The day my son was stabbed, cored and carved the prosecutor called me and said this: “Although we can’t tell you not to talk to the press, we can say it could interfere with the trial.” So we didn’t talk to the press.
We had the Harborview communications staff field calls and tell every reporter that we weren’t making statements or giving interviews. Although prosecutors’ offices have their reasons, in our case, making our decisions based on this observation was harmful. While we were playing by the rules, the accused was busy hiding evidence, tampering with witnesses, and otherwise behaving badly. This shouldn’t have been a surprise.
Tip: when people tell you who they are believe them. If, while making decisions, we had lifted the hospital covers and looked again at the strategically placed carvings to our son’s body, we could have reminded ourselves not to expect anything but more criminal behavior. If we had it to do over, we would take pictures of the life-threatening injuries to our son and give them to the press while he was on life support. I would give the medical records to them as well. The surgical team had made extensive records while operating. Each of the attacker's six attempts to kill our son was extensively documented by the medical team.
Once the trial is over the prosecutor cannot help restore the victims' lives. The system essentially ties prosecutors' hands post trial. If the accused is guilty or acquitted and decides to revictimize you in the press, online, stalk you, etc. the prosecutor will not help you.
Reporters want a story – make sure it’s the truth and it's yours. In our son’s case, his attacker falsely claimed he only meant to “nick” our son and that Graham’s injuries were only minor. (The picture below is a 3 inch deep stab wound to the left chest. The attacker buried the knife in the rib bone, thankfully thwarting this additional attempt on his life.)
The attackers false claims were erroneously restated by a local reporter who did no research.
The reporter fully contradicted Harborview's chief trauma surgeon, who noted: “His chest x-ray did not show a pneumothorax, which is an injury to the lung caused by any of the stab wounds. The one most of concern is the one I described on the left chest. . . If it had gone into the chest, it could injure the lung and cause collapse, then you get a, what's called a "pneumothorax," which can also cause a cardiac arrest if not treated…” “We checked the, just briefly checked the wound in the chest with a finger and it appeared to go in and bury in a rib is why the wound didn't go into the chest. It seemed to have stuck into a rib and stopped there.” (Testimony of Ronald V. Maier, MD, Chief-of-Surgery, Harborview Medical Center).
From The Seattle Weekly (http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/how-an-off-campus-stabbing-tore-open-the-debate-over-weapons-race-and-retaliation/) where reporters did investigate: "[Ha is] dismissive of the idea that he was trying to be lethal with the knife, and says he never formally trained with the karambit. 'I just wanted to aim low,' he says. 'He chased me, and I didn’t want to kill him. They can say femoral artery … but let’s be real, the femoral artery? It wasn’t like I wanted to get the femoral artery. I didn’t want to get a lung or the heart or the neck so I aimed towards the legs … I didn’t even know if I got him.'" claimed Jarred Ha.
Again, make sure the truth is given early and repeatedly.
Tips for talking to reporters:
give visuals (pictures) and provide official records (eg: 911 calls, medical records, dash cams, etc.). . .