UPDATED: Prosecuting Attorney, Mark Nichols declines charging gun-wielding terrorists

Our Town founder, Chelsea Ward had a grand idea during the latter part of 2015.  She wanted to create a group that could band together to fight some of the problems facing Port Angeles including rising crime and homelessness.  

It started out simple enough, an invitation to a bar-b-que and the people come to hear what she had to say.

Ward’s chief concerns seemed to be the increasing number of homeless in town and the need to do something to end homelessness.  It began with a blanket exchange program and then a county sponsored needle exchange program.  This morphed into a system of viewing photos of poverty stricken individuals on Our Town’s Facebook page.  

Enter Adam Chamberlin.  Chamberlin, a sometime truck driver, sometime process server and, allegedly often time harasser of the homeless, appeared and changed the trajectory of the nascent Our Town group.  Chamberlin and others from Our Town would photograph people as they came to pick up a blanket or turn in dirty needles.  These photos ended up on Our Town’s Facebook page.  Naturally this drove the  homeless back into the woods to save what dignity they have left.

Allegedly, Chamberlin already had a beef with someone who happened to be homeless.  Most of the homeless on the streets of Port Angeles are longtime residents and some graduated high school here.  There are some petty animosities that go back decades.  Someone stole someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend sometime in the past.  

Allegedly, Chamberlin decided to use the cover provided by “Our Town” to exact vengeance on those with whom he had a beef.  Seems it became so much fun for him he decides to visit his wrath on anyone who is homeless or even if they merely appear homeless.  Those viewing Our Town’s Facebook page from home are above the fray on the street and do not know one poor person from another.  What is the attraction of viewing people suffering?  Only they know.

Thus the rise in reports of homeless individuals being harassed as they came into town for a meal at the Salvation Army.  Poor or homeless people began reporting being shot with paint-ball guns, having roofing tacks thrown in their face from a speeding car and being pepper-sprayed while driving on a public road.  Another popular pass-time for Our Town devotees is to drive at high speed toward homeless people and swerve at the last minute scattering them from the sidewalk hurling insults.  

Naturally this juvenile behavior began to spread and more and more began to join in the “fun’ of harassing the most vulnerable people in town.  Soon they began to use Our Town’s Facebook page to recruit and alert members of “hunting parties” where Our Town devotees would all dress up on camouflage, strap on side arms and go into the ravines in town and harass the homeless camping on Rayonier property. 

According to a recent police report three armed men, after discussion on the Our Town Facebook page, went into a camp and began tossing peoples belongings around and throwing their food in the mud.  When a woman came out of the tent to complain they began taking photos of her saying, “this is your 15 minutes of fame baby.”  Police spent 90 days investigating this incident.  According to the statements made to police by the gunmen, there is sufficient evidence for conviction of the crime of harassment.  

County Prosecutor, Mark Nichols took just a few days to determine there is two sides to the story and his office is incompetent to take the case to trial and win.

Our Town devotees have a strange fascination with photos of poor and downtrodden people.  Chamberlin’s claim to fame, at least within the Our Town group, is his penchant for chasing the police scanner, showing up about the time a police car does, and begins taking photos of the cops making an arrest for an outstanding warrant or some such.  Then he rushes back to his computer and posts the photos onto the Our Town Facebook page amid high-fives all around.  

Not content with these photos Chamberlin needs more “product” for the growing appetite of the Our Town Facebook aficionados.  Next Chamberlin and his posse reportedly begin stealing the cell phones of their homeless victims.  Either taking them off the people physically in a strong-arm type robbery or just pocketing them during their “hunting parties” in the homeless campsites.  According to police reports Chamberlin had a “sack full” of data cards from stolen cell phones.

This latter addition to the mix may have been Chamberlin’s downfall.  According to police reports he took someone’s cell phone and pried into the data card on it.  Using a computer he allegedly uploads the contents of the stolen cell phone data card which happens to be an intimate encounter with the owner of the stolen phone and her partner.   Charging documents say Chamberlin posts these to his Facebook page and even enters risqué remarks about the performance onto the video.  When the owner of the video realized her intimate act with her intimate partner was put on the internet for the entire world to see she went to police.  Thankfully the police immediately made an arrest and sought a search warrant of Chamberlin’s residence.  There they found a dozen other stolen cell phones and sixteen guns–one a sawed-off shotgun–ownership of which is a felony in Washington.  Chamberlin is arrested and charged with two felonies and several misdemeanors including possession of “a sack full of cell phone data chips.”

In the run-up to charging Chamberlin with these felonies there was even more sinister intrigue being discussed on the Our Town Facebook page.  Seems there was a small travel trailer sitting on the side of Highway 112.  The owner of the trailer had allegedly been evicted from a nearby property and had nowhere to park her travel trailer which acted as her only home/shelter.

Our Town Facebook page lit up with passersby complaining about the trailer sitting on the side of the highway.  The state highway patrol was already in the process of having it moved to a safer site.  The owner of the trailer was identified by the Our Town Facebook posters and determined to be a worthless human being.  Then the Facebook chatter suggested burning down the travel trailer–knowing someone lived in it.  Photos of the travel trailer were posted on the Our Town Facebook page.

After dozens of posts on the Our Town Facebook page someone posting under the name of Brian Frazier, said to be a supervisor with the Washington Department of Corrections, suggested tossing a flare into the travel trailer.  As you may expect, 12 hours later the travel trailer was burned to the ground.  Luckily the owner was not asleep in the trailer at the time someone set it afire.  None of the viewers on the Our Town Facebook page chimed in to suggest they re-think their intended criminal actions.  All posts were in agreement.

Against this backdrop of serial bad behaviors by Our Town devotees County Prosecutor Mark Nichols refuses to press charges against the three armed men who entered into a homeless camp on Rayonier property and destroyed their camp and threw their food on the ground.  Nichols excuse, “there’s conflicting reports.”  One would wonder if there has ever been a trial when there was NOT conflicting reports.

With Nichols abdication of his authority this sends a signal to the vigilante community that the county prosecutor is okay with their criminal behavior.  Otherwise, with the background of illegal assaults on homeless, the most vulnerable in the community, Nichols could have taken even a weak case to trial and allow that trial to act as a catharsis for the community.  During the trial let the people see the activities of the Our Town gang and allow the jury to decide if this is how our community will behave.  Even a losing case could be valuable to the community so long as the bad actors get some kind of “comeuppance.”

With Nichols shrug of his shoulders the plight of the homeless becomes much more dangerous.

 

(Original story begins here)

 

Port Angeles Police Department recently referred charges to Mark Nichols, Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney, against three armed gunmen accused of entering a homeless encampment, brandishing pistols while tossing the belongings of the homeless campers and throwing their food into the mud. There is evidence the three gunmen planned their “hunting party” on the “Our Town” Facebook page.

Nichols office refused to prosecute the three saying there were “inconsistent accounts” of the event.  The victims tell one story and the accused tell another.  Nichols office did not think they could make the charges stick so they dismissed them.

The three accused all admitted they entered the camp armed with hand guns.  One of the campers said they brandished the guns while another said they never pulled the guns.  Both campers agreed the three men were dressed in camouflage and were extremely aggressive and disruptive of their campsite and ruined their food.

Port O Call cannot remember a trial where there was not inconsistent stories.  One offered by the victims and one denied by the accused. This is of course the reason we have juries in the criminal justice system.  Each side lays out their arguments and the jury decides on the “inconsistent accounts.”  Sadly, Nichols denied the jury an opportunity to sort out the stories.

Perhaps Nichols is unsure of the abilities of the prosecuting attorneys on his staff.  If the only cases they will prosecute are those they think are a “cake-walk” then we may be in for a long two years before we have an opportunity to select a county prosecutor who will protect the rights of the most vulnerable among us.

Be alert to other decisions coming out of the prosecutor’s office.  Another “Our Town” leader is charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors.  Charges include possession of a sawed-off shotgun and possession of dozens of stolen cell phones and data cards.  There will likely to be “inconsistent accounts” in this case too.  Let’s let the jury sort it out.

15 Comments

  1. Bring it!

    Nichols favors the pin-striped shyster lawyer look, and unless you’re one of the upper class he aspires to don’t expect “justice for all.”

    Reply
  2. Rose Marschall

    Do we have an open carry law in this state? I do not know the answer to this. They all had handguns. Isn’t that enough to try it. If this was black men, going against a camp of white people camping….I think it would go to trial. I find this absurd.

    Reply
    1. Rik Reynolds

      As long as they kept their pistols holstered they were legal. If they brandished them or pointed them at someone, they committed a crime.
      http://www.opencarry.org/state-info-t-z/washington/

      The purpose of our court system and investigative officers is to determine the truth from conflicting testimonies. If these thugs had come across somebody with money and committed these crimes you can believe Nichols would have prosecuted them. He makes a mockery of the pledge of allegiance when he recites it, promising “justice for all.”

      Reply
  3. citizen

    Does this mean the 285 complaints will not be investigated? What a joke.

    Reply
  4. Joe H!

    Open season for vigilantes! Prosecuting office just cleared the way for more of this ignorant behavior. Things are gonna get real bad now that Howie, the Canadian/American and the jobless Dave M, living illegally in his parents backyard now thinks his actions were legal and justifiable. When these attacks on the less fortunate continue and probably occur more frequently by these ignorant, wannabe law enforcers and people start getting hurt because of the lack of action by the prosecutor’s office. Will the prosecutor’s be held liable for blowing this case and encouraging this type of behavior? Also with the lack of prosecution of these investigations do we think the cops will work harder to investigate crimes? Doubt it! Crime in PA has skyrocketed lately, but it seems the police are less likely to take a crime report. These cops are burnt out on doing investigations and paperwork to find out it was all a waste of time. Thanks to the officers who investigated this hideous event and shame on Dave, Howie, Shea, and shame on the prosecutor’s office for the lack of action to what undoubtedly will not be the last case of this sorts across your desk!

    Reply
  5. VL

    I totally agree, “shame on Dave, Howie, Shea, and shame on the prosecutor’s office.” 🙁

    Reply
    1. You know

      Shame on YOU VL,for sending an anonymous US postal letter, shaming
      in a threatening manner, a citizen of PA. That letter was immediately taken to PAPD.
      Shame on you Vicki Larson.

      Reply
      1. VL

        Say what??? Not I! Not my mode.

        Reply
      2. Cc

        If it was anonymous then why blame Vicki?
        This seems to be a libelous statement.

        Reply
  6. Elizabeth Stallings

    The Prosecuting Attorneys emails is prosecutor@co.clallam.wa.us Please tell these idiots what you think. Some poor idiot is going to end up dead. These vigilante morons will now continue to torture the homeless with smug abandon because they lack empathy and brain cells. Even if the prosecutors office couldn’t win the case they would have made a statement and made it a big enough hassle and expense for these violent aggressive gun packing, asswipes they probably would think twice about a repeat performance.

    Reply
  7. Random Port Angeles Person

    The attitude of Mark Nichols is consistent with city government support of the Our Town activities, which appears to be related to many of their members being police volunteers. This makes sense as an attempt to avoid previous police budgetary problems by having vigilante citizens prevent homeless people from creating a financial burden due to any time spent in jail. The approach isn’t ethical, but it does make sense financially.

    Reply
    1. Another RPAP

      It won’t make sense financially when the city gets sued over the inevitable negligence.

      Reply
  8. Gina

    This makes me sick!
    More evidence this town is corrupt!
    You should be ashamed of yourself Mr Nichols. Your office and Clallam County needs to be investigated by the feds. À case that has different sides. Imagine that! No wonder hate crimes are committed by this Chelsea and friends vigilante group, they know they can get away with it! Go ahead Clallam County thugs, pistol whip some more less fortunate citizens. Arm yourselves, tresspass, violate individuals rights using threats, persecution, harassment and every other form of violence to terrorize your victims. You’re sure to get away with it. After all, it’s your town!
    You sir, and your office of hateful, despicable suits, are an embarrassment to the judicial system!
    I hope you sleep well in your home, your warm bed with no fear or worries.(not really, I hope your conscience,if you have one, keeps you awake and afraid)
    Discrimination at the small town level at its fucking finest.
    Instead of putting a stop to this senseless violence on the less fortunate, you gave the green light to these assholes to keep it going. Maybe more of the town’s homeless and druggies will be tortured or killed huh? Their lives don’t matter to people like you.
    Creep!

    Reply
  9. Jess

    The prosecuting attorney’s office could have set an example by filing charges against these criminals. Letting the rest of this towns vigilante clowns know that they are not above the law because of their financial status.
    A padded wallet or your county income might not be a guarantee that you, Nichols, or your family members may only be a few paychecks away from beng in dire financial straits yourself.
    The prosecuting attorney’s office just gave a pass to the wrong people.

    Reply
  10. I'm just fed up

    I think it’s time we focus on the DOC supervisor that was feeding classified information to Mr. Chamberlain and the sites he started later shut down deemed hate sites by Facebook.
    whereabouts of some of those targeted were provided by said supervisor. WHEN is that going to be brought to light

    Reply

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