to decline the referral of the second degree assault charge after he and his colleagues closely reviewed the arresting officers’ reports as well as the surveillance footage of the incident.

“We didn’t feel that an assault occurred,” said Tucker. “[Gayton] never actually pointed the gun at the officers.” Tucker added that Gayton’s extreme intoxication was also considered as a contributing factor to his slow reaction to the officers’ orders to drop the weapon.

Beghtol said that after the assault charges were dropped, the Cheney Police Department submitted the secondary charges to Cheney Prosecuting Attorney Julie McKay. They have heard nothing about it since then, according to Beghtol.

McKay said that the secondary charges have not yet been filed, but she is still in the process of determining the appropriate course of action.

Neither Spokane Superior or Cheney Municipal court has any open cases for Gayton, according to city and county clerk’s offices.