Port of Seattle commissioner arrested on suspicion of domestic violence

Ryan Calkins was booked into the King County jail Thursday morning and released Friday.

Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins was arrested early Thursday morning and booked into the King County Correctional Facility in downtown Seattle on suspicion of domestic violence assault.

Calkins spent just over 24 hours in custody before he was released late Friday morning. Charges have not been filed against him, although that could change.

Headshot of Matt Calkins
Ryan Calkins (Port of Seattle)

"We were not able to make contact with the victim this morning, so didn’t file charges at this time," said Dan Nolte, spokesperson for the Seattle City Attorney's Office. "We will wait to hear from her before determining the appropriate next steps."

Crosscut confirmed that the full name and birth date of the defendant, Ryan Andrew Calkins, match the information on Commissioner Calkins' 2017 declaration of candidacy for office. 

In a statement, Calkins told Crosscut, "This past Wednesday night police responded to a call from my home. After consideration of the facts, no charges were filed in this matter. The events leading up to this recent incident are deeply personal and complex, and I ask for privacy at this time for myself and my children."  

An official with the Seattle Police Department confirmed the department had arrested Calkins on Thursday morning.

His arrest comes a week after his wife, Erin Lindsay Calkins, was also booked into jail on suspicion of domestic violence assault and resisting arrest. She was released last week on $500 bail, according to county records. Nolte said the City Attorney's Office declined the case because the alleged victim did not wish to pursue charges. 

Calkins' prior history in Seattle Municipal Court includes traffic and parking violations.

Mike Merritt, chief of staff of the Port of Seattle, did not have an immediate comment on Calkins’ arrest and said it was the first time he had heard about it.

Calkins was elected to the port commission in 2017, unseating incumbent John Creighton for the job. Creighton had been marred by controversy surrounding his support for hosting a Shell oil rig and a lawsuit from two Port of Seattle employees accusing him of ousting them in favor of political friends. Calkins ran to the left of Creighton, positioning himself as stronger on the environment.

Before he was elected, Calkins, 43, owned an import business before working at a nonprofit to help low-income entrepreneurs.

He’s not up for re-election again until 2021.

Update (Oct. 29 at 9:40 am):

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Calkins provided Crosscut with the following statement, which he said was written by both Calkins and his wife, Lindsay:

"The events of this past week have been tragic for our ourselves, our children, and our friends and families. They are the result of an escalation of issues, some of which have been reported, and many which we would prefer to keep private. We both want to make clear that the two recent law enforcement actions—in which each of us was arrested under suspicion of domestic violence—were rooted in the tensions and stresses of the moment and in no way was anyone injured, physically or otherwise. In each case, police followed appropriate mandatory arrest protocol, but in each case following through with charges was not warranted; a time out to clear the air and gain perspective was essential. 

"Lindsay has been and is currently in treatment for a medical condition, and both Ryan and Lindsay are in counseling. Our top priority is to create a safe and happy home for our three children, who remain the center of both our lives and concern.  We know that because of Ryan’s public role there will be interest in our situation, which sadly is similar to many in our broader community and society. But we request privacy at this time.  Thank you for the support so many have shown both Ryan and Lindsay this past week."

Crosscut reporter Melissa Santos contributed reporting.

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About the Authors & Contributors

David Kroman

David Kroman

David Kroman is formerly a reporter at Crosscut, where he covered city politics.