Dept. of Corrections photo of Frank Pawul
Dept. of Corrections photo of Frank Pawul

On Sunday, January 7, at 11:25 p.m., Pierce Country police received a 911 call reporting a burglary at a home near the corner of the 5100 block of 200th Street East in Spanaway. Six minutes later, a police officer, Deputy Daniel A. McCartney, 34, was at the scene and pursuing suspects. Soon after that, he was dying from a gun shot wound. One of the suspects was also shot and dying. He had a gun in his hand; the police identified him as Henry Michael Carden, 35. (The police believe a third person was involved in this bloody crime: An unnamed 52-year-old woman who allegedly dropped the suspects off at the corner of the street, and was supposed to wait for them but drove away when she heard and saw the emergency sounds and lights of the police car probably driven by McCartney.)

The second suspect was at large.

The Pierce County police quickly gathered information about this suspect and informed the public on Twitter that he was black.

So, a whole armed-to-the-teeth and mad-as-hell police department (one of their own was killed in cold blood) was looking for a black man. If you were a black man walking around that part of town that night, you were in for some trouble. This was not your night. You could be found in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Later, the police updated their description of the suspect. He was mixed and might even be white. He was getting lighter by the minute.

At 8 a.m. Monday morning, the police spotted the suspect in the deep winter light and caught him. He was just white. His name is Frank William Pawul. He is said to have a history...

It appears that black males that night were able to draw on their much-depleted good-luck account and were spared the worst of a racially charged mis-identification.

But it doesn't stop there. The story gets racially weirder. The suspect, who appeared in court today, was not seen by the public because his judge would not "show his face in court." Why? Because "identity is an issue."