Internet publisher John Hathaway and his wife, Carolyn Cohen, filed claims totaling $99,250 against the City of Tacoma on Tuesday, charging that an e-mail they received from Tacoma police officer Patrick Frantz last year caused them to fear for their safety and aggravated Cohen's medical condition.
Hathaway, publisher of The New Takhoman, said he received the e-mail from police union President Frantz on April 28, 2003, two days after Tacoma Police Chief David Brame fatally shot his wife, Crystal, and then killed himself with his department-issued handgun.
Hathaway, who first made public details of the Brames' divorce proceedings - including Crystal Brame's allegations of domestic violence - said in his claim that Frantz's "e-mail threatened me with deadly force."
"It put me in fear for my safety and welfare, including that of my wife, who also lives here," Hathaway wrote.
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Cohen's claim says the e-mail created stress and worsened a medical condition for which she had surgery shortly afterward.
Frantz's e-mail read in part: "If you want to throw stones you had better live in a bulletproof glass house."
Because Frantz used the word "we" in the e-mail, Hathaway said he believes Frantz "was acting on behalf of himself and others in the police department."
Frantz was placed on administrative leave shortly after Hathaway complained about the e-mail but returned to work in mid-August after state prosecutors ruled the e-mail was not a crime. No charges were filed.
Frantz told investigators the e-mail was not a threat but acknowledged he used poor word selection and that he should have said "shatterproof" instead of "bulletproof."
Police conducted their own internal affairs investigation into the incident and sustained Hathaway's complaint, but the discipline against Frantz has not been made public.
Acting City Attorney Elizabeth Pauli said the claims will be sent to the city's risk management office for assessment and then to her office. If the city doesn't settle the claims within 60 days, Hathaway and Cohen can seek their damages in Superior Court. Pauli said she hadn't seen the claims, so she had no comment on them.
Kris Sherman: 253-597-8659