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Monday, April 28, 2008

[WA] 1000 stories are not enough to help victims of cop dv

LOOKING FOR A BRAME STORY?
DAVID ZEECK; THE NEWS TRIBUNE
Published: April 27th, 2008 01:00 AM
[Excerpts] Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of the day Tacoma Police Chief David Brame fatally wounded his wife, Crystal Judson Brame, and then shot and killed himself... We asked ourselves, looking back at the shootings, how we wanted to mark that date. I think it's the most-covered story in my 14 years at the TNT. Our archive shows 972 stories with the name David Brame in them. There are 391 that mention Crystal Brame... however one measures it, that's a lot of stories. Maybe that's enough. Karen Peterson, the managing editor; Randy McCarthy, our crime, courts and breaking-news editor; and I decided not to go out of our way to revisit that day or those events... [Full article here]

Once Crystal and David were gone, Tacoma was in shock. The mantra amongst us all that rose above all else, was that we could never let what happened to Crystal happen again. It wasn't the fatal shot as much as the complete abandonment she suffered in her time of greatest, knowing fear. It wasn't only that she had been murdered, but as the story quickly unfolded it appeared to ordinary citizens like myself that she didn't matter to any of the people who potentially had the power to help her. Crystal wasn't one of the victims that resigns to dying. She wanted to live.

I'm told that Tacoma's Mayor Bill Baarsma wept on the desk of someone he trusted and was pointed to Attorney Debra Hannula as the one to annoint with the task of forming a committee that would work towards making sure no victims relived Crystal's lonely, terrified, & officially unprotected fate. Hannula was to be Moses for the victims in the shadows afraid to approach traditional domestic violence services. Mayor Baarsma decreed that a road to legislation would be sought that could give "special protections" for officer-involved domestic violence victims. Hannula said that government needs to make sure that “other Crystals will be heard and will be protected.” According to news reports, she was "looking for safe ways that police spouses can report abuse and get help."

She said the question to answer was,
“HOW DO YOU PROTECT SOMEONE LIKE CRYSTAL BRAME?”

Our current Governor Christine Gregoire , was then our Attorney General, and said in a way that you belived her:
“...THE REAL POINT OF THIS INVESTIGATION IS THAT AN INNOCENT LIFE WAS LOST WITH THE MURDER OF CRYSTAL BRAME. WE NEED TO FIND OUT WHY AND MAKE SURE THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN...”

The News Tribune's Lisa Kremer wrote in one of her 2003 articles,
"WIVES OF POLICE OFFICERS NEED TO BE ABLE TO REPORT ABUSE AND HAVE IT INVESTIGATED BY AN INDEPENDENT AGENCY."

Beyond Brame: Reform report card
The News Tribune
February 2nd, 2004
...REFORM OR PROMISE - An independent reporting system for victims of domestic violence involving city employees.
WHO WANTED IT - Tacoma residents, Tacoma City Council-created committee and Crystal
Brame’s family
BACKGROUND - Victims of police-perpetrated domestic violence say they don’t feel safe reporting abuse to 911 or other traditional channels such as domestic violence hot lines, because they believe they are staffed by their abusers’ friends. Domestic violence experts suggested creating a secure hot line for not only police spouses and partners, but also partners of any city employee. They reasoned that victims in relationships with people in power would have similar concerns.
CURRENT ACTION - None. A hot line for city employees is not part of any plan currently being studied.
STATUS - Unfulfilled...

Reform Report Card
The News Tribune
April 25, 2004
...REFORM OR PROMISE: An independent reporting system for victims of domestic violence involving city employees...
STATUS: No progress on hot line...

Reform report card
The News Tribune
December 26, 2004
...REFORM OR PROMISE: An independent reporting system for victims of domestic violence involving city employees..
STATUS: No progress on hot line...

Community activist Will Baker came before the televised city council meeting with a warning to citizens that the Mayor was only appointing a committee as a strategy to divert attention away from the sins of the city - that the mayor had written a thesis paper on how that is done while in college. I can't judge another man's heart, but what I do know is that it did distract during a crucial time, and that nothing was ever done towards the original outcry or stated purpose of his committee. It "morphed" into something else.

It can still be made right. I don't want to see the goal as failed, just delayed.

This is maybe the only piece where I haven't ALSO counted up a list of the ACCOMPLISHMENTS achieved, accomplishments both small and mighty. Like Mr. Zeeck, there are some things at the 5th-year point that make me weary too. Graciousness is one of them.

I have some things it's time to share that I'll be adding to the comment section over at least some days.

Stay safe, be kind, and let others know how much they matter to you. [rant police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence ipv abuse law enforcement public safety lethal fatality fatalities murder washington state victims politics]

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