Topic: Washington State (196)

Doth she protesteth too much?

Byy On

Ellen Murphy has the courage to practice classic civil protest - to publicly bring her questions about the Iraq war to Rick Larsen, our US Congress Representative. And for daring to do that, it appears that Larsen is quietly working with the Bellingham police, city prosecutor, and the Municipal court judge, Debra Lev, to persecute, possibly jail and even deny her the use of some of her civil rights for the rest of her life.

Last October 13, before the election, she sat in Larsen’s Bellingham office with several other people for hours, waiting for some answers to questions. Larsen refused to talk with them and has refused for months. The police arrived and arrested her and two other women - before the office even closed. It seems very safe to say that Larsen’s office did not want her there - and decided to have her arrested. More telling is in court she was told to not go into Larsen’s office again.

On Oct 20, she and 5 other women sat in the hallway outside Larsen’s office, reading the names of service members killed in Iraq - which can take hours.

Several police showed up, went into Larsen’s office, closed the door and were in there for some time - obviously talking to Larsen’s staff - who are under the direct control of Larsen. The police came out, asked who was Ellen Murphy, she identified herself, and they arrested her - leaving the other women alone. Ellen was targeted - probably to make an example of her.

She is now being charged a second time for trespassing - and our municipal judge, Debra Lev, has barred her from going into the Federal Building for the rest of her life.

Yesterday were hearings and scheduling on her two charges. On Thursday, Feb 15, at 2:30 pm in Municipal Court, there will be a hearing on whether the city will continue with its prosecution of Ellen for sitting in the hallway. On Feb 27 at 9 am she will go on trial for sitting in Larsen’s office.

Gentle reader, this is all being done for Larsen and at his request. If he did not want her barred for life from going near his office or if he did not want her prosecuted, then the city would drop this. It seems he has no problem trying to strip a person of their rights and have them convicted of a crime in order to deter others from daring to question him. Or even want to question him. Ellen was not even practicing civil disobedience - she was obeying the law. She was not blocking a doorway or impeding others.

Of course I saw no reporters at the hearings yesterday from any newspaper or media. This website will continue to try and follow this. It will be interesting to see if any of our stalwart and liberal citizens will question Larsen about this at the City Club luncheon later this month. Probably not. Local wealthy liberals are more into sipping white wine than asking any hard questions of their guy Larsen. And, while Larsen’s staff checks this website daily, they have chosen to not communicate with me regarding Larsen’s stance on the war.

One last note. Joe Pemberton, a local attorney who does civil work, is defending Ellen. Joe is not a trial lawyer but no local trial lawyer would help Ellen. I heard several trial lawyers joke to Joe in court yesterday about whether he was in the wrong place and about his trying to defend a client in court. The liberal wealthy trial lawyers of this town want nothing to do with an anti-war protester. Shame on them.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

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