Thursday, January 30, 2014

Palmer Assault Story

For those who don't know, both of my parents were assaulted by a gang of teenagers in downtown Spokane. They were assaulted just outside of the Steam Plant restaurant on Lincoln and 2nd Ave, at approximately 7pm. They were nearly murdered; save for the quick response from Spokane Police Officer Reese. We are still thanking God for the Spokane Police, and for Officer Reese in particular.

We decided, despite all the hubub on the web created by local news stations, and the timely reporting of Kip at the Spokesman review, that our story needed to be told. We decided to hold a press release today, and our local stations were in attendance. My personal apologies for not contacting the Inlander about the event. If there is any way I can make it up to those fine folks, I will.

Because the news stations may not provide the entire press release, even on the internet, I have decided to post the manuscript that we used. We mostly followed it.

Our intent is to quit the finger pointing and other nonsense that happens in the wake of tragedy. Spokane doesn't need that kind of reaction. We want to put Spokane into two groups of people: those on the side of law, order, and peace; and those who prey upon the helpless.

My mission is therefore pastoral. And yes, I am calling all of us Spokanites into action. We would like to see three things happen.

First, we would like the Spokane City Council and Mayor's Office to craft a city ordinance which prohibits congregations of four or more unaccompanied minors downtown after dark. Help the police respond to these predators before they assault and murder.

Second, we would like the Spokane Police to educate the law abiding public as to our rights. I'm not talking about having the police just send out their talking points about using 911. We have been doing that for years, and it isn't solving the problem. The public has to be able to take action, and we want to know how to do that responsibly and lawfully.

Third, we ask for Spokane citizens to get involved. We need to take back our streets from these children who have no reservation about filling our own streets and alleys with blood.

Our prayer is that through unification, understanding, and love, our city will be able to handle a major problem. We will also be focusing our Sunday service at the Adopted Church on praying for our city, and for these lost kids who feed off of causing so much pain. We desire to see wholeness and healthiness restored.

The Manuscript:

(Told by me)Citizens of Spokane, we have a problem:

Teenage you are the law in downtown Spokane, and their agenda is bullying, vandalism, intimidation, terrorism, and murder. As a quick Google search on “Spokane teen violence” will show. There is no place for uncontrollable teenagers to go, but downtown.

When we go downtown, we are not sure how to respond to a group of teenage predators, and we are constantly in fear of what might happen when they target us, and our loved ones, while there are no consequences for them. Our judicial system has demonstrated an inability to deal with this reign of terror. Our concern is not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but also for those young adults who have no place to go in our society.

This is our story: (Told by my Mom)

Monday night, January 27th, my husband had a surprise for me. I had a really horrible day of pain You see, both of us have chronic disease, and we like to celebrate any good news we have. He wanted to tell me that Actemera, the drug that I am on for rheumatoid arthritis bas become a sub-cutaneous drug.

This is an important development for us, because now I don’t have to go to the clinic to get infused. This change represents a big change in a way of life for me.  We decided to go out and celebrate my newfound freedom in life.

We went to the Steam Plant to celebrate. We love the great food and drinks.

Our time together there was filled with discussion about God’s goodness and faithfulness to us. We just spent time talking about how good God has been in all the little details of our lives. We shared some steamers for an appetizer, had a good dark beer and then split the curry chicken entrĂ©e for our main course. It was hurried because I needed to get back home and in bed. But was good.

Palmer had parked along Lincoln street, and being a gentleman, went out to get the minivan to pick me up curbside. It was then that he ran into a group of teenagers as he recalls, maybe 15 of them. He felt apprehensive having to get down the stairs around all of them.

He got in our minivan and circled the block to pick me up. I got in and was putting on my seatbelt when we pulled in the alley. There the gang of teenage thugs was waiting for us. We waited for them to pass as they encircled the van. Once they cleared from the front of the minivan, we started to head home. The gang had a different idea.

Before we had moved a few feet, one of them slammed something against the rear of our minivan. I jumped. Palmer stopped. And I rolled down my window to see what was going on. A tall, skinny kid with big gauge earrings, a black jacket with yellow stripes down the arms, leaned into the window and screamed, “Bitch, You F*ing hit me!!”

I knew it was untrue, because I was looking in the side mirror as we were slowly pulling out. We were concerned that there had been damaged, so both Palmer and I stepped out of the minivan to make sure everything and everyone was alright. I closed the door and we both walked around the back. Palmer was on the driver side, and I on the passenger side. These thugs immediately pressed into us without fear or hesitation, daring us to defend ourselves. They had no respect or fear of the law or consequences. They were out for blood.

Then one of the thugs, a big angry young man, who appeared to be high on something, postured up, chest bumping, and pushed into my husband. He was in Palmer’s face shoving him into the back of the van, while Palmer was warning him to calm down and back off. I knew that something was perilously wrong and that something horrible was happening. This 6 foot, 2 inch 245 pound predator clenched his fist tight, and began assaulting my husband with a flood of punches. Palmer was desperately trying to protect himself from the blows. His immediate objective became to get in close, wrap him up, get him to the ground, holding him until the police arrived.

The 10-15 other assailants converged on my husband. They were darting in and out, yelling and cursing mercilessly punishing my husband, to get him to release his hold. I knew they were going to kill him. They were punching his face, the back of his head, and kicking his face and head. They seemed to come out of nowhere. All of them were in a frenzy, sucker punching him, while he held down the ringleader. Palmer’s blood was gushing all over the ground. There was so much blood.

I did everything that I could to keep them off of my husband, I remember grabbing a t-shirt and trying to haul one of them off of him, and putting myself between whoever seemed to be the biggest threat. It was terrifying. Please imagine yourselves in our position. A grandma and grandpa jumped by teen thugs for no reason. Nobody wanted to get involved with these underage criminals. It was as if everyone in Spokane knew that these teenagers abuse and murder whoever they want and it’s best to just leave them to it.

A giant teenager, who claimed to be the ringleader’s brother, came up from behind and started bashing Palmer’s head. I was horrified at how much of my husband’s blood was pouring from his face and head onto the pavement. I tried to intervene, but was thrown to the ground. He then stooped over my husband, looked him in the eye and told him, “I am going to count to three, if you don’t let go, I’m gonna kill you. By jumping on your back, grabbing your head, and snapping your neck.” He then proceeded to do just that. I was the only person who might be able to stop this young man from breaking my husband’s neck.

I got up and grabbed him by the shirt collar in the back, and started yanking for all I was worth. It wasn’t moving him at all. So I began kicking him in the back with my boot heel. I got in maybe 3-4 kicks before backed off a few steps. Teenagers were everywhere screaming and yelling all kinds of things. I was terrified. 

Palmer was still on the ground holding the ringleader. The thug who threatened him came back and yelled to us, “I’m going to count to three, if you don’t let him up, I am going to do something that will make you very, very sorry.” He began counting, stepped back a few steps, and began to reach both hands to his back waistband in the drawing position. My heart stopped. I knew this young man was about to kill my husband in downtown Spokane, with no other reason than pure range.

I leapt over my husband, and got up into this punks face. I could smell his breath, his greasy hair, and can remember his countenance twisted in range.

I said, “Over my dead body!!”

He screamed, “Bitch, you don’t F*ing know me!”

I was nose to nose with him, and said as calmly as possible, “You don’t know ME son! You have completely miscalculated me!”

At that moment another teen across the drive started yelling at me, “I’m gonna sue you bitch! I’m 16 and pregnant!” It was such an odd thing to say, I looked over towards her.

The young man who I was just confronted ran over to another teen and took his longboard. He ran back over to my husband screaming, “You’re killing my brother, your killing my brother!” He then raised the longboard up, and was about to strike my husband’s head. I yelled, “He’s just holding him, he’s just holding him.”

Just then, The Spokane Police arrived.

We want to thank the Spokane Police Department for saving our lives. Due to their quick action, there was not another murder on the news, committed by Spokane teens. I want to personally thank Officer Reese for stepping in when we were in the fight of our lives.

I have 23 kids, and 18 grandkids, and they still have a grandpa because of their quick action. We thank them.

(Read by my Dad)

We would like for this to be worth something. Our hope is that what we endured will actually be the start of something that will begin to take our streets back, so that nobody in the future has to endure what we endured. What happened to us wasn’t right. I’m convinced that there are things that can be done to begin to change the situation.

So we are hoping, in any way that we can, to get that started.

The only one who was charged that night was the one that I held on to. I risked my life, and my wife’s life making the decision that I did. I grabbed onto this guy and held on so that there would be some justice. There would only be victims lying on the street when the police arrived if I didn’t do what I did.

I have an amazingly tenacious and tough wife; who would not abandon me or cut and run. That’s why it turned out the way it did. I thank you, and I want to thank the police department.

As of yesterday, the charge against the thug that I held onto received a misdemeanor assault. Because he is a minor, this case has a good chance of being adjudicated in the juvenile court system. This means that within a short period of time, he will be back out on the streets, and back with his gang.
For those of you who don’t know, misdemeanor assault is defined as “unwanted touching.”

Thank you.

(Read by me)

I want to thank my parents for having the bravery that most of our citizens do not, who are tempted to shrink back into their private lives and not tell their stories. I want to thank the journalists for being faithful to be with the victims. We want to say to Spokane 3 things:

1. It is not unreasonable for us to pass a city ordinance for us to limit the gathering of unaccompanied minors after dark in downtown Spokane. I look forward to our city council and our mayor drafting, in short order, an ordinance that will make sense, and will allow the police to do something before people are assaulted and murdered. We know they are capable of that.

2. Our Spokane community is absolutely frightened, because we don’t know what to do when minors are the one’s assaulting us. I’m a pastor, and even in defense of my life, I don’t want to be on the 6 o’clock news with a headline that reads, “Pastor assaults child downtown.”

We are so confused as to what we can do. My parents didn’t physically assault anybody, except when my mother became physical in fear for my father’s life. We want the Spokane police to tell us what to do. Don’t tell us to call 911 and run away. We’ve been doing that for years and it doesn’t work. We want to police to train us.

3. We call on the citizens of Spokane, the leadership, the police department, to come together without bickering or fighting. This assault on my parents didn’t happen because someone wasn’t doing their job, or because somebody didn’t care. Spokane needs to band into two groups: law abiding citizens, and those predators who are preying on us. We need to come together and work together in every way.

We want to make sure that it is clearly communicated that we love our mayor, we love our police, we love our city council, and we believe that they are working hard for us. Spokane would you please get involved.

We can take back Spokane from children, who are running the streets now.

Thank you again. Let us close in prayer.

Holy Father, we appeal to You once again; that You would unite our hearts in love, that you would bring us together and that we would be able, by Your power, to allow love, unity, and forgiveness to reign in our city. Would You deliver these young people in so desperate need of rescue. Would You deliver us from these criminals who are killing us. Amen.

Again, thank you for coming.

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