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Thursday, April 24, 2008

[WA] Saturday it will be 5 years since Chief Brame shot Crystal and himself

Crystal Judson Brame was fatally shot in the head by her estranged husband - Tacoma Police Chief David Brame - on April 26th, 2003 in a shopping center parking lot. Chief Brame then turned the weapon to his own head. From only yards away, their young children came running to this unimaginably horrific scene screaming for someone to help their mother. Chief Brame died that day, and Crystal died a week later. It would have been tragic enough if no one had known the dangers Crystal faced or of the Chief's disintegrating mental condition. What caught the attention though of national and international media was that too many people in the city government and the police department knew of Crystal's fatal fears and/or of Chief Brame's mental decline during the divorce process. None offered Crystal help, support, or options for safety - only silence & hindrances. It was announced by the Mayor and City Manager when Crystal's "allegations" became public, that there would be no investigation of Chief Brame - that he was doing a "stellar" job and that his divorce was a "private matter." No one insured that the Chief got the help he needed - though in hindsight there were several opportunities for intervention. This could have happened anywhere. Without a specific officer-involved domestic violence policy to guide them, police brass covered for his behaviors, said they believed his version of events (despite their own seasoned domestic violence knowledge & trainings), and sadly a few even helped him spy on and stalk Crystal. Likely Brame's top dog position was an influence on some of their disastrous choices. This tragedy was a tidal wave on every level. You can read about that *here*.

Much has been accomplished since then, by t
oo many people to name, working in collaboration or parallel one another towards effective policies and procedures.

Just some of the accomplishments:

Tacoma Washington's new officer-involved domestic violence policy.

The State of Washington's new officer-involved domestic violence law

The Crystal Judson Family Justice Center

New Federal legislation: The Crystal Judson Brame Domestic Violence Protocol Program

Washington lawmaker's open letter, "Invitation To All States"

There is also much yet to do. The less official and no longer discussed area of change cried out for after the shootings - but still unaddressed - is,

Where can victims like Crystal go for help?

That's a HUGE oversight, but we can still fix it.

1 comment:

  1. In News Tribune Country, we pay attention to language
    Published: April 27th, 2008 01:00 AM


    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 keep calendars in the newsroom to remind us of the anniversaries of momentous local events. Things like the eruption of Mount St. Helens, or – this year – the 125th anniversary of the founding of the daily papers that became, over the years, The News Tribune.

    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 (another 66 refer to Crystal Judson).

    Of course, there’s some overlap, and we did stories about David Brame before he shot and killed his wife. But 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.

    We still covered the related news. There was a fundraising barbecue Friday for the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center. There was a candlelight vigil for Crystal on Saturday.

    We decided to otherwise let everyone rest in peace this weekend.



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