- Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office on Friday said the president of the state Board of Education will not be charged with assault stemming from an incident involving schools chief Diane Douglas during an August board meeting.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery made the decision not to charge Greg Miller after reviewing reports submitted by the Department of Public Safety. Montgomery said prosecutors needed to prove “the intent to insult, injure or provoke” and could not do so.

“After thoroughly reviewing the information provided by DPS investigators and carefully assessing the context within which these events took place, we have determined there is no reasonable likelihood of proving the required elements of an assault offense beyond a reasonable doubt,” Montgomery said in a statement.

Miller told detectives he may have inadvertently touched the superintendent’s arm while moving her microphone after she refused to stop speaking during a board meeting. Douglas filed a police reporting alleging she had been assaulted.

Miller said Friday that he was pleased Montgomery decided not to proceed with the case and that Douglas’ actions in filing the complaint were politically motivated.

“She was cut off, she was out of order, and her actions (in filing the complaint) were entirely political as far as I am concerned,” Miller said. “And I am really glad the county attorney’s office came to the right conclusion.”

Miller moved Douglas’ assigned seat at the board table away from his after the incident.

Douglas spokesman Charles Tack said she respects Montgomery’s decision, but she felt the need to document the incident because it was the second time Miller had touched her during a meeting.

“Really what we need to take away from this is that what happened in the board room was inappropriate,” Tack said. “It was behavior that was certainly not fitting of any board member, much less the president of a statewide board.”

Douglas has been at odds with the board since February and unsuccessfully sued to exert control over board staff. She tried to fire the board’s top executive and her deputy in February, then filed a lawsuit against Miller and board Executive Director Christine Thompson over who has the right to hire and fire board staff.

Douglas contended that she is in charge of board staff. But a judge ruled against her, saying the board oversees its staff.

The board and Douglas also are at odds over whether board investigators can remotely access teacher files in disciplinary matters. Douglas has refused to allow remote access since the board and its staff moved out of her building into their own office.

A lawsuit filed by the board seeking an order giving access is pending.

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