The mayor of Granite Falls was arrested at Sea-Tac Airport for possible domestic violence harassment after he got into a shouting match with his niece at the baggage claim area Monday night.
Haroon Saleem, 58, was booked into the Seattle Correctional Facility shortly before midnight and was released Tuesday afternoon. The judge ordered him not to contact his niece, who has accused him of threatening to harm her.
Port of Seattle police said the incident began at the airport's baggage claim about 8:15 p.m. Monday when people reported a man shouting at family members and threatening harm. The mayor was taken into custody at the scene.
Jail records indicate Saleem was booked at 11:54 p.m. for investigation of domestic violence harassment.
The mayor’s brother, Sheikh Salim, who was there at the time, was asked by reporters Tuesday who was to blame for the fight. “Who`s to blame? Well, my niece is to be blamed,” he said.
The mayor’s wife, Bushra Haroon, said the argument started over their 13-year-old daughter, Nida Haroon.
Bushra Haroon said Nida had traveled to Los Angeles with Saleem’s adult niece when the two got into an argument. “She (Nida) got panicked and called Dad and said, ‘They were mean to me.’ Saleem got upset,” the mayor’s wife said.
The mayor`s brother said that when Saleem went to pick up his daughter and niece at Sea-Tac Airport, the niece got physical after a verbal argument.
"That's when she pushed him, twice,” the mayor’s brother said. “I pulled my brother out and I pulled him and I told him, ‘Sit down a relax.’ ”
Bushra Haroon said, “Everybody saw over there at they airport – and they told police that she’s the one that started it. But they handcuffed Saleem and let that girl (the niece) go, and I’m really upset with the police.”
Saleem’s wife said it’s a family feud with a personal vendetta.
“She (the niece) wants him to go to jail and somehow she`s successful in that,” Bushra Haroon said.
Saleem, who has been mayor of Granite Falls since 2009 and is up for re-election in 2013, made headlines back May when he allegedly failed to pay $70,000 in rent for a restaurant he owned. That business was later shut down.
Granite Falls is a mining town at the base of Mount Pilchuck and has a listed population of 3,400.