Former city councilman Bill Knobloch obtained a restraining order against former council candidate Robert Dashiell after the pair scuffled at last night’s emotionally-charged council meeting.
Knobloch is considering filing formal assault charges against Dashiell, who has twice run for council. The pair have never run against each other but say they dislike each other passionately. They are sharply divided over City Manager Brenda Bauer, who was fired just before the fight broke out.
Dashiell said he was served with Knobloch’s restraining order at around 11 a.m. today. He vowed to file his own restraining order against Knobloch tomorrow.
“We’re both former Navy commanders; we both have egos; we don’t like each other,” Dashiell said. “That’s what it comes down to.”
Knobloch, who declined to discuss the fight on Wednesday, said today that Dashiell blocked his exit from the council chamber and then punched him in the jaw.
“He sucker punched me,” Knobloch said. “I said ‘don’t try that again,’ and then he went at me with both hands up and pushed me.”
Dashiell denies punching Knobloch. He said it was Knobloch who made the first move.
“I said to Bill Knobloch ‘you finally got what you wanted,’ and he said something like ‘I almost got what I wanted, a**hole’ and pushed his finger under my chin,” Dashiell said on Wednesday night, shortly after police were called to City Hall. Dashiell says Knobloch pushed his finger upward, forcing Dashiell’s head back. In response, he shoved Knobloch, who fell over a table near the chamber’s exit.
Former councilwoman Debbie Vann was knocked to the floor during the scuffle.
Police made no arrests on Wednesday and advised the men to stay at least five feet apart.
Knobloch and Dashiell said they made a “gentleman’s agreement” not to make a big deal of the fight.
But Knobloch says Dashiell broke the agreement when he detailed the fight to me last night. After reading Dashiell’s account in the Bainbridge Conversation, Knobloch decided to seek a restraining order.
“He’s always been after me,” he said, referring to Dashiell’s frequent criticisms of him in online newspaper and blog comment sections.
The restraining order means Dashiell must stay 500 feet away from Knobloch.
“That means we can’t be at (city) meetings together, and if I’m at the grocery store and he comes in, then I have to leave,” Dashiell said.
Dashiell said he won’t seek charges against Knobloch. That is, unless Knobloch seeks charges against him.
“It’s tit for tat,” he said.