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National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

No Charges In Case That Left Innocent Man In Coma

Some may remember a story we covered in early May (here and here) of a man who was wrongly accused of being involved in a fight at a convenience store in downtown Seattle Washington being flung into a concrete wall so forcefully by a King County deputy that he was left in a coma with multiple skull fractures and indeterminate brain damage.


While there has been no updated status for 29-year-old Christopher Harris’ condition since he was placed on life support in the hospital over two months ago, King County prosecutors have announced today that they have decided that they have no basis on which to charge that deputy for what resulted in an innocent man’s life, as well as that of his wife and family, being altered forever… all for something he didn’t do.

Interesting, isn’t it, that a shove forceful enough to leave an innocent man with multiple skull fractures doesn’t merit charges if a police officer, who may not have even announced himself until right before the shove, does it to someone who isn’t presenting a threat… but if you shove a police officer it becomes a felony assault offense?

Like for a New Jersey man who was arrested for allegedly cursing at an officer and shoving him against his police car.

Or an Elgin Illinois man who was convicted a few days ago of battery to a police officer for, essentially, accidentally striking the officer’s hand when trying to get the keys to his son’s car and for pushing the officer’s chest. He faces 30 years in prison for that.

Often, one of the lines I hear in defense of police misconduct is that police are human too, that they make mistakes and that we shouldn’t judge them harshly for those mistakes. But the reality is that we civilians are judged even more harshly than the police are for equivalent mistakes. Police officers are rarely charged for, let alone convicted of, the same types of crimes that we would face harsh penalties for.

Indeed, and again, people criticize this site for comparing allegations of wrongdoings made against cops to allegations of criminal acts made against citizens, saying instead we should compare convictions of cops vs allegations against citizens.

It’s cases like this that prove it’s a bad comparison to use because, clearly, it shows that we are held to a much higher standard of behavior than the police are… that we are often charged with crimes that an officer would never be charged with despite otherwise similar circumstances.

As for the victim in this case, we’ll keep an eye out in case we hear of any change in his status, we certainly hope that he pulls through… no matter what defenders of police misconduct try to suggest, there’s no way that he deserved this.

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