I recommend reading the full Seattle Times article by Sara Jean Green, “Cleared after stabbing, former UW student wants his life back“. I think it’s the most factually based narrative and relies on trial testimony, providing the perspectives presented at trial (defendant, complaining witness, and eyewitnesses). Copy from her article below is in italics
Jarred Ha’s Account of the Night
Just after midnight on Jan. 25, 2015, Ha and a group of friends set out on a “21 Run” to a trio of University District bars to celebrate one woman’s 21st birthday. ..
Ha said he’d been drinking that night but wasn’t drunk. He and a male friend waited outside the “rugby house,” where a party was under way…
Ha was then greeted by one of the rugby players who had attended the party but lived in the same five-unit apartment building as Ha and his roommates, about a mile south.
According to Ha, she routinely took up two parking spots at their apartment building, which had become a sore subject among the other tenants. He suggested she needed “to park straighter.”
The woman punched Ha in the head, according to Ha and the defense’s trial brief. She swung again, he blocked the blow, and she ended up on the ground.
The woman punches him in the head over a parking remark, goes to strike him again but falls down… and he still helps her off the ground. This is not the behavior of the villain people made Ha out to be (discussed further below.)l
As he reached to help her up, he said, he was punched in the head from behind as up to four other women joined the fray.
“I didn’t know who they were, what gender they were. I’m pushing back, punching back, just trying to get out of there,” he said.
At least one of his punches connected, blackening a woman’s eye.
As Ha and his friend walked away, the women yelled taunts and one followed the men a short distance, swatting at Ha’s head.
Graham Harper’s Account of the Night (text from the Seattle Times in italics)
Harper was highly intoxicated as indicated by a blood alcohol content (BAC) at six and a half times the legal limit for his age (19 y.o.). Underage persons have a 0.02 BAC limit. Legal drinkers have, in most jurisdictions, a 0.08 BAC limit, above which, it becomes a criminal act to operate a motor vehicle.
Harper’s BAC was at 0.13. His intoxication might account for some of the logical deficiencies in his story like… (1) why, after Ha walked away, he would choose spontaneously to return to fight someone much larger than him, or (2) how exactly walking was an “aggressive gesture”, how one might walk so as not to be considered “aggressively gesturing,” and (3) how Harper got from that point in time to the point where he grabs Ha and slams his head into a car.
[Harper] said in an interview that he came out of the rugby house, saw a girl crying and inserted himself between Ha and the women. He said he told Ha to leave, and Ha started walking away, but then came back.
“I took that as an aggressive gesture because I had seen him do violence before,” Harper said, referring to the fight [he did not witness] with the women.
Apparently, the size difference between the two men was significant. An unconnected and sober eyewitness said Harper was “definitely bigger,” and Harper’s own statements suggest, disturbingly, that he slammed Ha not just head first, but face first into the parked car. They further suggest that the size difference was large enough that Harper could just pick Ha up.
He acknowledges slamming Ha into a car: “I slammed him in the car one time — it’s not like I picked him up and repeatedly bashed his head. He had no more than a black eye.”
I’m not sure how many fights Harper has been in, but I’ve seen a few and I have never once seen an eye socket bruise immediately upon traumatic impact. Almost always, the main reaction is massive swelling. It’s usually the next day when the darkening and “black eye” becomes apparent.
Harper said he never saw Ha’s knife. His left leg, chest and groin were cut and one jab punctured his abdomen, causing a small section of intestine to protrude.
But Ha and other witnesses testified that the women attacked Ha. Then, after that altercation was over, Harper ran Ha down and started beating him, they said.
Ha, who said he feared he would die from having his head repeatedly slammed into a car, said he showed Harper his knife and told him to back off, then wasn’t sure that he’d actually cut Harper.
The Eyewitnesses Implicate Harper’s Story as Fabricated
Friends Shane Colburn and Elana Helfand, both UW students who were sober and had no connection to anyone involved in the fight, happened upon the scene as Ha tussled with the women. They saw the first woman fall to the ground and watched Ha walk away as “this other girl was punching and slapping him in the head,” said Colburn.
“He [Ha] wasn’t hitting her back, more like blocking her strikes,” said Colburn, 22, who along with Helfand testified at Ha’s trial.
Colburne indicates that is was Harper who was the aggressor, that Ha had attempted to walk away from the situation.
That’s when Harper came out of the house and went “full-on sprinting” after Ha, “yelling something to the effect of, ‘You never hit girls,’ ” Colburn said in an interview. “I remember being concerned this was escalating now — the way he was running was aggressive.”
From his vantage, Colburn said, he saw Harper grab Ha and repeatedly ram Ha into parked cars.
“I had my phone out and yelled to them I was going to call the cops,” said Colburn. “Graham was definitely bigger than Jarred.”
He looked away as he spoke with a 911 dispatcher, and when he looked back, Ha was gone and there was blood pooling at Harper’s feet. Colburn and Helfand tended to Harper and waited with him until the ambulance came.
The incident, and Ha’s arrest, were covered by Seattle media. Harper was hailed as a hero and a protector of women.
So before you read the news coverage, in my summary, I’ll use swap the racial identities as a mental exercise…
A white man asked on behalf of himself and his neighbors, if this Asian woman, when she went back to the apartment complex later where they both lived, if she could park in one spot and not in two spots at once. A verbal altercation happened and the Asian woman assaulted him. As he blocked her blows she fell to the ground and accused him of attacking her.
While he was helping the Asian woman up, the white man was attacked by her Asian friends, in the process of defending himself struck one woman around the eye.
Having defused that situation, the white man attempted to leave yet again until a much larger Asian man came running at him, ran him down and beat him. He grabbed the white man and smashed his face and head against parked cars repeatedly, and when the white man finally feared for his life, he used a knife to defend himself. The Asian man, an army reservist, sustained serious knife wounds.
Ask yourself if you truly believe that Jarred Ha would have been described in the same way if he was white and Harper was Asian?
The narrative from these photos repeated a concept inherently and easily acceptable to the population. White men protect women, they are “heroes” and Asian men are angry and cowardly and attack women over trivial things.
The jury acquitted Ha, believing the eyewitnesses and Ha, implicating Harper as the initial and unprovoked aggressor.
Run It Backwards, Not Forwards.
To see the disturbing lesson, the one unnoticed, we need to take a look at the chronology of decision points.
The initial attacker, the one who struck at Ha first he started the whole mess, understandably avoided the trial. She committed an unprovoked felonious assault. She left the country and stayed in Europe for the duration Ha’s ordeal. To my knowledge she was not charged with any crime.
The prosecution knew the eyewitnesses said it was Harper who attacked Ha when they turned the screws on Ha… Plead to a felony or risk your life in prison, they said. What?! Wait, they knew what everyone’s testimony was going to be and they did this?
Why? Corruption? Racism? Pride? None of these are acceptable in civil society. These are the guys making prosecution decisions for The People. And it’s not some puny first year line DA either. Big publicity cases involve a Chief or the DA personally. So even if the charging DA made a mistake, there was another high up decision to proceed. That disgusts me.
They made Ha risk his life at trial on no evidence except Harper’s story which, as you read above, was riddled with holes, inconsistencies, and contradicted by EVERY WITNESS. Did they just assume the white guy was going to be more credible to the jury and they could sweep it under the rug?
They had enough to charge Harper, but they were going ahead with Ha who faced over a decade of prison if he tried to fight.
I have massive respect for Ha. This guy has fucking BALLS. He got attacked three times that night, and fought back. He got bullied by the cops and DA, got kicked out from school (presumption of innocence? Not for Asian men I guess), went into debt, and had an easy out with a plea agreement, but he stood up and fought for the truth and what was right. He exposed the absolute bigotry and ineptitude of the DA and cops there. The scary thing is that for every Jarred Ha, thousands of others go unnoticed; they’re the quiet victims of institutional racists.
But not Jarred. Jarred Ha fought back and risked it all in the process. Jarred Ha fought back and won.
Guess who didn’t get kicked out of school? Guess who didn’t get prosecuted. Graham Harper. And they say white privilege doesn’t exist. Ha!