Lawless In Seattle
With all the talk about Hip Hop Cops following and framing our favorite rappers, its easy to forget that the most dangerous task force are the Anti-Hip Hop Cops.
For example, look at Seattle, Washington. Now, most of us only remember Seattle as the city that Sir Mix-A-Lot calls home and the birthplace of Grunge music. While some you may remember it as the city that had an unspoken 5-year ban on Ice Cube concerts in the early and mid-90's where local police refused to provide security for his shows, thus making the concerts null and void.
Well, over the last year or so Seattle is becoming known as a place synonymous with police harassment and brutality, with its latest instance directly effecting the Hip Hop community.
Last year, Seattle Hip Hop icon, DJ and Rock Steady Crew member Toby Christian a.k.a. DV One was attacked by the police. The incident happened when Christian was going to pick up his daughter from a football game, only to see that she was being detained by police officers. As any concerned parent would do, he ran over to see what was going on. Evidently his daughter was being detained for not following officers demands to get out of the street, blocking traffic.
When DV got there, he was met by a female police officer, Daina Boggs, who blocked him from his daughter who at this point was pinned against a cop car with her arm behind her back.
According to DV's personal account:
He identified himself as the child's parent and Boggs replied "So what?" After that she pulled a flashlight out on him and he backed away with his arms up. Boggs, for whatever reason, feels threatened and calls for back up. More officers approach DV One who has turned his back to avoid being shot or attacked (so he thought) and is slammed to the ground and kicked numerous times in the head and body until he was swollen and bruised. He is then tased twice, beaten more and then handcuffed and told he would have his arm broken "for hitting a female police officer." After that, the police officers stand over him, search him and then take he and his daughter into custody amidst threats like "how you liked being tased-did it fell good?" and "this is going to be another felony on your record and you're going to prison now, boy." [The officer is apparently referring to this.]
Boggs, the female officer, maintains that: DV rushed her, hit her in the face, pushed her backwards and they both ended up on the ground in a tussle. At this point she claims that DV put her in a bear hug as she radioed for help. Its at this point that the other officers showed up and proceeded to do what they do best.
Now, I believe that there are 3 sides to every story. This side, that side and the truth. I wasn't there to see it go down, but I want to go ahead and assume that DV didn't so something as foolish as to actually put his hands on a cop.
But the fact does remain that regardless of what he did, he was assaulted by cops using excessive force and then charged with Thrid-Degree assault! Yes, he, the guy that was beatdown was charged with Third-Degree assault. Of course, DV pleaded not guilty.
After months of pushed back trial dates (because the officers involved either refused or were not available to testify) the case finally hit the courts two weeks ago. DV was found guilty last Friday and faces 5 years in prison.
There is more than meets the eye in this case though. One, DV's lawyer was fighting another battle in trying to get a balanced jury to try the case. She argued that since felons are not allowed to sit on juries, their was a disproportionate number of African-American disqualified from being jurors in the case. The jury make up was also affected by the number of people who weren't qualified because of unpaid court fines. The end result was a jury that was made up of 9 Whites and 3 non-Whites. None of them African-American.
In addition to that, the jurors in the case have even second guessed their judgement in the case and plan to be in attendance to show support for DV One at his sentencing.
So far there has been a good amount of support for DV One in this case, but I'm sure that he could always use more, especially now that he is facing sentencing.
If you feel compelled to say or do something, you can start by calling or writing his lawyer, Lisa Daugaard who plans to attach all letters to a pre-sentence report to hopefully sway the judge's actions and eventually appeal the ruling.
The Defender Association
810-3rd Avenue, 8th Floor
Seattle, WA 98104
ph.:(206) 447-3900 ext. 729; fax: (206) 447-2349
A date for sentencing has not been set yet, so stay posted and informed by visiting this site for updated info and other news clippings about this case.