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Friday, March 14, 2008

Woman Reports Mistreatment By King County Sheriff's Deputies

We received a rather disturbing email earlier this week from a single mother of two who told us her story of a very frightening encounter with King County Sheriff's deputies who had ransacked her house without a warrant despite her refusing them permission to search it, detained her when she insisted that they stop searching her home, drove her to an abandoned lot to intimidate her while she was partially dressed in the back of a cruiser in an attempt to garner a coerced confession... and then forced her to go to the hospital against her will after she didn't confess...

What crime did they allegedly try to intimidate this woman into confessing to?

They did all of this to her because they accused her of, get this, being a victim of domestic violence.

...and it doesn't end there, here is the first part of her story:

"The police came to my house and told me they received a call about a potential case of domestic violence and that they believed that I was the victim. I answered the door and told them nothing was wrong but they insisted that they needed to come in and search the house to make sure that nobody else was in there anyway. I was at home with my two kids and I told them there was nobody other than the kids in the house. The police came in anyway and after they determined there was nobody else in the house they decided to conduct a more "thorough" search instead of leaving.

During this second search I kept asking them to leave but they opened my pantry and saw what they must have thought was an entrance to an attic. One of the officers then started to bang on the wood that sealed the crawl space between the ceiling and the roof where the insulation of the house is, yelling that he saw my boyfriend up there and to come down so he wouldn’t have to hurt him. He actually ended up breaking it, as it was not really a door and couldn’t be opened.

Then they decided to go into my closet and into a zipped suitcase where they found some guns (the guns are legal and my boyfriend has a concealed weapons permit). By this time I was extremely angry and kept demanding that they leave since they were destroying things in my house and going through my room searching in places where a person couldn’t even hide.

In response to my demands that they stop searching my home they handcuffed me and put me in a police car parked in front of my house. I asked the officer if I was under arrest and he said no, I was being detained because I was getting in their way. I asked to talk to my kids, who were asking for me, and he said no.... all he kept saying was that he knew that my boyfriend had hit me and that I needed to tell them that. I repeatedly told them that what they were saying was not true. But every time I told them that he did not hit me, they just seemed to get angrier at me.

They then drove me to an elementary school parking lot well after midnight and asked me if I was ready to talk to them now. I told him he couldn’t just hold me there and that he needed to arrest or release me, he then told me, “I can do whatever I want.” The officer got out of the car and left me sitting in the back of the police car while he was talking and laughing with other officers that were there. I tried to get the attention of the other officers by banging on the window because I was really scared after that officer told me he could do whatever he wanted to do to me, especially since I was naked except for a t-shirt and robe.

What I didn’t realize is that the police had called and ambulance and I was forced, against my will, to go to the emergency room. They claimed that I needed to go to detox, which is really funny considering that this had been going on for well over an hour and they didn’t decide that I was that drunk until they wanted me out of the way, (not to mention that all they did at the hospital was keep me in the hallway strapped down to a stretcher)."


It doesn't end there, unfortunately for her, because the police were quite busy after they got this alleged victim of domestic violence out of the way...

"I finally got back home later that morning and discovered that, in my absence, they called out the swat team and busted holes in my ceiling and trashed my home. They tried to justify it by saying that they thought my boyfriend was hiding in the crawl space between the ceiling and roof, but my boyfriend wasn’t even there.

They ripped my bed apart throwing my mattresses all over my room, flipped my couches over and dumped out my dresser drawers.

They went through my kitchen trash, which they left dumped all over the bathroom floor, and kicked in my bathroom door which wasn’t even locked or closed.

They took my son’s cell phone from him and left it outside in the rain on the neighbor’s driveway, which I didn’t find it until the next morning.

They also took my house keys and car keys but never returned them. They later tried to claim that they gave my keys to the ambulance attendant, but when I called the ambulance company and the hospital they said they had no record of any keys being given to them that night."


Oh, but it doesn't end there... You know that complaint process for the King County Sheriff's department that's been getting good reviews... welll.... Maybe that review panel didn't check to see what complaints the department refused to document:


"After the incident I tried to obtain the police report for almost a week but they kept telling me that the Sergeant hadn’t approved it for release. I also tried to file a complaint with the internal investigations unit for the King County Sheriff’s office and spoke to a Sergeant who was rude and would not even document my complaint saying, “Since you received the paperwork to file a claim for the damages to your residence, what else was there to complain about?”"


Now, before someone comes along and says that the police tore apart this woman's house without her permission, detained her for obstructing an investigation for which she was the purported victim, intimidated her and her children in an attempt to illicit a coerced confession, and then forced her against her will to got to a hospital for which she was left with the bill for... all for this woman's own good...

I remind you that the woman insisted that she was not a victim of any crime. To suggest that such aggressive tactics that would normally be considered a violation of a criminal suspect's civil rights should be permissible for use against a possible victim of abuse is patently absurd, irregardless of whether or not she was the victim of any crime. Because if she had been abused, the actions of the police that night only served to further traumatize the victim of a crime, thus making them abusers as well... and if we apply the tenet of presumed innocence in this case, the police should have been forced to accept her insistence that she was not the victim of a crime.

In other words, to suggest that the police were somehow justified in traumatizing someone they suspected of being a victim of a crime is patently insane. But, more than that, if the police can use an excuse like this to violate search and seizure laws, detain people without just cause, use coercive interrogation practices on them, and involuntarily institutionalize them... essentially allow the officer to do as he or she pleases with you... all without consequences or proof that a crime even occurred violates every tenet of the US justice system and the constitution.

Then imagine how easy it will be for them to do things like this to you or me, all without fear of any repercussions.

We certainly hope that she and her family can at least recover their losses from the damage done to their home, even if the police refuse to help her recover from the abuse she may have suffered that night by investigating her complaints of police misconduct.

The person who reported this story has given us permission to publish her story, but because of our policy regarding the protection of identities for people who may have been mistreated in custody, we have removed any identifiable information in order to protect potential victims of abuse from any further abuses.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you start to publish some of the stories you receive. I guess I wish they weren't anonymous so the mainstream media could investigate, but then again as just a commenter I'm posting anonymously...

Packratt said...

Thank you for the comment.

If any MSM was interested in any story posted here they would be more than welcome to send us an email which we would more than happily forward on to the person who submitted it. It could then be up to the submitter whether to talk with reporters or not.

Also, for that matter, if anyone else wanted to contact the people we post about we would also forward any messages we received so long as they weren't abusive.

Nothing really unusual, this was generally the process that occurred when I was the subject of a story on the Washington Post.

Thank you for reading!

 
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