Municipal Judge Bart Fite was arrested on Friday on a complaint of domestic assault and battery after his wife showed up at the police station asking for a restraining order after an argument.
His wife, Margie Fite, however, says the whole thing is a massive understanding.
“Bart has always told me that the police are our friends, so if I ever need something, go to the police, go to the police,” she said this afternoon. On Friday, the couple were arguing, and in the heat of the argument, Bart Fite said something akin to “That’s it; we’re getting a divorce. You’ll be served with papers first thing in the morning,” Margie said. “I panicked, and the only thing I could think of was I was going to be out on the streets over the holiday weekend. I didn’t know what to do.”
Going to the police station, she said, was her attempt to try to force Bart to not kick her out of the house. Looking for an injunction to make sure that happened was what caused all the trouble.
“I didn’t use the word ‘injunction,' I used ‘restraining order,' which I thought was the same thing,” she said. “When they saw I had a bruise on my elbow, they said they had to arrest him. I begged them not to arrest him. I told them he never hit me or laid a finger on me.”
Police are required by law to arrest a domestic partner when there are signs that might be consistent with abuse, said Lincoln Anderson with the police department even if the alleged victim in the case doesn’t want them to make the arrest.
“I regret threatening divorce,” Bart Fite said. “I don’t want a divorce and I didn’t when I said it. I love her.”
Margie Fite said the same thing: “I’m not afraid of Bart,” she said. “He’s never hit me or laid a hand on me. The only thing I’m afraid of is not being married to him.”
For now, the couple hope the arrest doesn’t lead to criminal charges, especially since they say it was all a horrible misunderstanding.
“It is all just a blur,” Margie Fite said of her trip to the police department. “I’m not sure what I wrote in the report I really don’t remember even writing it. I was just panicked. But I do know I asked them over and over to not arrest him, because he never hit me or hurt me.”
Bart Fite is a private attorney who spends several hours a week in traffic court.
“All we want is a long life together,” she said. “That’s what we’re both looking forward to.”