NCBF recently had an incredible result on an important case. When his public defender met him the morning of arraignment, our client appeared to have been severely beaten. His eye was swollen completely shut and leaking fluid, which he was having to try and wipe on the cinderblock walls since he was shackled and given no tissue. He also had other injuries to his body. His case began as a trespass for standing on a sidewalk in front of a church, which also functioned as a shelter where he was a regular visitor. Our client consistently maintained that, while he stood there, an SPD officer walked up and punched him right in the eye. Nonetheless, our client was charged with assault–allegedly on an SPD police officer–and criminal trespass. Despite the fact he was unsheltered, that he had no ability to pay a monetary bail, and had been brutalized by the police, the Court issued a monetary bail.
NCBF was immediately responsive to requests to post bail, but still, our client had already spent 12 days in jail on these charges. The case was then dismissed, in part because video verified his story. Last week, the Officer involved in this incident was criminally charged with assault for punching our client in the face:
This is absolutely a case where our client would likely have been forced to plead guilty to Assault–when he was actually the victim–in order to get out of jail at his first pretrial hearing if NCBF had not posted the bail on his behalf. Had our client pled guilty to assaulting this Officer to get out of jail, this Officer may never have faced any accountability for his actions. The public defender writes that “This is exactly the type of situation that demands bail reform, and why we are so appreciative of NCBF’s assistance for our clients. Thanks to NCBF posting [our client’s] bail. Our client has been acquitted and this incident will at least shed a little bit of light on the way our indigent and unsheltered clients are treated by SPD on a regular basis.”