SHORELINE, Wash. — The victim of an anti-Asian hate crime in Shoreline is speaking out. She said a neighbor has been targeting her for years because of her race.
The suspect, Jan Meyers, was charged with a hate crime in April but released by a judge on personal recognizance. Now the victim said she is getting harassed again.
The victim, Thi Pham, and her husband, William Healy, filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court on Tuesday.
“My life is not safe every single day,” Pham said during a news conference on Tuesday. Pham is an American citizen of Vietnamese descent and had a translator with her helping clarify some questions but answered questions in English.
She and her husband said ever since they moved into their Shoreline neighborhood four years ago, a next-door neighbor has been harassing them.
“The neighbor has been saying racist things to my wife for years when she walks by the house,” Healy said.
Things escalated this spring. Pham said the neighbor, Meyers, was shouting racial slurs and then took off her pants and exposed herself to Pham and her young son. A cell phone video captured part of the incident.
Shortly after, another incident led to Meyers being charged with a hate crime.
Pham said she was planting some flowers when she noticed Meyers in her car. Court documents indicated Meyers was “sitting in her car on the roadway staring at her. Meyers moved her car forward and backward on the road. Pham was afraid of what Myers was going to do, so she began recording Meyers with her cell phone.”
“So people understand me and believe me,” Pham said.
Meyers can be heard using racial slurs. She rolls down the window and shouts, “Come on out, you slant eye!” And also says, “Hey, Miss Vietnam, hey.”
And then — a threat.
“You’re not going to live very long,” Meyers is heard shouting in the video before she drove away.
“I cry and go in the house and send the video to my husband, and I called the police. After that, she was arrested,” Pham said.
The family hoped that would be an end to the harassment. After the arrest, Meyers was released by a judge without bail on personal recognizance — with an order that she could not contact Pham.
But the family said the problems returned.
“She is continuing to harass this family,” said attorney Jeff Campiche, who is representing the family.
“My wife is scared to go outside. She’s scared to take our son into the backyard because she’s afraid she’ll be assaulted,” Healy said. “It’s really tough as a dad and a husband to have to watch that,” he said.
The criminal case, while filed, is clogged up in the court system. There are currently thousands of charged but not yet processed cases, all backlogged because of the pandemic.
“Extremely frustrated,” Healy said.
Meanwhile, the family has filed a civil case in hopes of getting a more robust restraining order and is speaking out.
“I hope this happen to me not happen with other people. I hope it stops. That’s what I want,” Pham said.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office confirmed it’s filed charges for 29 hate crimes so far this year, which is actually down a little bit from last year. Six of the 29 cases so far are hate crimes targeting people of Asian descent.
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