Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement



feminist wire | daily newsbriefs


Police Chief’s Wife Dies; Reports of Abuse Continue to Surface

After filing for divorce to escape more than a decade of abuse, Crystal Brame, the estranged wife of Tacoma Washington Police Chief David Brame, died Saturday after clinging to life for nearly a week. On April 26, Crystal was shot by her husband, who then turned the gun on himself in front of the couple’s two children after they met in a shopping mall parking lot.

In the two weeks following the shooting, reports have begun to surface about David Brame’s history including a 1988 date rape. According to Margaret Moore, director of FMF’s National Center for Women and Policing “Brame’s behavior was a classic profile of a police domestic abuser. There were indications that were ignored by the department and the elected officials. Police family violence policies should be mandatory for every department.”

The shooting occurred just one day after reports of David Brame’s abusive behavior – detailed in divorce proceedings – became public and Tacoma officials urged that his gun be taken away. City Attorney Robin Jenkinson rejected that recommendation on grounds that “divorce was none of the city’s business,” the Washington Post reported. Under the Lautenberg Amendment or Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban that was approved by Congress in 1996, anyone convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor is prohibited from owning a gun – including police officers.

Reports that David Brame date-raped a woman at gunpoint in 1988 had started to resurface more than a month before the shooting incident, according to the Associated Press. The woman, who claims that Brame forced her to have sex with him at gunpoint after a date, reported the incident to a police officer shortly afterwards. The alleged rape was investigated and the complaint was declared, “not sustained,” by then Police Chief Ray Fjetland, according to the AP. Fjetland told the woman that Brame would be sent to a police psychologist. In addition, in 1981 a police psychologist declared Brame “unfit for police work,” according to the Post.

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs is conducting an investigation into Brame’s career with the Tacoma Police Department and his promotion to police chief.

LEARN MORE For the victims of police family violence, you are not alone. Get help now

ASK A QUESTION Renae Griggs, Executive Director of the National Police Family Violence Prevention Project will be answering questions until Friday, May 9 about the issue of police family violence

Media Resources: Washington Post 5/5/03; Associated Press 5/5/03; Seattle Times 5/4/03, 5/2/03; Seattle Post-Intelligencer 5/3/03

© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.



Send to a Friend

More Feminist News

10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost. The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot. SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy." "We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event. SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1. The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .