Angel Drayton - racist prosecution in Bellingham
On June 7, 2002, the Bellingham police used a search warrant to confiscate Angel Drayton's 4 dog's and search her home for papers and documents. She was not home and the police kicked in the front door of her home. Sounds serious? Well, the charges are unsanitary keeping of her dogs. (Not neglect) For this she now faces a possible jail sentence if convicted. The police know her well, having issued her some 43 citations - many for minor driving infractions - since she moved to Bellingham three yers ago. Many who know Angel personally feel this is racial persecution by the police and city prosecutor. Angel is black.
Below is my coverage of this process. The more I learn, the worse it gets. I was posting these on the home page, but this appears to be opening the whole question of racial prejudice by Bellingham city police and prosecutors. You, gentle reader, may not like my use of the 'racial' word. I'm sorry if you do and I have only used it after weeks of learning more about her case. We need to look at our own community and be honest. If racism exists in our government agencies then we as citizens should work to eliminate it. - John Servais
Donations can be made to: Angel Defense Fund, Washington Mutual Bank, Bellingham
White paper by C. Cooper (Aug 17) about the dogs, the Humane Society shelter and the relationships.
Humane Society press release (Aug 12) after refusing to discuss case under orders of prosecutor Lustick, they then issued this. So much for no pre trial comment. See Aug 17 report by Cooper for reply.
July report by C. Cooper (July 7) explaining her view as an animal rights person of this issue.
Criminal charges filed June 10 by Bellingham prosecutor Lustick against Angel.
Abatement Compliance Report - filed June 12 showing Angel complied with June 7 Abatement orde. However, Lustick violated the law by issuing criminal charges the same day Officer Burkhart said Angel had corrected the problem within the required time. Such vigor - against a black person.
Friday, Oct 4
I've received objections to my reporting that Angel did not plead guilty. As such, I will be get copies of relevant documents and post them here - but not today.
My criticism of the Herald was too harsh. Their reporting was not deliberately false. I'll restate it as overly general and misleading.
An Alford Plea, which is what she pled, is a legally recognized statement that needs explaining. Why is it important? Because the city accepted it rather than a regular guilty plea and that goes to the weakness of the city's case against Angel Drayton.
Wednesday, Oct 2
As expected, the Herald got it wrong. Their story says Angel pled guilty and that it is just her attorney who says she did not plead guilty. But - her attorney faxed the Herald reporter the actual agreement yesterday afternoon, so the reporter has no excuse for mis-reporting. It is deliberate false reporting - to make Angel look worse and the city look exonerated. Just as expected and predicted below last evening. There was no Herald reporter at court. It was reporting by phone - 2nd hand, inexpensive and convenient - but not accurate.
KGMI is also falsely reporting guilt this morning. They also report the city dropped "nine animal abuse charges". Gentle reader, there never were any abuse charges. None.
The difference is huge in that the city accepted less than a guilty plea. The headline could accurately state "City accepts not-guilty plea". The city was getting into an awkward spot and wanted out. Note she got a dog back. Why? Because she would not sign unless she did. Yesterday, during plea bargaining, she held the good cards. This web site will try and document some of the city's problems in future posts. For now, my assessment of yesterday is below.
Tuesday, Oct 1
Angel Drayton made an Alford Plea to two counts of a dirty yard today and received stern punishment from judge Debra Lev. The judge seemed reluctant to let the black woman off, saying "I'm not convinced she will be the poster child for dog ownership". Indeed, Lev placed a long list on conditions on Angel, which would do justice to a crime of violence - assault with a deadly weapon or gross vandalism of city property. Not a dirty yard.
Angel accepted the plea after threats from city prosecutor Lustick of much more severe punishment should she refuse him and Judge Lev preside over her trial. He threatened to have a two year ban on pet ownership follow her no matter where she might move to. Jail was what Angel most feared and Lustick played the card. He only softened the plea terms in the last 24 hours. We think he became concerned about possible media attention and the presence of more citizens at the hearing.
Angel got one dog back. She must subject herself to city inspection every 2 weeks for several months. She cannot have other dogs. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail, suspended. She was fined $2,000 with $1,500 suspended. She is on probation and must pay a monthly fee to the county for that "service". Judge Lev appointed a 'Guardian Ad Litem" for the dog - yes, the judge said that with a straight face. It was hard not to smirk.
Gentle reader, there was no charge of dog neglect. No charge of viscous dog. Nor of biting. Nor of the dogs running loose in the neighborhood. No charge of mistreatment of the dogs. The charges were for a dirty and smelly yard. The judge and the city prosecutor went to extremes to punish this innocent black woman and teach her a lesson about Bellingham. White folk needn't worry about their yards. Nor their freedom from reckless prosecution and biased judges.
The court tried hard to humiliate her. She held her head up. Lustick wanted even more blood, but Joan Hoisington, his boss, was in court to make sure the plea bargain went through as agreed. Joe Pemberton, Angel's attorney, normally handles civil cases but agreed to represent Angel when all the criminal attorney's in town closed their doors to this black woman targeted by the city court machine.
The insidious partnership of Judge Debra Lev and city prosecutor Jeff Lustick remains in place - ready to railroad the next person the police drag into their court. Last year it was the Pit 33 - the young innocent protestors from the Mason building site. Who is next?
I expect the Herald to get the story factually wrong. They had no reporter there, and depended on phone calls again. The KGMI reporter spent a long time in Lustick's office. I watched them go down the hall laughing and yucking. Then later KGMI asked Joe one short trap question. That was it. Don't expect any fair reporting from them.
What's an Alford Plea? She did not admit guilt. She wrote "I deny any wrong doing but enter a plea of guilty to avoid risk of trial." The US Supreme Court has legalized Alford Pleas. Angel knew Lev would make sure she was convicted and there would be no fair trial. She took her only way out. She did not lose.
In this court case, Bellingham lost.
Saturday, Sep 28
Tuesday, Oct 1, at 3 pm in Municipal Court
Angel and her attorney Joe Pemberton have filed a new motion for the return of her dogs. The dogs have been cruelly kenneled for almost 4 months on the orders of city prosecutor Jeff Lustick.
Angel, a black woman, is being racially targeted by Lustick and the Bellingham police. She needs the support of all decent Bellingham citizens. If you can possibly take time to attend the hearing, please do. The police and prosecutor depend on no Herald coverage, no KGMI coverage, no KVOS coverage and no citizen's attending court.
Don't let myself and 4 of Angel's friends be the only witnesses. Please make the effort to attend. This is an effort by our city government to drive a black person out of Bellingham.
Wednesday, Sep 25
Lets say you are served with an abatement order from the city to clean up something. Maybe it is an unfinished building project that the neighbors have complained about. Maybe it is too many old cars in the front yard. Maybe it is complaints of dog feces in your yard.
Ok - the order gives you 5 days to get rid of the problem. You didn't really know you were violating any law. Every dog owner has some feces in their yard. So you clean it up. The inspecting police officer comes by a couple days later and writes up a clean inspection. You complied.
Well, for you and every case in Bellingham history, that is the end of it. You obey an abatement order and you are not cited. That is the whole point of abatement orders. To give you a chance to correct the problem.
But not for Angel Drayton. The day Officer Burkhart inspected and gave her yard a clean bill of health, city prosecutor Lustick filed four criminal charges of dirty yard against Angel. Angel is a black woman, who made the mistake of moving to white Bellingham three years ago.
Tuesday in court, Lustick successfully convinced Judge Debra Lev that the law works that way. He turned the law on its head - and Judge Lev went along with it. Case law? None cited. Did the judge ask for case law? Nope. Angel's attorney, Joe Pemberton, had asked for dismissal on the basis that the charges came after Angel obeyed the abatement order. Judge Lev ruled she goes to trial.
Now, if you are a white guy with a gawd awful yard or building, don't worry about being cited for criminal acts. Officer Burkhart knows of no other case in her career where this has happened - and she has many years experience. You can get extensions to abatement orders - not criminal charges.
This is just another piece of evidence for my accusation that the city prosecutor Lustick is motivated by racism in his prosecution of Angel Drayton. He is using the law in twisted ways that he would never use on white persons. The case is about a dirty yard. He is making a federal case of it.
Hey, you attorneys reading this. You know this is weird. Why not offer some help to Joe Pemberton on this case.
No Herald reporter there. Just a couple supporters for Angel. Just a railroad job to drive this black woman out of Bellingham. Lustick smirked and tossed out insulting remarks the judge somehow never heard - although we in the audience did. A sad sight.
In closing, can't help but remind you of the Flame Tavern and the rusty skelton in Fairhaven. They got extensions of extensions on their abatement orders. And no criminal charges. Of course not. Lustick is targeting Angel because she is black. Yes, gentle reader, even in Bellingham. Someone told me that if I wrote about pet abuse I'd get more concern from Bellinghamites. Are we a racist community?
Saturday, September 21, 2002 - top of home page
(Sep 21) Loved Dogs Held Hostage : Day 109
City prosecutor Lustick says they are evidence of a crime
and he does not want them returned to owner. Ah - but
city law allows him to charge her for the city keeping them.
The bill is over $2,700 and increasing daily. Nice guy.
He'll make this black woman regret she ever moved to Bellingham.
Angel Dratyon Pretrial Hearing
Tuesday, Sep 24, 2:30 pm, Municipal Court.
Watch for yourself the racist prosecution of a black woman.
Tue, Sep 17
Right now the police are scurrying around trying to discredit me and intimidate those who provide information to me. Dac Jamison, one of the most senior police officers and the official public relations person for the department, is the point guy for this work. Indeed, he has succeeded to a degree. He has suggested that people might "jeopardize" their relationship with the police if they support Angel Drayton. Some have backed off or hesitated. Chilling.
Sat, Sep 14
What the Herald did not tell you. Yesterday's Herald reported that Angel was submitting a plan to the court for the return of her dogs. However, this will be the second time - and the Herald did not tell you that. The judge ruled last week against returning the dogs but told the city to work out some conditions with Angel for the return. Apparently that did not work and so Angel is submitting to the court again.
What the judge proposed did not require another court hearing. Judge Lev said she would sign an agreement the city and Angel worked out. I will try and learn on Monday why this did not work.
For now I can only guess that Lustick is refusing to work out an agreement. After all, Judge Lev did not formally make her request part of the order. Lustick may be defying the judge. After all, his aim is to deny Angel the return of her dogs ever. This is racist prosecution in that a double standard is being applied to this black woman. White dog owners need not fear.
Funny how the Herald likes to capitalize on the dogs being pit bulls. The breed is not a factor in this case. But the Herald is oriented towards selling papers with sensational heads, not accurate reporting. A more accurate head would be 'Black dog owner to file again'.
Tuesday, Sep 10
As the Herald reported this morning, Angel did not get her dogs back. Yesterday, Judge Lev ruled that she was not convinced that Angel would follow the recommendations from the Humane Society in the care of her dogs. The director of the Society had testified extensively about what Angel had done wrong in the past and how Angel could not and would not properly care for her dogs in the future.
The Herald had no reporter at the hearing but got their story from a phone call from chief city prosecutor Lustick. Therefore the Herald probably did not know that the judge also ordered the city to reach an agreement with Angel for the quick return of her dogs under some conditions of periodic supervision by Humane Society agents. The judge said she would have ordered the dogs returned if the city had suggested some conditions - which the city did not do. Maybe Lustick 'forgot' to tell the Herald that very pertinent fact.
The Herald reporting is often done over the phone with a proponent of one side of an issue. This is not reporting. Whatever the Herald's reasons for not observing news events, the result is we citizens cannot rely on their stories.
Are you a dog owner? Did you know there is no whip or hook worm in Whatcom County - except in Angel Drayton's dogs? This is the sworn testimony of the director of the Humane Society. She painted a picture of Angel possibly causing an infestation of these worms. She said in her years as director no dogs brought to the Humane Society have had such worms - until Angel's dogs.
The director also feels Angel should pave her entire yard with concrete before her dogs are returned. Hey, I'm just reporting here.
It is obvious to this observer that a double standard is being enforced by the city prosecutor and police. If all dog owners in Bellingham were held to the standards being ordered for Angel Drayton, a black woman, then there would be very few dogs in Bellingham. This is racism. Whether Mr. Lustick is aware of his own prejudice is not the issue. I lived in the South for several years and have solid personal experience here. When a community holds a person of a different race to a higher standard than the predominant population then it is racism. The most effective way of driving people out of a community is to convict them of spurious crimes and have the police harass them constantly. It works. Lustick is either a willing or unknowing key player in this process with Angel.
Only 3 white guys showed up. No reporters from the Herald, KGMI or KVOS. But you will probably hear others condemn me for accusing the city of racist prosecution - from people who haven't the time in their life to observe the facts for themselves. Too busy making a buck to be concerned. I stand by my accusation of racism by the city prosecutor. And I challenge the city to release the requested records of any previous prosecutions similar to this. They have so far refused to release records in violation of state law.
Saturday, Sep 7
Are you a white guy? We need10 of us to attend the hearing for Angel on Monday afternoon at 1:30 pm. We need to witness the racist actions of city prosecutor Lustick as he attempts to keep Angel from getting her dogs back.
Why white guys? Because the powers that be allow us to deviate more without repercussions We need witnesses to this racist prosecution of a black woman. If we grant the prosecution's case, then she had a dirty back yard. He is throwing the book at her. The city refuses to release information on past cases of this type - a violation of the state public disclosure act - but hey, no one is going to spend the money to take the city to court, so they can ignore the law. Without the records, we can only guess that this heavy prosecution for a dirty back yard is not normally done.
Municipal Court, 2014 C Street - across from the police station. Monday. 1:30 pm. Take a little time off from work to aid the cause of fairness in our democracy. I am.
Tuesday, Aug 27
Angel Drayton's motion hearing for the return of her dogs will finish on Monday, Sep 9 at 1:30 pm in the Municipal Court. Even if Judge Lev returns her dogs, they will have been over 3 months in humane society kennels - not the best place for any pets.
Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday, Sep 16 at 1:30 pm. I am told - but have not confirmed - that her trial is scheduled for Feb 24. The web site www.courts.wa.gov (click 'Find Your Court Date') is supposed to have this information. However it is missing. You will note that typing in "Drayton" does not bring up her case - you need to type in the case number - CB37205. This error has been allowed to remain for weeks now.
The police continue to attempt to intimidate people against supporting Angel. Why does KGMI state my personal name on the air but not mention this web site? My only public comment has been on this web site. Maybe they don't want the public to visit here.
You know what would be nice? For ten white guys to attend her hearings. Why? Because we have the least risk of retribution in our society for out of norm behavior. Ten guys could witness and become aware of the sad tax wasting childish and racist prosecution of Angel. Let the police count us and note who we are. They have certainly noted me - and are targeting me in their verbal attacks of intimidation. Just show up. We have public trials for a purpose - to prevent abuse. If no one shows up they may as well be secret. I show up and report and the system goes berserk. Strange.
Friday, Aug 23
The short Herald article today was a fair report of yesterday's hearing - as best as a short article could be.
Thursday, Aug 22
Careful when you talk to local news media - like KVOS news reporter Joe Bates or a KGMI reporter. You might tell them something that they agree to not report but they might tell it in open court - exactly what you said - even that you asked and they agreed to not report it. Happened today.
City prosecutor Lustick subpoenaed the two reporters yesterday to testify under oath today and impeach the testimony of Angel Drayton's neighbor who had said they didn't have any problem with Angel and her dogs. The reporters testified with no objection.
News media normally have their attorneys object and keep reporters off the witness stand. And courts respect the role of news reporters as persons the public trusts with information. It is called privilege. I won't elaborate here. News media in Seattle will learn of this soon enough.
Today's 2 hour hearing focused on the smell of dog feces. Could you smell it from here? From there? How do you know it was dog feces? City prosecutor Lustick seemed a scatological obsessive.
He was on his game attacking and bullying Angel Drayton. He grilled her on an expired dog license in 2000. He asked if she remembered being "arrested" on such and such a date: she replied she was not arrested but "cited" for an expired dog license. He made sure the judge knew she was not expert on different dog diseases. Her kennel was not large enough. (she bought it from another dog owner) He spent several minutes grilling her on the condition of her bathroom.
Glad I'm not a black living in Bellingham. I've visited neighbors who told me to be careful of the dog poop - that their kid was supposed to clean it up. Man, a black has the police there to take photos of the pile. And report it.
One amazing item. Turns out the one dog was being kept in the bathroom at the suggestion of the police four days earlier. The Herald article made much of this without reporting why the dog was there.
The hearing was continued. 4 hours down, 2 more to go. $$ your tax dollars being wisely spent by your city legal department. Lustick said he expects the trial to last 4 to 6 days. That is not even scheduled yet.
The city has a losing case. It is trivial - a dirty back yard that got that way when the single mom was having a baby and her mother was taking care of the home. Lustick is showing way too much energy trying to put this lady in jail. This is racist motivated. This big white guy - ex military lawyer - just insulting this black woman. It's a sad commentary on Bellingham.
KGMI had another reporter there. Herald finally there -expect something Fri morn.
Am reliably informed that the city prosecutor asked to discuss a plea bargain with Angel and her attorney this morning and those talks are still going on. He is threatening her with jail time if she does not cop to something. Trying to save face.
Today's Every Other Weekly has devoted the entire Skinny column to Angel's case. The Skinny, written by EOW owner Tim Johnson, presents a very mixed picture. He is loathe to call the Bellingham Police racist so he calls them everything else. At least he is finally reporting on the case.
Mr. Johnson has a couple very troubling paragraphs which don't show him in such a good light. In one he states that "...our justice system goes out of its way to frame guilty people." Gentle reader, you should know that Mr. Johnson has a cozy relationship with the police, getting off the record briefings from them. Indeed, he says as much earlier in the Skinny, writing that he "feels uncomfortable" writing about an investigation he knows of - so he doesn't tell us any more.
The implication is the city will get Angel one way or the other. They have to once an officer mistakenly issued her a citation. In spite of 60 some enforcement actions, Mr. Johnson still doesn't think the prosecutor's office and the police are racist. A mixed read. But as always, entertaining.
What ever happened to enforcing the city code against dog feces in parks? The police have long ago informed the Parks Department that they will not enforce that law. We all like to walk in the park. Such vigor of enforcement is wasted on back yards. If you are white, don't worry about it.
Wednesday, Aug 21
Angel Drayton asked the city to give back her 4 dogs. They have been in humane society kennels since June 7 - over two months. She is facing a criminal trial for not cleaning up the dog feces in her yard fast enough last spring. Yesterday in court, she asked only for the dogs back, and promised to keep the yard cleaner.
The city prosecutor, Jeff Solomon (Jeff Lustick's assistant) objected. He didn't object because of concern for the dogs' welfare or because he doubted Angel would comply. No, his was an amazing answer.
He objected because the dogs are evidence for a criminal trial. The dogs "are like the seizure of weapons at a crime as the dogs are responsible for the accumulation of feces and odor." and "They are instruments of a crime similar to a homicide."
The dogs will again... - how do I put this delicately - will again..., once released to the owner's loving care, the dogs will still... - I can't do it. Must send these tape recordings to Dave Barry. He will know how to put it.
Keep in mind that the evidence for the trial will be the photos of the dogs on the day they were confiscated, not the dogs in court.
So - no decision yesterday. The hearing ran two hours and is continued tomorrow, Thursday at 2:30 pm in Municipal Court.
Do you know of any white folks who have been so prosecuted in Bellingham for a dirty yard? Can any reader provide me with a case similar to this in Bellingham history? I'm not criticizing the neighbors here - they may or may not have had an odor problem. But for the city to persist in its persecution of Angel to convict her as a criminal - to stubbornly spend hours of court time, attorneys costs, police time and our tax dollars - this is the real crime. Why? What is being served here?
No Herald reporter. KAFE news - fm 104.3 - was there.
Tuesday, Aug 20
Today at 2:30 pm is a Motion Hearing for Angel Drayton. Her attorney is requesting that the city return her dogs. Municipal Court at 2401 C Street - across the street from the police department.
I am told a public disclosure request has been submitted to the city asking for records of previous criminal prosecutions for dirty yards due to pets. The city has responded saying it wants the wording of the request changed. The public disclosure law does not allow the city to manipulate requests. It must answer with either the documents or a written reason why the request will not be honored. This will be pulling teeth.
Remember the Yaco case a few years ago? The city responded to a request by trashing the document and saying in court that it did not have the document. This resulted in the state legislature changing the state law that once a request is submitted the document may not be destroyed.
Monday, Aug 19
I've posted the press release from the Whatcom Humane Society that was faxed to local media on August 12. You might compare it with the report from C. Cooper that was posted over the weekend (see below for more info).
This fax is one example of the efforts by city prosecutor and police to smear Angel and justify their persecution of her. The society would not have sent the fax without their permission. The prosecutor has reportedly tried to make a deal with Angel which would have allowed him to drop the charges. His case is very weak.
The police gave their file on Angel Drayton to a member of the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force and told them to read it before they support Angel in public. This raises the question of the legality of this action, but without any agency to enforce laws against this action the police can do what they want.
Intimidation of the public by police? Yes. That is exactly what it is. The police have no business going around visiting people and warning them against supporting people who are charged with a crime.
The police also suggested the Task Force take the link to NWCitizen off their web site if they wanted good relations with the police in the future.
By the way, you can read the Task Force mission statement on their web site. It is one of many local links along the left column of this page.
Sunday, Aug 18
And of course still not a word since June on the Angel Drayton criminal prosecution - and possible jail time for her. When she was at the hospital giving birth, she was not keeping her dog kennel clean enough. Our city attorney is spending most of his time on it. The police are obsessed with it, confronting some possible supporters and arresting and harassing her friends. She is black. The police have actually asked how a black woman can afford such a nice house. The grapevine says the prosecutor thinks she is the front for drug dealers from Tacoma. Must be. How could a single black woman just move to town and buy a nice house like that? Racist prosecution? How dare the NWCitizen use that word.
But to the Herald there is no local news today. None.
Saturday, Aug 17
The police continue to use extra legal maneuvers to try and isolate Angel Drayton. They are now providing the file on Angel to some community groups that might otherwise become concerned about her case. The police are trying to convict her before her trial. A one sided smear. What is left out of the file? Will this rogue police force not be checked by anyone?
We've posted a white paper by C. Cooper about the dogs and the Humane Society shelter and the inter relationships. For those seriously concerned, this is a long but informative read.
Friday, Aug 16
Well, we had a break through at Bellingham Municipal Court yesterday. The full case file for Angel Drayton was provided to me. It took another written request, several phone calls and most of the morning, but the powers that be at Muni Court realized their public disclosure process was not working properly and corrected the situation.
Indeed, full disclosure of all future documents was assured and they feel their system will be more responsive to all requests - not just mine. Apparently they rarely got requests for files from citizens in the past. Also learned that the hearings were tape recorded and therefore I will later listen to them for what I could not hear in the courtroom because of the soft speaking of the judge and prosecutor.
My concern was not intended to be the Municipal Court system, but rather the city prosecutor and the police. I am relieved that problems with Muni court are behind us.
So - here is reliable information from the case file.
Angel's attorney has filed a motion for the return of her dogs. It will be heard at a 'Motion Hearing' this coming Tuesday, August 20, at 2:30 pm.
Posted today is the criminal complaint against Angel. Read for yourself the minor charges that the city prosecutor is using to criminalize this law abiding black woman. You form your own opinion.
Also posted is a report dated June 10 stating that Angel had fully fixed the odor problem that had been ordered in a June 7 abatement order from the city. This same June 10, city prosecutor Lustick filed his criminal charge against Angel for these very odor problem. Strange? I think so. We'll see what happens in court.
Yes, we will let the court decide. No, we are not trying the case in public. In the USA we have public process of criminal cases so that the public can observe and follow criminal proceedings. This prevents abuses of the criminal justice system - at least that was the intention of our country's founders. However, when the local media - Herald, KGMI and EOWeekly - don't report information then the prosecutor can railroad those he targets and there is injustice. The more I look at this case, the more racially motivated it looks.
Tomorrow - Saturday - I'll try and post some of the reports of police harassment of those connected to Angel.
Thursday, Aug 15
Spent hours waiting yesterday to see the court file on Angel Drayton - only to be told I could not see it and to come back another day. While I had been told I would see it yesterday, in the end they would only give me a partial computer print out of some activity. No original documents.
From the computer printout, it appears the pre-trial hearing is at 2:30 pm next Tuesday, Aug 20 - not the 1:30 I had been told. Angel's attorney asked for this.
Also this entry:
DEF & COUNSEL FTA'D. HOLD BW 2 WEEKS
Gentle reader, that is legal shorthand for:
"Defendent Angel Drayton and her attorney Joe Pemberton failed to attend the pre-trial hearing on Aug 12 as required by law and therefore a bench warrant has been issued by the city prosecutor Jeff Lustick for the police to arrest and jail Angel upon sighting her in public anytime during the next 2 weeks."
That, folks, is double dealing. A check with friends of Angel reveals that what happened is the prosecutor, Jeff Lustick decided to ask the court to 'continue' (delay) the pre-trial hearing from Aug 12 to Aug 26 and so informed her attorney. With that, her attorney probably agreed as he told Angel she did not have to show up in court. Therefore Angel did not show. Ask any attorney about this. I did - and not Angel's attorney. This is basically cheating and unethical by Jeff Lustick. He is apparently trying to criminalize Angel.
At the pre-trial on Aug 12, I thought I heard the words 'bench warrant' from by Lustick's assistant but could not be sure as he and the judge were talking softly. I was in the second row from the front of court.
So, until I can see the full public court file, I will have to continue this scratching for reliable information. Last week I was allowed to see a purged version of the file. This week, so far, they have not allowed me to see the file at all. Against the law, you say? Of course. What am I supposed to do? Take them to court? All I have is the pen - in the form of this web site. And I will continue to use this. Of course, it would help if other citizens attended the pre-trial hearings to show community concern with what is a racist prosecution of a black woman recently moved to Bellingham.
Next - I will scan in and post the 3 page "Criminal Complaint" so you can read for yourself the ridiculous nature of how your property tax dollars are being wasted and a law abiding person is being driven out of town. The complaint was about all they allowed me to see last week.
Has anyone seen a Bellingham Herald reporter lately?
Tuesday, Aug 13
NWCitizen is under considerable criticism, with many political observers saying that what you have read here is in error. Things are drifting back to me. Accusers don't say or email it to me directly, but it reaches me via others.
Well, I feel very confident of what has been posted so far and intend to post much more that I have learned. Just now it is late at night and I've had a long day trying to make a buck. Tomorrow may bring new posts. A friend called the court clerk and tells me there is a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Tuesday, August 20 at 1:30 pm. I'll personally confirm that and post positive info later this week.
Time will tell if I am wrong - or right. My hope is this web site will nudge the media - the Bellingham Herald, KGMI radio, The Every Other Weekly - to investigate this prosecution of Angel Drayton for themselves. So far they have only told you what the police, humane society and prosecutor's office have told them. Investigative news? Not yet.
Monday, Aug 12
A pre-trial hearing is scheduled today for Angel Drayton at 1:30 pm, Bellingham Municipal Court. Indeed, that is what was scheduled for today. The info phoned to me after 5 pm Friday, that said it was cancelled, was in error. This morning I visited the court and read the files. (more time off from work)
While support and a public presence at a pre-trial hearing is good, it is much more important for attendance at the trial itself. If you can attend this afternoon's hearing, you will be letting the prosecutor and police know they cannot railroad this lady without public knowledge. The Herald continues to not report, which is too bad as they have paid reporters.
Yes, Angel is being charged with criminal counts. Yes, she could serve jail time. Yes, this does have racial tones that the prosecutor and police are involved in. Since posting info on this case a week ago I have received several first hand accounts of examples of Bellingham Police racist practices. We have a problem.
Friday, Aug 9
Angel Drayton's trial has been 'continued', which is legal for rescheduled or delayed. At least a week and maybe longer. We will post as soon as we know. See reports below on Aug 5 and 7.
It was scheduled for this coming Monday afternoon, August 12. I don't know why it was delayed but will report here when known.
Wednesday, Aug 7
In a strange scenario, city attorney Jeff Lustick requested to visit Angel's home and 'inspect' it to see if it was OK for him to return her dogs to her - while asking her to admit guilt. He was scheduled to show up at 9:30 am Tuesday at her home. No show. Why? He said he was afraid to go out in public because of what nwcitizen posted about the case.
Angel is reported determined to not plead guilty. What's strange is the prosecuting attorney inspecting a home. Is he qualified to decide if her yard is OK for the return of her dogs? Isn't this a job for a humane society professional? Did she commit a crime or didn't she. What's going on here? He has made two plead offers to her and she has said no twice.
Angel's trial is scheduled for next Monday, August 12, at 1:30 pm in the Municipal Court building. Stay tuned. I'll do my best. Wasn't there a daily newspaper in this town at one time?
Monday, August 5
It appears that we have a racist city prosecutor in Jeff Lustick to go along with a racist city police department here in Bellingham. The 3 year harassment of Angel Drayton, a black woman who moved here from Tacoma 3 years ago, smells worse the more you learn about it. Young Jeff is the same guy who tried to criminalize 31 people, mostly young kids, for occupying city property in a well ordered, peaceful demonstration against city hall corruption - the pit fiasco. He failed as cooler heads prevailed and gave the kids an out.
Now Jeff is bringing Angel to trial next week and may jail her if he convicts her. The crime? Doing nothing more than hundreds of Bellingham residents do - keeping dogs and not always having all the dog mess cleaned up. The complaining neighbors (yes, you guessed it, white) also have dogs that bark a lot and one that has bitten. No problem for them as far as Jeff is concerned. He selects what he thinks is criminal.
I hear from the grapevine that Jeff is concerned that I attended the pre-trial hearing and he is asking others what I am up to. He says he is not a 'public official' and I am not allowed to criticize him as a public official.
There is no case against Angel Drayton. She did nothing wrong. The police have cited her 43 times - many for minor traffic infractions - sometimes as she is just leaving home. Other neighbors - who wish to remain unnamed for fear of harassment - have expressed support for Angel and say they have experienced no problems from her. No stench. The barking dogs that do bother them are owned by the white complaining neighbors.
The record should be examined by the Herald reporters - but don't expect any investigative reporting from the Herald. They can't afford it. (No reporter at the pre-trial hearing) And the Herald would risk its cozy relationship with city hall - making it harder (read more expensive) for the Herald to research normal stories. Hell, the Herald printed her street address in the first paragraph of the story - on page one - which has brought racist harassment drivebys to Angel.
By the way dear reader - how do you think the Herald got the photo of the officer loading Angel's dog into a truck when they searched her house? The police probably invited the Herald along. I spent years as a news photographer for different daily newspapers - I know the routine. Someone at city hall wanted publicity on that action. The Herald obliged. Reporter and photographer. Cheap, easy, sensational front page junk. The Herald emphasized the dogs were 'Pit Bulls' in every headline despite their breed not being related to the charges.
The Whatcom Human Rights Task Force has become concerned and you can read a report (Sep 20 - report removed) at their site. (The article - without photos - is also posted here at nwcitizen.) It is not just this activist who is concerned with Jeff's decisions and actions. He requested the warrant used to kick in her front door.
The Herald failed to tell you that her mother was at home taking care of the dogs but was at the grocery store when the police arrived. She came home while the police - and Herald reporter - were still there, but the Herald gave readers the impression the place was not occupied. Angel? She was at the hospital giving birth. Nice timing by our city authorities.
Angel is due to trial on Monday, August 12. I will be there to report on what Jeff does and my opinions of his actions. It would be nice if the Herald would be there and report fairly on events. And stop being a PR agency for the police and prosecutor. I urge others to take time off from work and attend. I'll post the exact time and place later this week. We need to support diversity in our community and not leave people isolated and easily driven out of town by what has all the characteristics of racist prosecution.
First post was above on August 5.
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