SPOKANE, Wash. - City leader Phil Tyler, former NAACP president and an Air Force veteran, has fought for equality, spoken out against racism, and recently walked the path of the civil rights leaders with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
He was also the individual behind a powerful video, in which he joined other city leaders like Mayor David Condon, Police Chief Craig Meidl, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer, speaking out against sexual assault.
In that video he stated that "as men we can't stay silent." The video was released as the #metoo movement swept the nation.
That important message was diluted Thursday after the Inlander broke the story that Tyler's ex-wives were speaking out and bringing attention to nearly three decades worth of domestic violence accusations.
In court documents, his first wife accused Phil of having a history of violence, grabbing and pushing her and threatening to kill her.
His second wife echoed the first, who said in statements that Tyler had grabbed her by the neck and tried to slam her head into the wall, before taking her outside and threatening to "do an OJ" to her.
That wife's parents also wrote in the document that Tyler had become so physically abusive, their daughter would leave home and spend nights at a friend's house so she would be safe.
His third ex-wife also told the Inlander she had spoken about his temper in divorce proceedings.
Following the Inlander's publishing of the article, Tyler and his current wife responded to the article and allegations on Tyler's Facebook page in a video.
Tyler denied physical violence and noted he hadn't ever been charged. He acknowledged however that his past relationships were toxic.
"We aren't saying this is all made up, and I will not call another woman a liar," said his current wife Meg Demand. "Each of us have our own story. What I am concerned about is trying this in the court of public opinion."
"I can't go back and change the behavior twenty and thirty years in my past, but I can acknowledge and apologize for my verbal abusive behavior and move forward and do better," said Tyler.
He told KXLY that he found the release of the article suspiciously timed given his recent return from his civil rights pilgrimage with McMorris Rodgers. He says he hopes to continue the good work he does for the city of Spokane.
KXLY reached out to the Congresswoman's office and her spokesman responded that she was unaware of the allegations. Officials at Gonzaga University where Tyler is employed as a security officer said their policy is not to discuss employee matters.
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