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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Copy Cat Cops Revisited

A while ago I posted about how Bainbridge Island cops were being sued by a lawyer who was manhandled by a cop for giving her husband legal advice over, what ultimately boiled down, to nothing more than a speeding ticket. While it wasn't a Seattle story per se, it tied in with a Seattle story of a woman having her face broken by a Seattle cop for giving a friend legal advice.

...but this led to some rather strange coincidences.

First, I didn't notice when I wrote the piece, but the lawyers in question are actually listed in our miconduct lawyer links section. I've never talked to them, but they were listed on the internet as civil rights lawyers specializing in police misconduct cases so there they are. For those that tell me that critics are less likely to face retaliation for making complaints of police brutality, I guess it appears that not even lawyers are safe from police retaliation here.

But, more than this, somebody posted a link to this site from the Kitsap Sun's website where, apparently, they published a disengenuous article about the incident where they never talked to the woman who was abused nor her attorneys, but comletely took the police department's side of the story. What resulted was the paper falsely stating that her husband had been charged with drunk driving, reckless driving, and speeding and that the woman was also drunk... When the facts were that the only charge that the prosecutor could find evidence to support was speeding and that the two were never tested for nor charged with a drinking related offense.

More than this... The chief of that department is quoted as saying, in the 20 year veteran officer's defense, that he "has incurred no other complaints in at least a year"! If that's not a glowing recommendation... well, never mind, it isn't.

So these lawyers, both without any criminal records and otherwise known as upstanding members of the community, are being villified in the press by police on behalf of an officer who "hasn't had an incident of reported misconduct in at least a year" and who now stands accused of physically assaulting and sexually touching a female lawyer who did nothing more than try to give her husband, who did nothing more than speed, legal advice.

This is what ultimately happens, both here and everywhere else... The people victimized by police who abuse their authority are stuck with legal defense bills, are humiliated and dehumanized by the justice system, and even when declared innocent they are put on trial again by the media and villified again by the same officers and police department that abused them in the first place... and ultimately left without a voice with which to defend themselves against this kind of vicious and brutal assault that can destroy their reputations and their lives.

Something smells fishy on that island... But unfortunately it's nothing new, these cops are using the same tactics they use here and everywhere else that police abuse is condoned. I wish the couple all the best.

UPDATE: Just checked through the original blog I cited for the original story and they definitely beat me to the punch about this story by days and in a much better post than what I put up... Credit where credit is due, and it's due for the Bainbridge Notebook blog.


Anonymous said...

Sadly since the lawyer specializes in police misconduct it looks like she's not being given a fair shake. The complaints on the other blog seem to imply that she provoked the police into molesting her and abusing her to the point of a needing a hospital visit, all for the sake of filing a lawsuit.

Really? As if a lawyer would take a risk like that to turn a quick buck. I don't understand how the public has this public perception of the police as magical do-gooders. Has everyone forgotten about the L.A. riots already? Or heck, Timothy Thomas in 2001.

I can't recall a modern US riot that wasn't ignited by police misconduct. Meanwhile, I can't think of a riot that was started by the misconduct of any other type of civil servant, like a sanitation worker or fireman.

Paul Schell's inability to handle SPD misconduct helped Mayor Nickels get into office. Will Nickel's failure to hold the SPD accountable help bring a new mayor to town?

Packratt said...

Thank you for contributing and your points are very valid. Indeed, these are lawyers and it would seem beyond reason that they would need to fabricate an incidence of misconduct for a "quick buck". I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but lawyers make a good bit more money than most other professions.

It just amazes me in this case that nobody sees an obvious motive here, a police officer trying to get even with lawyers who represent people harmed by police misconduct.

Indeed too, when was the last riot caused by a lawyer... other than ones who cover up the truth to defend police misconduct. Which, if memory serves correctly, was the cause of the King riots. It wasn't necessarily the incident itself, but the added insult of the trial that got the cops exonerated for the beating.

That is the true injustice that sparks riots, it's not the initial injustice of the misconduct itself... It's that there isn't the same consequences. That polcie are somehow worthy of more rights than the rest of us with less responsibility and less oversight. We go to jail for doing such things, at the worst they face an early retirement with their pension intact.

It's that even after the initial injustice of the wrong done by a corrupt officer that the officer can continue punishing his victims by smearing their names without fear of real repricussion... and laugh when the public demands justice and accountability.

That is the kind of injustice that sparks riots, and destroys the career of many a politician... it's the kind of injustice that is still occuring in Seattle today.

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