Pierce County prospect operating on law-and-order system has prison history

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Josh Harris, who has emerged as a single of the most fierce defenders of law enforcement during a collection of scandals, has entered the Pierce County Council race.

Harris, 47, is functioning as a professional-law enforcement prospect and states the groups calling for reforms are fixated on “racial difficulties that really do not exist.”

Harris, who owns Tacoma-primarily based Integrity Development, inserted himself into two of Pierce County’s most controversial ongoing law enforcement sagas. He posted a $300,000 bond to get 3 Tacoma law enforcement officers charged with killing Manuel Ellis out of jail even though they await demo. And he intervened in a prison investigation on behalf of Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer, who has been charged with building a untrue report.

Inspite of his campaign’s emphasis on law and buy, Harris brings his have criminal background to the race.

From November 2001 as a result of April 2002, Harris altered 17 checks compensated to him by a Tacoma nightclub for servicing get the job done “to significantly enhance the total of the check” by additional than $24,000, according to courtroom data.

When Tacoma police questioned Harris, he at first denied it but in the end admitted to the criminal offense and pleaded responsible to two counts of theft, a person a felony and one a misdemeanor, according to court information. This 7 days, he explained he felt justified altering the checks, believing he was underpaid for the function.

“I brazenly admitted I took the checks to fork out myself back again,” Harris claimed in a cell phone job interview. “I’m not ashamed of it. I did no jail time. I did no jail time.”

He was sentenced to 30 days in jail that he was permitted to provide as in-house detention, 240 several hours of neighborhood service and 12 months of supervision. Harris was five days absent from finishing his household detention when his ankle bracelet set off an alert.

An agent for the house detention monitoring company confirmed the reduce-off ankle monitor was found in Harris’ area, and he was nowhere to be discovered. But there ended up no even further consequences in his legal scenario, according to courtroom data.

In 2007, he documented a pair of jet skis and their trailer stolen and received an insurance plan settlement worth more than $15,000. Additional than a year later on, a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy on patrol on Fox Island spotted the jet skis, deserted in a subject. The home proprietor explained they belonged to a relative, Harris, who experienced stored them there around the time they had been noted stolen.

Harris told deputies he had discovered his stolen home by likelihood in an industrial park parking lot in February 2007, a thirty day period soon after he claimed them stolen, and saved them with a relative, according to court records. He cashed four insurance policies checks in March, April and June 2007, but unsuccessful to report the recovered home to law enforcement or his insurer, according to court information.

Harris downplayed the importance of the prison situation in a cell phone job interview. “I only forgot to call my insurance firm,” he said. “It was not even a mistake.”

He was charged with felony theft, misdemeanor theft and a false promises cost, and eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor rates, such as hiding residence and tried fake claims. He gained a suspended 1-yr jail sentence with credit history for two times in jail, 28 times on house detention, 12 months of probation and was purchased to pay back $15,635 in restitution, in accordance to court docket records.

“I have absolutely nothing to hide about it,” Harris stated. “You make faults, you possess them, you fix them.”

Bail for charged officers

Soon after submitting for personal bankruptcy much more than 20 decades in the past, Harris built a thriving building small business whose function incorporates the refurbished Cheney Stadium and advancements to former Seahawk Russell Wilson’s Bellevue mansion.

Harris occasionally designed regional headlines for his charitable functions: aiding a family displaced by fire, furnishing resources to a struggling carpenter after his had been stolen, donating a pickup to another person who required it to get to function, distributing toys to young children in require and serving on the Pierce County CrimeStoppers board.

But when Harris invested $30,000 of his personal funds to publish bail for the officers charged with killing Ellis, his philanthropy turned controversial. It grew to become a rallying place for the officers and their supporters, who became additional publicly vocal right after their launch from jail, clashing on social media with Ellis’ household and their supporters.

Monèt Carter-Mixon, Ellis’ sister, reported Harris is the embodiment of a double typical in the Pierce County authorized method and known as his candidacy “a undesirable circumstance waiting to happen.”

“He’s a indeed-male for the police and their pursuits. If there is sufficient politicians supporting their conduct, the cops will be equipped to maintain creating blunders, continue to keep killing individuals, continue to keep paying for additional multimillion-dollar lawsuits that you blame the victims and their households for,” she reported.

Pierce County recently settled a lawsuit from Ellis’ family members for $4 million. The family’s lawsuit against Tacoma is pending.

Harris also emerged in the investigation into Troyer, the Pierce County sheriff who faces trial in July on misdemeanor expenses of false reporting and earning a fake or misleading statement. The costs stem from Troyer’s reporting to Tacoma police that a Black newspaper carrier, Sedrick Altheimer, confronted him in his community all around 2 a.m. on Jan. 26, 2021, and threatened to destroy him. When a huge police reaction arrived, Troyer backtracked on that claim.

Pierce County commissioned an independent investigation into Troyer’s interaction with Altheimer. Harris voluntarily arrived ahead and explained to investigators that he experienced his possess confrontation with Altheimer a calendar year just before his run-in with Troyer, and that it prompted Harris to attract a gun.

Harris’ 2002 felony conviction prevented him from possessing a gun, but he explained he petitioned the court docket to have his firearm privileges restored, and that South Seem 911 issued him a hid have allow. He did not give documentation to assistance that declare.

Harris told investigators that he did not realize Altheimer’s auto in his community late at night time, and began following it. Altheimer acquired out and confronted Harris, annoyed that he was getting adopted, in accordance to Harris. Harris later told investigators his handgun was on his lap in the course of the discussion, and soon Altheimer still left to finish his paper route.

That led the consultants investigating Troyer to conclude in their ultimate report “that Mr. Altheimer has earlier engaged in inappropriate and at moments aggressive conduct when he perceives he falls beneath suspicion in the system of doing his career.”

Lawyers representing Altheimer, who has filed a lawsuit towards Pierce County, did not reply to messages looking for remark. Altheimer beforehand claimed repeated harassment from suspicious white guys when he was out on his late-evening responsibilities as a newspaper provider.

“OK Corral is just close to the corner”

Harris is 1 of 4 Republicans in search of the nomination to depict the Pierce County Council’s 7th District, which spans Gig Harbor, Essential Peninsula, Fox Island, McNeil Island, Ruston, West Tacoma and North Tacoma. Incumbent Derek Younger, a Democrat, is barred by time period limits from looking for reelection.

Harris donated $20,000 to his campaign, employing the Las Vegas-based mostly consulting business Dark Horse Political, which lately managed Loren Culp’s unsuccessful GOP gubernatorial marketing campaign.

A condition legislation that took outcome this 12 months mechanically restores voting legal rights for individuals convicted of felonies as they are not actively serving a sentence. For Harris, that suggests no supplemental actions are demanded to restore the ideal to vote or operate for workplace, in accordance to the Washington secretary of state’s place of work.

Harris mentioned he’s jogging on a system of cutting spending on “ineffective” packages to fight homelessness, eliminating mandates for reasonably priced housing, and emphasizing legislation and buy.

Harris explained a tinge of bitterness more than law enforcement reform rules handed just lately by the Legislature, as nicely as the managing of the investigation into Ellis’ loss of life that resulted in costs against the Tacoma officers, ended up component of what encouraged him to request office.

He said he’s confident that if Gov. Jay Inslee hadn’t “ripped the investigation out of Pierce County’s arms and handed it to the [state] attorney normal,” the officers by no means would have been charged. Inslee eradicated the Pierce County Sheriff’s Division from the situation when it belatedly disclosed a conflict of fascination.

Harris dismisses the circumstance versus the officers — which is supported by videos and eyewitness accounts that contradict the officers’ statements Ellis was the aggressor — as “a political stunt” by Legal professional Normal Bob Ferguson’s business to placate “a household that doesn’t want to take accountability for the son’s drug dependancy,” dependent on methamphetamine discovered in Ellis’ program.

“There’s normally an excuse for you if you are a white gentleman with revenue like Josh Harris and make issues,” Carter-Mixon stated. ”Whereas, if you are a Black guy or woman — any minority — and do a thing that’s not on the amount, like my brother, they’re heading to try to make you appear 20 occasions worse than you are, even if at the end of the day you’re a sufferer.”

Harris stated the prices towards Troyer and the Tacoma officers, as perfectly as steps by the Legislature, have undermined legislation enforcement and led to a spike in criminal offense.

“We’re in 1890 Tombstone, and the Ok Corral is just all-around the corner for us if we never get items fixed,” Harris stated.