Stranger pleads for justice for the Russells
September 24, 2013
To the editor:

Please share and help me get this out to the national media. It is a situation that happened in Joplin to Kevin Russell and his son. I feel this issue should be reported! I live in Montana and would hope someone would do the same for me if my family was facing the same hardships.

"I hate dealing with this but six months ago (March 2013) my family and I went through a horrible tragedy. We found my 16-year-old daughter with a self inflicted gun shot wound.

Dealing with the death of my daughter has been beyond difficult and especially the way she died. I was in a forgiving mood the next morning from the Joplin Police Department mistakes but then I read the police reports three weeks later and literally started shaking as to what they said. Not only that, I then learned that the police called my son's recruiting sergeant and told him that my son was unfit to serve. (That policeman later called me and told me that was procedure; however, Lane Roberts, the police chief, later told me IF that was standard procedure it was news to him and it would not happen again.) My son was supposed to be deployed to Afghanistan days after my daughter'ís death but it was called off due to the tragedy.

This is a brief recollection of what happened that terrible night. We called 911 speeding to the hospital. They told us to go the police station where there would be an ambulance waiting. My son and I placed my daughter in the ambulance and backed away.

An EMT turned to us to ask what happened. At that moment my daughter fell off of the gurney, I screamed, then the EMT pointed his finger in my face and screamed at me to calm down while never turning or tending to my daughter.

My son was standing next to me, being quiet and not moving. Then my son and I were pepper sprayed, locked up for 3.5 hours. (We were told we would be released in 20 minutes and were being charged w/ disturbing the peace.)

My daughter died at the hospital while my son and I were chained to a bench. My wife was there alone. They charged my son and I with assault, obstruction and disturbing the peace. I thought for sure everything would be dropped since I only screamed. It's been six months and the prosecutor now wants to charge me with assault and take anger management counseling.

I do not have anger issues. The police and EMT filed crazy reports. I'm going to turn to the media to tell this story. Many supporters recommended that I do that and so I am. Thank you,

Kevin Russell."

Destany Swan, Havre Montana

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Stern message for Joplin officialsg-elders1747612013-12-22 11:59:14