Reporting from Washington — Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, arrested this month on suspicion of killing 16 Afghan civilians, nine of them children, was prosecuted 10 years ago for assaulting a security guard at a Tacoma, Wash., casino, according to recently obtained court records.
The charges, filed in local court there, were dismissed after Bales attended 20 hours of anger management courses.
Bales' Seattle-based lawyer in the Afghanistan case, John Henry Browne, has said that the assault -- which occurred before Bales was married -- arose out of a disagreement with a woman.
But records from Tacoma Municipal Court show that Bales was charged with “criminal assault” for “intentionally” harming the guard, identified as Joe G. Hanna, at the Silver Dollar Casino.
The incident occurred about 1 a.m. on July 14, 2002, when Bales, drinking at the casino bar, threatened another customer. Asked to leave, Bales refused. Escorted outside, he attacked the guard with a garbage can lid and struck him in the chest with his fist, records show.