NAACP asks police to clear records in 3 cases
The King County chapter of the NAACP called on the Seattle Police Department to expunge the records of three African Americans who the organization...
Seattle Times staff reporter
The King County chapter of the NAACP called on the Seattle Police Department to expunge the records of three African Americans who the organization says were wrongly arrested due to a "separate system of justice for people of color and the poor" in the city.
James Bible, the president of the local chapter of the NAACP, held a news conference Monday in the lobby of Seattle City Hall along with the three individuals and their supporters.
Bible said the cases of Rajnii Eddins, Michael Brooks and Anjonet Hill — none of whom had criminal records — illustrate a pattern of bias and mistreatment by the Police Department of people based on their race and neighborhood.
Police said all three of the cases are being investigated by the department's Office of Professional Accountability (OPA). But a statement from the department said, "The Department will not comment on open cases in order to maintain the integrity of the investigations."
Eddins, 26, was arrested last week and charged with obstruction after he tried to ask officers why they were arresting a 15-year-old girl near Rainier Beach High School.
Bible said that Eddins, a poet who was working with students on a play, was merely trying to find out why the girl was being arrested so he could inform the girl's parents.
"What he received was, 'Sir, be quiet,' and then 'Check him for drugs, check him for weapons,' " Bible said.
"The NAACP has no choice but to demand that charges against Rajnii Eddins be dropped and his record cleared," Bible said.
Eddins pleaded not guilty to the obstruction charges and is to appear in King County Superior Court on May 29, according to his attorney, Danielle Brown Anderson.
Eddins has filed a complaint with the OPA.
Brooks, 61, also has filed a complaint with the OPA over his arrest on Capitol Hill last month.
Brooks said he was picked up after he left the computer lab at Seattle Central Community College on suspicion of attempted rape and attempted assault. He spent 72 hours in the King County Jail but was released with no charges filed.
Brooks was unable to contact the restaurant where he works as a dishwasher while he was detained and nearly lost his job.
Hill, 23, was arrested in Pioneer Square when, according to Bible, two of her friends got into a dispute and police arrived to break it up.
Bible said that Hill said something to one of the officers who then hit her, knocked her to the ground then gave her a full-body pat-down that Hill felt was "wholly inappropriate," Bible said.
Hill's jaw was dislocated during the arrest, and she was sent to Harborview Medical Center for medical attention and then released, with no charges filed.
In a statement Monday, the Seattle Police Department said it "has a longstanding commitment to accountability. Our record of oversight is second to none."
David Bowermaster: 206-464-2724 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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