Melina Harris, a professional, union carpenter who lives in Kent, Washington, had a get-together with friends at her house on October 29th, 2011 Two officers were called to the house in regard to a noise complaint and as Melina explains below, the situation immediately turned violent as she tells here:
The photos you see (see at the very bottom), are of me moments after a short minor noise complaint call, I spoke to the older officer and refused to speak to the younger officer, as he was hyper aggressive and threatening.
I and the older officer concluded that just shutting the windows would suffice. That as well as turning down the stereo had already been done, as guests had noticed the police and I talking in the yard.
The older officer told the younger cop, “We are done here” and turned to leave and walked to his car, I turned and walked quickly toward the front door, before I made it, the younger cop, stepped into my path, accosted me with his flash light and then assaulted me, hitting me hard enough to leave a hole in my face 3/4". The older officer could not and did not see the assault, as he had made if far enough down the drive, and with the slope, trees and a car parked in the way, his view was blocked. He came back up the drive in answer to a yell, (my scream for help) . To find me on the ground with the young officer straddling me.
"Reality sucks that King County Washington is actually one of the worst in the nation for protecting bad cops."
Worse, in an effort to cover their tracks, as Melina mentions above, officers will all too often rationalize or belittle the damage done to not only justice, but to the victim's life. As if the assault itself didn't do enough damage, the victim must also face the bizarro world possibility of the cops claiming that the victim made an assault, or threatened them in some imagined way. This leaves the victim to defend themselves up against a group that has already established authority within the system; oftentimes cops that know the local prosecutors and judges and often have mutual respect for each other. Judges and prosecutors will most often believe those they know and trust, no matter how outrageous the claims or the evidence to support them (in this case the pictures that Melina had of her injuries).
Melina adds, "I was also asked to try to take the civil case for the assault and maiming, and resulting medical costs, as far as I can. Truth being, I cannot address that until the criminal case has been dealt with. I will be lucky to do so before the statute of limitations runs out. The appeal will likely take 2 years to come around."
In the interest of further drawing attention to the issue of police brutality, Melina suggests that people write to the Department of Justice Civil Rights, pointing up the need for a more thorough investigation into the Kent, Washington police department.
"It need not be fancy, Melina says, "it need not be long, but it will take hundreds to rattle cages to expand and up the priority of the subject of Police Brutality. Just make sure it’s from the heart, and that you add your name and mailing address. Please feel welcome to add your title, trade, local, etc. If you have a story of police brutality or misconduct, please share it in the letter."
Melina would like those who write a letter to send her a copy that she can archive for her hearing and appeal and she requests also that people cross-copy their letters to each of the different politicians and state and federal agencies responsible for over seeing and handling police abuse of authority and power. "One bad cop can seriously screw up thousands of lives in his career. So stand I have and this is what that means and what it takes. None of this has been pleasant. I am still stuck with the fact I was maimed that evening."
"If you could copy and paste your letter on the event page to share with others to use as an example, it would be helpful. Some are better than others at letter writing, and seeing examples helps much."
Melina Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Suzette Cooke, email@example.com
Kent City Council, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Daniels, email@example.com
Christine Clarridge, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas at, KThomas@kentwa.gov
Kent Internal Investigations, Patrick Lowery, email@example.com
Public Defender Kristen Gestaut , Kristen.Gestaut@acapd.org
Washington State Clemency and Pardons Board, CPBoard@atg.wa.gov
WW DOJ Civil Rights, Special.Litigation@usdoj.gov
Governor Christine Gregoire Fax: (360) 753-4110
Cover letter for Pardon Petition
Tradeswomen are still at 2%, the same numbers they were at in 1978, when President Carter gave the executive order to address the issue.