A letter to Bothell Police Chief Cummings | Letter

Car accidents happen. I get that. What I don’t get is the demeaning discrimination heaped upon me by the Bothell police and attending fire and paramedics after I was rear-ended on 228th Street this past May 9 at 1 p.m.

I’m sure they see a lot of accidents. Maybe they’re desensitized by them. But I’m not. And I was truly shaken after the incident and concerned that I might be hurt.

I called 911 and waited. I was crying and shaking when I emerged from the car. These were involuntary reflexes. I was not doing either on purpose.

The first thing the Bothell police officer said was, “You’re fine. Why are you crying?”

I said, “I don’t know.” I had intense neck pain. “I think I might be hurt.”

The officer replied, “Seriously, you’re fine. Have you never been in a car accident before?”

The paramedics arrived and began taking my vitals. Then my phone rang.“Answer it,” said the paramedic. I did. It was my husband. I muttered, “I’m okay…” “Give me the phone” the paramedic instructed. I did.

Then I heard a truly shocking question: “Is there a history of mental illness?”

I was stunned. I wasn’t acting irrationally in any way. I have since queried multiple health care providers who have said that my reactions were completely appropriate given the trauma experienced.

Your officers looked at me and treated me as if I were some kind of subhuman hysterical female. It was demeaning, condescending and unacceptable.

Is this the way you instruct your officers to conduct business?

Debra Rich Gettleman


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