Sat, Nov 01, 2014, 11:29 am // Tip Johnson
On Tuesday, Oct. 21, Western's Black Student Union held an event called “Getting Real: A discussion about Ferguson and Racial Profiling” . There seems to be plenty to discuss. As senior human services major Jazmine Smith noted in the Western Front, “There is no such thing as due process when you have brown skin.” Bellingham was once home to Washington State's strongest chapter of the Klu Klux Klan. Some of that attitude apparently still needs erasing. Just ask Mike Grundy.
Mike Grundy never had it easy. Bellingham turned out to be no exception. His parent's rights were terminated and he landed in foster care before being adopted by his grandparents. At fourteen, his grandpa died and his older brother was shot dead, so Mike helped his grandma raise his sister. He had good grades in high school, was a starter on the basketball team and stayed out of any trouble, by all accounts devoted to family and a polite, personable young man. He was doing well at Western and had a good relationship as an intern in a corporate career path.
Then, May 21, 2011, not long after he turned 21, MIke went out with friends to some student house parties. Not much of a drinker, he found himself on the street and feeling tipsy as police arrived to break up the parties. Suddenly he was surrounded by white 'jocks' telling him, "Nigger, you better get off of our block." Or they would "kick his ass." One thing led to another. A large football player approached Mike from behind. Mike turned, saw him, took a wild swing and ran. Police tasered him and took him into custody. Mike's punch had broken the man's jaw.
The all white police officers failed to do any investigation into why Mike Grundy, a black student, would take a swing at a white football player even as police had arrived or why he was surrounded by thirty to fifty other white students, calling him "nigger," posturing threateningly and commanding him to leave the vicinity, though he was standing in the public way - all points Judge Uhrig refused to admit into evidence.
The only student questioned at the scene was another black person. He was subsequently charged with obstruction, even though police never took his statement. His obstruction citation was delivered by mail after he was identified from a photo database police apparently keep of black people in town.
The Whatcom County prosecutor commenced a vigorous prosecution of Mike Grundy. The usual charge for this kind of incident would be Fourth Degree Assault, a gross misdemeanor. Not in this case. Judge Uhrig refused to admit any consideration of self defense and agreed with Prosecutor Hulbert to pursue felony criminal charges, disregarding a lesser degree plea usually available upon request, especially for first offenses.
Even when the jury rejected the Second Degree charge and asked if a lesser charge was available, Judge Uhrig and Prosecutor Hulbert refused to instruct the jury that a Fourth Degree finding was available, leaving them only the much harsher penalties. For Second Degree Assault, the Whatcom County Prosecutor's office often easily agrees to a Third Degree plea, but apparently not if you are black. Prosecutor Hulbert avoided even the Third Degree finding because adequate instruction would have opened the door to considering the element of self defense and the jury could have let Mike off.
Instead, Mike was sent to prison to serve the stiffer penalty. Aware that the Judge's instructions were obviously in error, counsel for the defense asked for an appeal bond to be set. The prosecutor responded with a remarkable $75,000 request, but Judge Uhrig doubled the amount to $150,000, knowing his judgement could not survive the appeal, but assuring the bond could not be met and Mike would serve the entire sentence before the judgement could be overturned. It's like a special 'get out of town free' invitation, courtesy of Judge Uhrig and the prosecuting attorney's office, underscoring that in Bellingham you still need to be just as white as you can possibly be.
The conviction was duly overturned and remanded to Whatcom County for correction. Even so, the prosecutor's office is now insisting on yet another criminal felony trial - even though Mike has already served his time.
It sounded silly at first, but maybe a dog could do a better job.
Whatcom County Superior Court cause number is: 11-1-00816-9. The cause number in the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division I, is 70243-2-I.
(On a side note, Mike remains saddled with the football player's substantial medical costs because the threatening actions of the white mob were never allowed to be entered in the case.)
Sat, Nov 01, 2014, 11:29 am // Tip JohnsonOr why to vote for Nyima, the dog, for County Prosecutor
4 comments; last on Nov 03, 2014
Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 10:01 am // Tip JohnsonIt's just how things roll in Whatcom County
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Sat, Oct 04, 2014, 11:23 am // Tip JohnsonWherein we see that sometimes government can do what business can't.
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Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 9:18 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the failings of a bad policy framework are revealed
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Mon, May 05, 2014, 2:34 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the gyrations of the bid for widespread county slaughter are exposed.
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Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 12:11 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein there's a crackdown on growing plants, and plans to let slaughter run free
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Thu, Nov 14, 2013, 1:39 am // Tip JohnsonDear Mr. President, There's a sucker born every minute, and two to take him.
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Mon, Oct 28, 2013, 10:19 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein we discover why we exert our rights - and grab some more petitions before it's too late
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Sun, Jun 02, 2013, 12:41 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein various comments are compiled and compounded, and citizens encouraged to act
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Mon, Apr 08, 2013, 11:56 am // Tip JohnsonWherein we complain about the City and Port stealing from the public
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Sun, Mar 24, 2013, 3:01 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the Cattlemen define 'small scale' as an unlimited number of facilities of up to 50 million live pounds per year.
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Sat, Mar 23, 2013, 10:53 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the rate base gets a soaking while officials keep big-bubble toking
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Tue, Mar 05, 2013, 3:20 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein it's even worse when the legislation is about sausage
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2 comments; last on Mar 12, 2013
Mon, Feb 25, 2013, 5:51 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein artists have to eat, too!
Fri, Feb 15, 2013, 12:20 am // Tip JohnsonWherein the Slaughterhouse Ken and Barbie show present Slaughterville, their new vision for Whatcom County
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Mon, Dec 03, 2012, 3:26 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein citizens must hold their representatives' feet to the fire
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Sat, Nov 03, 2012, 1:21 pm // Tip JohnsonAn letter to the County Council on opening the county to the slaughter industry
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Mon, Oct 08, 2012, 2:53 pm // Tip JohnsonThe Lummi Nation Declares Their Sovereign Objectives at Cherry Point
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Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 12:54 am // Tip JohnsonWherein we see the Railroad walking it's walk while we get ready to talk our talk.
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Thu, Jun 07, 2012, 7:37 pm // Tip JohnsonHereby hoping to stimulate discussion of what expanding the Port Commission is meant to achieve, what constitutes good government and how we might best achieve it.
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Wed, Jun 06, 2012, 9:32 am // Tip JohnsonWherein the port proves they are incompetent to do the public's business
Thu, May 17, 2012, 9:43 am // Tip JohnsonFootage overlooking the Fairhaven area
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Sun, Apr 22, 2012, 6:28 pm // Tip JohnsonWill donuts prove more important than street trees?
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Mon, Jan 09, 2012, 9:27 pm // Tip JohnsonWe have a new mayor!
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Sun, Dec 04, 2011, 5:53 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the sooty prospect of economic necessity rears its ugly head
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Sat, Nov 26, 2011, 4:30 pm // Tip JohnsonO.K. Who's in charge of all these ungulates?
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Fri, Nov 11, 2011, 4:11 pm // Tip JohnsonDaydreams of a recovering politician
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Thu, Sep 29, 2011, 8:00 pm // Tip JohnsonI think we've got a winner!
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Sun, Sep 25, 2011, 11:59 pm // Tip JohnsonEeny, meeny, miny, moe
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Sun, Sep 18, 2011, 5:16 pm // Tip JohnsonSpoiler Alert: If you are enjoying your blackberries this year, read no further
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Wed, Sep 14, 2011, 12:38 am // Tip JohnsonA bad deal, but good enough - for now
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Mon, Sep 12, 2011, 1:44 pm // Tip JohnsonLegislation and Sausage: Very hard to watch being made.
2 comments; last on Sep 13, 2011
Sun, Sep 11, 2011, 9:36 pm // Tip JohnsonRepublished from Whatcom Watch - Let's Save Vendovi Island!
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Mon, Aug 15, 2011, 10:49 pm // Tip JohnsonShould we accept or dig into Chuckanut Ridge?
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Mon, Jun 20, 2011, 10:42 am // Tip JohnsonWherein something smells a bit fishy
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Mon, May 30, 2011, 10:40 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein blackened hearts and minds are initially examined
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Thu, Feb 24, 2011, 2:09 am // Tip JohnsonYou've gotta be kidding!
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Thu, Aug 26, 2010, 3:01 pm // Tip JohnsonLegal or Political Football?
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Wed, Aug 18, 2010, 5:07 pm // Tip JohnsonIgnoring the real problem
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Sat, Aug 14, 2010, 1:20 pm // Tip JohnsonTime for hardball?
Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 2:50 pm // Tip JohnsonWhere, oh where, are our federal representatives?
6 comments; last on Aug 06, 2010
Mon, Jul 19, 2010, 12:53 pm // Tip JohnsonFor-Profit Non-Profits - Pulling the Plug on Services
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4 comments; last on Apr 16, 2011
Mon, Jun 21, 2010, 5:40 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the absurdity of the Lummi Blockade is explored in yet more excrutiating detail
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Tue, Jun 08, 2010, 10:31 pm // Tip JohnsonI mean, come on!
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Tue, Jun 01, 2010, 8:33 am // Tip JohnsonOil Addiction: All Day Every Day
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1 comments; last on May 03, 2010
Sat, May 01, 2010, 8:53 pm // Tip JohnsonIn which the perils of a police state are only barely considered
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Fri, Feb 05, 2010, 1:23 am // Tip JohnsonLummi officials and Lummi Island residents meet -Village to Village
2 comments; last on Feb 07, 2010
Wed, Feb 03, 2010, 2:31 pm // Tip JohnsonWhatcom County lacks both authority and leverage to negotiate a Lummi Island ferry deal
Sat, Jan 23, 2010, 7:15 pm // Tip JohnsonThe Lummi Nation appears prepared to implement a threatened blockade of Lummi Island commencing February 14th
1 comments; last on Jan 24, 2010
Tue, Jan 05, 2010, 12:17 am // Tip JohnsonPort of Bellingham in the news
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