Some people rationalize police misconduct by telling themselves, "I've never been in trouble with the police, so they would never mistake me for a criminal." Aside from the fact that such a thought is irrelevant to the underlying problem, it's patently not true. Just ask James Simmons.
Simmons was a well-paid information technology contractor with 30 years of experience back in 2006. But in November of that year, Simmons was standing at a University District bus stop in Seattle when he was approached by King County Deputy James Shrimpsher, who arrested the 53-year old man for dealing cocaine. Simmons was subsequently convicted on the felony charge and served a year in prison. He lost his security clearance and then his job - and because he wasn't able to get hired due to his criminal record, he wound up on the streets of Seattle.
Meanwhile, Shrimpsher was fired in early 2007 for dishonesty stemming from an unrelated drug bust. Based on that information, Simmons sued to get his conviction overturned, alleging that the prosecution never informed his attorney about Shrimpsher's dishonesty. Simmons was subsequently exonerated for his crime in 2010.
Simmons may become one of Washington's first beneficiaries under a new law that pays people for being wrongly incarcerated. That law was passed in May on a unanimous vote by the state legislature.
Shrimpsher, who now works for the Algona Police Department, stands by his arrest of Simmons. But this incident plainly demonstrates that even people who are "minding their own business" can still fall victim to police misconduct.