BAP Blog Interview of Jarred Ha
February 23, 2016
Hey Jarred, thanks very much for agreeing to the interview. I know you have been busy, and you had mentioned some upcoming vacation time squeezing the schedule, so again, thank you.
But before I start, I wanted to acknowledge that you went through a tremendous ordeal. You were staring at serious prison time, making decisions that had you contemplating being torn from family and friends, put under financial strain, while still fighting and strategizing with your defense team in what I imagine might have been the biggest fight of your life… for your life. From my perspective, you rose to the occasion, fought anyone and everyone who sought to do an injustice upon you, including a state government, and you prevailed. It was inspirational to watch and witness.
How are you? How’s your health and your mental well being?
At the moment I am doing well, being a free man brings a huge weight off of my shoulders. This is a great improvement because I went through some depression and PTSD symptoms through this past year. I can now sleep easier at night and am more relaxed while going through my day-to-day activities .
One friend wanted me to ask what it was like in terms of stigma, being accused. How was your family affected. Did it have lasting effects even though you were exonerated?
The stigma of being accused was very horrible; everyone treated me like I was already a convicted criminal. I mean besides the people who knew me but the UW, the state and the media all acted like Graham’s story was so matter of fact and I was the bad guy of that night. It felt awful and really got to me emotionally. My whole family took this very hard, aunties and uncles who I haven’t talked to in years reached out to me. This was all very hard on my family my dad to this day is still recovering emotionally.
I’m quite sorry to hear that… Glad to hear the recovery process is happening though.. Here’s a fact specific question: as there or numerous reports that repeated the fact that you were taunted during the fights. What was said to you? Did it irk you?
Oh they were calling me a “bitch”, telling me to “come back and fight you pussy” no it doesn’t really bother me, I try to be level headed about that.
A reader was curious about what your thoughts were as the whole fight unfolded. What were you thinking as the conflict began and evolved? What was in your head afterward before you heard from the police?
So in the beginning I was more just fed up with the situation, when Maddie was yelling at me and when she punched me is when I became very surprised and taken back. As her friends jumped me I was just thinking “cover your face” I knew it only takes one good punch to knock someone out so I wasn’t trying to get dropped. Then when leaving that conflict and Maddie was swinging at me and yelling at me I remember thinking, “[d]amm, get away from me I am not trying to fight anymore.”
Once I got away from the Rugby House I was calmer then when Graham approached me I first tried ignoring him because I didn’t want to get into another fight. Then when he engaged me and I started to fight back I came to the realization that my punches were not wavering his onslaught that is when I thought “I need to do something different”. When I got slammed into a car I knew I needed to do something different or else “I was going to die and, my friend would have to drag me home”.
Apparently this thought is not uncommon for people who have their lives put in danger but one of the main things going through my head when I pulled out the knife was “I want to go home, I just want to go home”. Hopefully that brings you a little insight on what
The media before my case went to trial was super biased, very one sided and just made me very mad as well as sad. The lies put out there made me mad because I knew Graham was just eating it up and just going out there spreading lies about me. It also made me sad knowing my once good name was tarnished.
Mass media coverage was careful not to racialize any aspect of the case explicitly, did you ever feel that any of your treatment by anyone would have been different if you were, say, a white man? By anyone I am including your attackers, the police, the District Attorney (Int’l readers, this is the position of the local criminal prosecutor.)?
That is a hard one, I think a lot of the bias against me was more based on the fact that I had a weapon then it was that I was Asian. A lot of people do not view a knife as a defensive type weapon when it very well can be. Now Graham did call me a racial slur when he was waiting for an ambulance, so out of everyone that night he was probably the most racially-driven person.
Personally, Ielt on your behalf at a lot of different turns in the case. There were a lot of dark clouds. Would you care to share any silver linings any unexpected positive experiences that arose from this whole ordeal?
My family has become a lot closer after this; we are stronger than ever now. Not just my immediate family but my extended family has become a lot closer. Also my lawyers Zach Wagnild and Michelle Scudder are two very close family friends now! It is too bad we met them under such dire consequences but they are amazing lawyers and exceptional people.
That and all of the support I get from people who hear my story is just overwhelming it makes me so happy knowing people see the truth and are so fast to support me.
A warm thank you from me and on behalf of the readers of my blog. Enjoy the vacation time bro.
BAP Blogger & Some Real Talk (in which In which Jarred took no part in writing) and the DA…
King County DA Shames the Office, the People, and Lacks Moral Character.
As indicated in the interview, Jarred was made to understand that he was charged because he defended himself with a knife. The DA’s position was repeated in the Seattle Times comment section by Mr. Larson who appears to be a spokesperson for the department.
GJL commented: I’m waiting to see if Graham Harper and the girls who attacked Ha are charged with assault and battery. You have the wi tnesses to make good cases against them. It will affect my 2018 vote for King County Prosecutor.
Tom Larson: Thank you for your message. As you likely know, this was a very impacting event for all involved. Mr. Ha introduced a knife into a fight where no weapons were present and caused very serious injuries to Mr. Harper. In our view, the escalation of a fight into an armed encounter with near-fatal injuries in the name of self-defense is the type of case that a jury is uniquely qualified to rule upon – resolving issues about whether the force used was justified in the first instance and was no more than was necessary under all of the circumstances. Nonetheless, this office deeply respects the unique perspective of jurors who get to hear and weigh all of the evidence and this case is no exception.
The prosecution’s argument might have had merit if it didn’t misstate the facts. Every witness, every single person who saw what went on, agreed on one thing: there was no fight until Graham Harper started the fight by assaulting Jarred. Prior to the trial Graham interviewed with a newspaper in which he claims to have confronted Jarred and that he made the confrontation a physical one by pushing Jared first.
Unless the prosecutors endorse vigilante justice, the correct thing to do after a fight is over, and you believe that somebody has been victimized, is to call the police. In this case Graham did not even have good reason to be acting as a vigilante, as he did not see the encounter, and he grossly misunderstood it, perhaps due to intoxication. Failure to charge the initial aggressor sends a clear signal to the community – pursue your own justice, even if you’re wrong, we’ll give you a pass.
The testimony indicates also that Jarred did not just pull out a knife. In fact, Jarred did not use the knife until after the second escalation.
The first escalation is when Graham began to commit felonious assault against Jarred, who was trying to go the opposite direction.
The second escalation is when Graham decided to start slamming Jarred’s head into park cars, something which alarmed both witnesses, prompted them to call the police immediately. The manner in which Graham slammed Jarred into cars does appears to have justified a felony mayhem charge as well. When Jared thought to himself that he was unsure whether he would live past that night, only then did he pull out the knife. Other than Graham’s fabricated testimony (which the jury did not find credible) the evidence showed that Jarred first warned Graham not to continue assaulting him and only after Graham continued did Jarred defend himself.
The office was willing to slap Jarred with the felony conviction without much time. Why? Pride and ego? Now that it’s the right thing to do with Graham, why are they so shy? White privilege much? Furthermore while the injuries were serious, this would be the first time I’ve heard of the injuries here described as near-fatal.
- Dear King County DA – This Is What Makes You Morally Bankrupt
So let’s review, shall we? All witnesses backed Jarred’s account of the fight. No one corroborated Garaham’s account, and even Graham slipped up in a petrial newspaper interview by saying he began physically assaulting Jarred first. And your “star witness,” the attacker, was intoxicated six times the legal limit for his age. The two bystanders watched Graham run toward Jarred aggressively, start beating him, and slamming him against cars, and you wanted a jury to decide what?
“…issues about whether the force used was justified in the first instance and was no more than was necessary under all of the circumstances.”
Graham took the stand to say he slammed Jarred’s head into a parked car at least once, and the DA could not decide if a man was justified in using any amount of force to defend himself?
Seattle, get yourself a new DA. This one seems to be intimidated by a self absorbed teenage rugby player.
They knew what the case was going to show; the case was a loser and instead of doing the right thing and dumping it, they did the prideful thing and tried to sweep it under the rug. “Hey Jarred, a slap on the wrist but one that comes with a felony conviction.”
When they couldn’t get that, instead of dumping the case, they went full court press and nearly ruined a man, stole away his freedom, his time from his family… and why? Their pride and egos.
So don’t buy the officious speech about the jury hearing and seeing all the evidence, as if it was only then revealed to the prosecution then.
“Nonetheless, this office deeply respects the unique perspective of jurors who get to hear and weigh all of the evidence and this case is no exception.”
And one last thing DAs. Don’t imply you got some kind of perfect storm freak jury. You got a bad result (from your perspective) because you prosecuted the victim. The jury IS the voice of the community, and they told you to sit your asses down.
Besides this whole “unique perspective ” jury…’ Well, you should brush up on your trial practice … you picked the jury too.