Prosecutors in Nevada have rejected Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek’s pursuit of charges stemming from his physical altercation in June with a former FBI agent who promotes a view that Muslims are a widespread danger in U.S. society.
Stanek and John Guandolo clashed on June 28 in Reno at the Atlantis Resort and Casino during a National Sheriffs’ Association conference.
At Stanek’s request, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident as a case of misdemeanor battery and turned over its findings to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration of charges.
“The evidence just was not there” to charge Guandolo, district attorney spokeswoman Michelle Bays said Tuesday.
“There were conflicting statements, conflicts with the video [and] the audio” that captured the conflict.
The video came from casino surveillance cameras, while audio was provided by an associate of Guandolo’s, Bays said.
Fox 9 in the Twin Cities acquired the video and televised it Monday. It shows Guandolo throwing two punches — it appears the second one landed — at Stanek as the two met in the lobby with others seated with them.
In an interview with Fox 9, Guandolo said that Stanek “attacked my FBI career, my understanding of the threat, those kinds of things.”
Guandolo, of Dallas, added that Stanek “stepped into me and chest-bumped me, asked me who I thought he was, using profanity. I just pushed him away from me, and that’s when it turned into a scuffle.” Sheriff’s deputies arrived and pulled the two men apart.
In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office asserted that Stanek “was physically assaulted” but added that the office and the sheriff “do not comment on criminal investigations and charging decisions outside of our jurisdiction.”
Guandolo has not responded to the prosecution’s decision not to seek charges.
Later in the summer, a Hennepin County judge granted a restraining order against Guandolo on Stanek’s behalf. Stanek’s petition for the order claimed that Guandolo called Stanek a vulgar name and punched him in the face.