Former Washougal Police Officer Robert Ritchie has been found guilty of fourth-degree assault.
The verdict was announced Wednesday afternoon by Clark County District Court Judge Sonya Langsdorf.
Ritchie’s sentence for the gross misdemeanor includes two days of electronic home confinement. He is on bench probation for two years. During that time, Ritchie is to have no new law violations or it could be a violation of his probation, according to Prosecutor Patrick Robinson.
Ritchie, 53, is also to have no contact with Tyler Lampman, the mentally ill man he was convicted of assaulting.
The incident involving Lampman, 26, occurred in July 2012, after Ritchie responded to a call involving Lampman and family members. After Lampman was arrested for domestic violence, he was handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol vehicle.
Ritchie stopped the patrol car after Lampman was causing a disturbance in the back seat. Court documents indicate an altercation occurred after Ritchie opened the back passenger door and Lampman spit on him.
During the non-jury, bench trial March 14, witnesses testified that Ritchie punched Lampman in the face with a closed fist more than one time.
Also during the trial, Lampman and his mother Linda testified that he had been previously diagnosed as schizophrenic.
Ritchie’s attorney, Jaime Goldberg, said he was “disappointed but understood” the verdict.
“Considering the decision, the sentence was fair,” he said. “The state’s position was ridiculous and robotic, and fortunately the judge didn’t agree with their position.
“They wanted formal probation, actual jail time, and a lot larger fine,” Goldberg added. “In the findings of fact, the judge agreed with Robert Ritchie’s version of the facts — that he threw two punches and not the many more that the witnesses testified about — but the judge found that this was enough for the assault 4 charge.”
Goldberg said it has not been determined yet if he will appeal.
Robinson said he had no comment on the verdict.
Ritchie was fired from the WPD after the incident. He had worked for the WPD for more than 28 years.
Ritchie served as a sergeant for seven years before he was demoted in March 2004. At that time, Police Chief Bob Garwood concluded that Ritchie acted legally but with poor judgment in the handling of an aggressive dog case that resulted in the use of a Taser on Russian immigrant Olga Rybak 12 times in 91 seconds.