Ford suspends mayoral campaign

Washougal candidate arrested on suspicion of domestic violence

Derik Ford has dropped out of the Washougal mayoral race after being arrested earlier this month on suspicion of domestic violence.

“I am suspending my campaign to work on the most important thing, which is my marriage,” Ford wrote in an email to the Post-Record.

Ford pleaded not guilty in Clark County District Court on Sept. 17.

Washougal Police Department officers went to Ford’s home on the night of Sept. 15 following a report of an assault. After recognizing the Washougal business owner as one of two candidates vying to be the city’s mayor in the November general election, Washougal police asked Camas officers to take over to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Camas officers interviewed Ford’s wife, who told Camas police officers they had been drinking with friends earlier that day and that when they returned home later that night, they began to argue about her father, who recently had a stroke.

“(Ford’s wife) said the topic was a source of stress for her lately,” Camas officer Elliott Sundby wrote in an incident report obtained by the Post-Record. “(She) went on to say it seemed like Derik was trying to start an argument with her.”

Ford’s wife said he yelled at her, threw her across the room and “choked” her, but that her ability to breathe was never restricted and she didn’t lose consciousness. She said he used one hand to grab her neck and push her down and that she bit Ford’s left arm “in effort to get him to stop grabbing her.”

She also told the officers that he made threats to “make her life miserable,” started hitting himself and eventually left the residence, according to the report.

“I had (her) remove her facial mask and observed redness and some scratches on her neck,” Sundby wrote. “(She) did not report any other injuries.”

Ford’s wife said told officers that she has received “ongoing” abuse from him during their three-and-a-half-year marriage, but never previously reported it to police.

“(She) also showed me text messages from Derik after the incident where he said he was sorry it ended this way and he would get his stuff out tomorrow,” Sundby wrote.

Camas officers eventually found Ford at his restaurant, 2 Rivers Bar and Grill in downtown Washougal. He told them he had an argument with his wife about her father and left the residence.

“I asked Derik if anything was damaged in the home and he said ‘No’,” Sundby wrote. “I asked Derik if anyone was assaulted and he said, ‘No.’ Derik described the incident as ‘high-heated’ and confrontational but denied any assault. I told Derik I observed some marks on Michelle’s neck and he denied there was an assault.”

Camas police officer Brett Robison noticed what appeared to be a bite mark on Ford’s left arm, “which corroborated (his wife’s) statement,” Sundby wrote.

The officers arrested Ford based on “(his wife’s) statements, apparent injuries and Derik’s inconsistent statements” and booked him into the Clark County jail on one count of fourth-degree domestic violence.

“While placing Derik in a patrol car, Derik reported (his wife) actually hit him in the face during the argument,” Sundby wrote. “I did not notice any marks consistent with his statement.”

Ford has received criticism from local residents about his controversial past, which includes being fired from an Oregon police department, sexual assault charges against his massage employees, domestic violence allegations brought against him by one of his former wives and a restraining order violation.

Ford finished in second place in August’s primary election, beating out longtime Washougal City Councilman Paul Greenlee for a chance to compete against the top vote-getter, Rochelle Ramos, in the Nov. 2 general election.