You might remember the Marks family. Back in the late 1980s, Jimmy and Grover Marks sued the city of Spokane in federal court for police raids on two Marks family homes.
According to a New York Timesarticle about the suit, police "ripped gold-plated false fingernails from women's hands, removed earrings from a 5-year-old girl and even searched a baby's diapers."
All told, police seized $160,000 worth of jewelry and $1.6 million in cash from the family of Gypsies, some of which was sewn into family quilts. It took hours to haul away. The legal battle that ensued lasted a decade and ended in settlement as the city was waiting for a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on felony charges against the family. Those charges were dismissed, and the city paid the family $1.43 million. That amount was considered one of the highest settlements for a police misconduct case in the nation. (The city of Seattle just settled a police-abuse case for $1.97 million last week.)
A few months ago, Tommy Marks, filed another lawsuit, mostly written by hand, this time against the entire state of Washington. Tommy Marks claims that police throughout the state have been harassing him and his family for the past 21 years as payback for the settlement, according to court documents. (The suit names the state of Washington, Governor Jay Inslee, Sen. Patty Murray, Rep. Kathy McMorris Rodgers, Rosauers Supermarkets, Spokane Mayor David Condon and Spokane Council President Ben Stuckart, among others, as defendants.)
Listed under causes of action in the lawsuit are "vilation [sic] of Plaintiff's cicil [sic] rights, assault, battery, slander, libel, reckless endangerment, harassment, abuse of authority, reckless infleiction [sic] of emotional distress and tortuous [sic] conduct."
One example of harassment from police, according to court filings, occurred in Tacoma. Marks says his family was forced to move there after a Washington state trooper stalked his entire family for 21 years. Apparently, during a run in with police in Tacoma, Fircrest Police Officer Eric Norling referred to Tommy Marks as "Shrek," a comment he didn't take kindly to.
The State Attorney General's Office and Assistant City Attorney Nate Cole filed motions to dismiss the case, on the ground that Marks failed to identify any relief for the state's alleged harassment.
"I'd be really surprised if this goes anywhere," says Peter Lavallee, spokesman for the Attorney General's office.
A court date has been set for August 10 in Spokane.
Here's a video of Tommy Marks talking about the case, among a litany of issues he addresses regarding his rights being allegedly violated:
CORRECTION: This article incorrectly identified the petitioner in this lawsuit, Tommy Sanko Marks, as Jimmy Marks' son. Although Jimmy Marks does have a son named Tommy Sanko Marks, he is not the same person as the man who filed this lawsuit. The two Tommy's are cousins.
Mitch covers cops, crime and courts for the Inlander. He moved to Spokane in 2015 from his hometown of St. Louis, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He likes bikes, beer and baseball. And coffee. He dislikes lemon candy, close-mindedness and liars. And temperatures below 40 degrees.