Family files civil lawsuit against neighbor who is criminally charged for hate crime
SHORELINE, Wash. - A woman criminally charged for racial hate crime is accused of continuing to harass and stalk her neighbors. Thi Pham and her family said they worry the negative behavior will escalate before the woman’s next court hearing in the hate crime case.
"I feel like my life is danger every day I go outside. And I don’t feel like safe in my house," said Pham.
Pham is from Vietnam and English is her second language. She moved to Shoreline about four years ago and is married with a two-year-old son.
Pham said her next-door neighbor, Jan Myers, has been calling her racial slurs and stalking. Her family and the alleged tormentor live less than 100 feet away from each other in Shoreline. She said their family has tried to ignore the comments and considered moving to a new home.
Pham and her attorney, Jeff Campiche, held a news conference Tuesday with her husband and translator by her side. She said she has had enough of the pain and suffering from Myers’ alleged harassment for the last four years and filed a civil lawsuit.
"I feel shocked and feel so horrible every time I go to sleep. I have trouble go to sleep and I had bad dreams," said Pham.
Pham said in April she was working in her garden and Myers stepped outside half-naked from the waist down, flipping her middle finger and saying racist comments in front of Pham’s son. Pham recorded video of the encounter on her cellphone. A few days later, Myers’ was recorded again, this time while sitting in her car with a window rolled down yelling racial slurs and saying "You’re not going to live very long." Pham said that was her breaking point, as she considered Myers’ comment to be a threat.
"I was so scared and shake and I cry and get in the house. Send video for my husband and I call the police and then after that, she had arrested," said Pham as she wiped her tears.
The Shoreline Police Department is contracted through the King County Sheriff’s Office. Officers investigated, reviewed the cellphone video of the alleged threat and arrested Myers. Court documents said at least five other neighbors told officers about their own issues with Myers’ behavior. Court documents also said Pham’s husband, Bill Healy, showed officers the video of Myers exposing herself.
Myers was booked in King County Jail and prosecutors charged her with a hate crime. Court documents said she was released on personal recognizance with conditions that she did not violate a protection order and did not make any contact with Pham or her family. However, Healy said Myers continued stalking and harassing his wife and son.
"The neighbor has been saying racist things to my wife for years when she walks by the house. So, it does seem to be because of my wife’s race and then escalating to threats of harming her and that she won’t live very long," said Healy.
Q13 News stopped by Myers' house Tuesday afternoon for comment, but no one answered the door.
Though Myers’ case for the hate crime is pending in criminal court, Pham’s attorney said he is concerned why she wasn’t held accountable for violating the protection order.
"The police sergeant said to me ‘Well this lady was just in the park, people can go to the park.’ Well, she was in the park because Thi’s family was in the park and she often follows her with a car to the park," said Campiche.
A public information officer for the sheriff’s office said in the last two years, only two 911 calls have been made to report Myers. The spokesperson said during both responses, officers conducted an investigation and recommended charges to the prosecutor’s office.
Pham and her attorney said they hope Myers will face a jury for the hate crime charge but realize the court’s backlog due to COVID-19 is slowing the process. They said they hope the civil lawsuit they just filed against Myers will move through the system quicker, ultimately giving Pham and her family long-awaited sense of peace and security.
"I hope [what] happened to me not happen with other people. I hope it stops. That I want," said Pham as she wiped her tears.
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