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Sunday, April 21, 2013

[WA] 10 years after Tacoma police chief David Brame's murder-suicide of wife Crystal Judson - Articles from the News Tribune


Blogger's note: The excerpts selected for this blog post are not intended to represent the articles, but rather meant to lead you TO the articles to read them for yourself.

THE CRIME THAT CHANGED TACOMA: 
10 YEARS AFTER: Looking back at former Tacoma police chief David Brame
News Tribune, Front Page, A1
Sean Robinson
April 21, 2013 
[Excerpts] ...What do you do when this particular boss falls apart?... But the scandal wasn’t about money or fraud or standard notions of public corruption... The boss was the one going crazy, but the boss also happened to be ruthless, and subordinates knew it. They couldn’t go over his head... Two weeks before the shootings, Crystal complained of intimidation and death threats by her husband... [Tacoma City Manager Ray] Corpuz declined to act...  Corpuz told him to focus on work. Days before the shooting, as word of Brame’s divorce and allegations of domestic abuse became public, Corpuz said the chief’s divorce was a civil matter, and declined to take action... Corpuz told The News Tribune he would not investigate the chief... As the news [of the shooting] spread across the city, police spokesman Jim Mattheis drove Corpuz to the crime scene... Mattheis recalled Corpuz asking a question: “Why would he do this?” [Full article  here

Photo Caption: Lane Judson, father of Crystal Judson who was murdered in a Gig Harbor store parking lot by former Tacoma Police Chief David Brame in April of 2003, helped create the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center which opened in 2006 to help victims of domestic violence and their children. (Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer)

FATHER OF CRYSTAL JUDSON TURNS TRAGEDY INTO FIGHT FOR DV VICTIMS: You’re not supposed to outlive your child...
News Tribune, A13
Sean Robinson
April 21, 2013
[Excerpts] ...Her husband fatally shot her, then himself. He was Tacoma’s police chief, David Brame – a powerful man who used his position and influence to protect himself from accusations of domestic violence. [Lane] Judson whispered a promise to his daughter that day in the hospital. He would do whatever he could to make sure the horror never happened again. He started a new career, and remade himself into a crusader. To anyone who will listen, he speaks about police officer-involved domestic violence and the need for law enforcement agencies to adopt policies to prevent it. He speaks to groups large and small, to people high and low. He’s written to governors, attorneys general, presidential candidates and members of Congress. He’s visited Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin, Idaho and New York, among other places. He’s spoken to law-enforcement agencies in Great Britain. He answers distraught emails from across the country. .. The department’s rewritten domestic-violence policy replaced a brief note in the police manual with a specific set of guidelines... Better than that, Judson said, was the state law, passed in 2004, that required every law-enforcement agency to develop a similar policy... “It’s something that never goes away, and you think about it,” he said. “Each day is just another day that you go through. We have good days and bad days just like everybody else does. Our goal, I think, was how to make something positive come out of a tragedy.” [Full article here]

PROMISES MADE, SOME PROMISES KEPT...
News Tribune, A14
Stacey Mulick
April 21, 2013
[Excerpts] ...Tacoma city leaders, police officials and community members proposed changes and made promises to ensure that nothing similar happened again in Tacoma... The city also made several promises to the family of Crystal Judson to settle a $75 million lawsuit in 2005... Several of the changes came within the first few months. Others were put in place within a year or two but still others lingered, unfilled. Over the years, The News Tribune has assembled the promises made and updated the public on which ones were kept and which were not. Below is the latest status report... DOMESTIC VIOLENCE REFORMS FULFILLED -- Open a city-county family justice center, also called a one-stop center... New federal law tying federal funding to domestic violence programs and procedures... Coordinate the Tacoma and Pierce County court systems... A public education campaign about domestic violence... Better services for domestic violence victims in Pierce County suburbs... NOT FULFILLED - A coordinated, city-county system to track domestic violence perpetrators after they get out of jail... PARTIALLY FULFILLED -- An independent reporting system for victims of domestic violence involving city employees... More domestic violence victim advocates in Tacoma... Install a plaque reading: “The Family Justice Center is dedicated to the memory of Crystal Judson and other victims of domestic violence. Crystal Judson was fatally shot on April 26, 2003, by her estranged husband, the Chief of Police of Tacoma”... Dedicate a page to Crystal Judson on the justice center’s website... CITY OF TACOMA REFORMS FULFILLED -- Investigate members of the police department and other city agencies suspected of violating administrative policies... ... Hire a city manager... The city will return all personal photographs, videotapes and other personal items from the Brame case to Crystal Judson’s family... Investigate all credible tips regarding public corruption in Tacoma and Pierce County... TACOMA POLICE REFORMS FULFILLED -- The city will continue to make reasonable efforts to implement the recommendations in a sweeping 2001 performance audit of the police department... The department will continue to make reasonable efforts at accreditation by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs... Annual performance evaluations for rank-and-file officers and commanders... Early-warning system to spot problem officers and intervene with counseling or training... The city will make reasonable efforts to “determine, establish and implement policies” on psychological screening of police recruits and fitness-for-duty evaluations of officers... Civilian oversight of the department... NOT FULFILLED -- Hire an outsider to run the police department...  [Full article here]

Photo caption: Crystal Judson Family Justice Center director Susan Adams visits with Lane Judson, father of Crystal Judson, who was killed in 2003 by Tacoma Police Chief David Brame. The center helps victims of domestic violence and their children. Nearly 12,000 clients, including more than 2,300 last year, have visited the center since it opened in 2005.  (Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer)

Photo caption: A child’s artwork offers thanks to staff members at Crystal Judson Family Justice Center. Director Susan Adams, at right, waves to a child whose mother sought protection from a domestic-violence abuser. The center tries to be a “one-stop shop” for those seeking help.  (Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer)

NO SHORTAGE OF CLIENTS FOR FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER...
News Tribune, A13
Adam Lynn
April 21, 2013
[Excerpts] ...Some people who work to provide services to domestic-violence survivors in the South Sound region say the center has filled an important niche since it opened in the wake of Judson’s death at the hands of her husband, Tacoma Police Chief David Brame. “It gives more choice,” said Miriam Barnett, chief executive officer of the YWCA Pierce County. Others say that detectives and deputy prosecutors working at the center discourages many people from using it, including women who’ve been battered by cops or others who have reasons to be leery of law enforcement. “Crystal Judson herself would not have sought help there,” said Mary Pontarolo, executive director of SafePlace Olympia, which provides services and shelter to domestic-violence victims. Susan Adams, the center’s director, brushed off that criticism. “We heard that from the beginning,” she said during a recent interview. “We are one door. The great thing is there are other ways to get service in our community”... The center opened in December 2005, 20 months after Judson was fatally shot by her estranged husband. Tacoma officials agreed to name the center after her as part of the settlement of a wrongful death suit brought by her family, which also received a $12 million payout... “The Brame situation” opened a lot of people’s eyes to the scourge of domestic violence and the need to provide services to survivors, said Karin White, deputy director of the YWCA Pierce County... She and Barnett said the ongoing conversation about domestic violence in Pierce County helped them convince donors of the need to expand the YWCA’s own 50-bed shelter in 2008. The organization bought and renovated a new building... Pontarolo of SafePlace Olympia fears the center and others like it popping up around the country discourage many people from seeking help... [Crystal] Judson’s father, Lane Judson, said he and his wife, Patty, support the center and its mission. “I guess you can’t please everyone,” he said. “If the Crystal Judson center saves just one person, they’ve done their job.”... [Full article here]

Photo caption: Past and present chiefs of the Tacoma Police Department are represented in “chiefs row” in a hallway of Tacoma police headquarters. The face of disgraced Chief David Brame is not there, replaced by the image of a badge. (Peter Haley, photographer)

LONG-TIME TACOMA POLICE CHIEF PUSHES REFORMS AT BATTERED DEPARTMENT
News Tribune, Page A14
Stacey Mulick, Sean Robinson, Alexis Krell and Adam Lynn
Published: April 21, 2013 
[Excerpts] At Tacoma police headquarters on South Pine Street, faces stare from a line of portraits along a wall... One picture has no face; only a police badge, filling the frame. A label gives the name of the mysterious figure: David A. Brame... The past decade has brought several reforms to the Police Department and a movement to make it a more professional, accountable agency. “It was an impetus for change,” said [current Tacoma Police Chief Don] Ramsdell... Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor is Ramsdell’s peer. He runs an agency of similar size and complexity... A decade later, the sheriff has grown to admire the chief, and meets with him regularly... [County Councilman Rick] Talbert said, communication between the Police Department and the City Council and public has improved in the past decade... Mayor Marilyn Strickland praises the chief for his efforts. “I think that Chief Ramsdell is absolutely dedicated to being very progressive and forward thinking,” Strickland said... She highlighted the department’s accreditation as an example of its progress. “It’s a very, very exhaustive process where they basically have to turn their organization inside and out and really see what they’re doing well and what they can work on,” Strickland said. “I think it’s commendable that they said it was something that they wanted to pursue”...  [Full article here]

ACCOUNTABILITY A BIG PART OF OUR WATCHDOG ROLE...
News Tribune
Karen Peterson; Executive Editor
Published: April 21, 2013 at 12:05 a.m. PDT — Updated: April 21, 2013 at 1:57 p.m. PDT
[Excerpts] ...Today’s front page begins a package of stories that bring back painful memories of another difficult time in our own community’s history - the David Brame shootings of a decade ago. In fact, some people may wish we had let the anniversary pass without notice... The last time we published it, in 2007, a number of items remained undone. After 10 years, we are taking another look... But the most prominent justification for writing again about the tragedy that befell a family and a community 10 years ago comes from between the lines of Sean Robinson’s story on Page One. A number of people around David Brame knew he was melting down and knew his wife was afraid for her life. No one stepped in to remove him from his position of power or to take away his gun... As Pierce County Councilman Rick Talbert, chairman of the Family Justice Center board of directors, says in our story today: We need to remember Crystal Judson...  [Full article here]



"TEN YEARS AGO, the city's top law enforcement officer became the city's worst criminal when he fatally shot his wife and then himself. Afterward, community leaders realized David Brame wasn't the only problem. Policies and attitudes had to change."

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1 comment:

  1. It seems that when David Brame killed himself after he shot his wife Crystal, who would die a week later, i think he deserved the way out.

    ReplyDelete

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