Capitol Hill bartender Victoria Liss made national news this week when she posted a photograph on Facebook of a check she'd received from a customer on which, instead of a tip, he wrote that she needed to "loose [sic] a few pounds." Liss and her friends made short order of shaming and harassing the man, one Andrew Meyer, to the best of their ability, and local and national media (myself included) bought the story and the identity of Mr. Meyer hook line and sinker.
Problem was that the Andrew Meyer that Liss vilified (she posted a link to his Facebook page and a photo) was the wrong Andrew Meyer.
Well, turns out that this isn't the first time that Ms. Liss has had experience accusing the wrong person of something awful.
In September 2007, Matthew Oly and Bryan Krieger were arrested and charged with felony harassment after Liss and a friend of hers, Marcus Wilson, identified them as having threatened to kill Wilson.
But six months later it became clear that Liss and co. weren't actually too sure that they had the right guys.
According to court documents obtained by Seattle Weekly, Wilson told officers that he was walking on Pike Street in Capitol Hill around 4 a.m. when someone asked him to borrow change. Wilson denied the request and kept walking, but when he did he said the person called him a "faggot" and threatened to kill him.
The man then supposedly followed Wilson and continued to hurl homosexual slurs at him until a second person rode up on a bicycle and started calling Wilson a "faggot" as well.
At this point Liss called Wilson--the two worked together at Pony at the time--to arrange to meet him, and Wilson answered the phone "in a panic."
Wilson told Liss that he was being "gay bashed" and to come quickly.
Liss told police that when she met Wilson, he was encircled by two men, both threatening to kill him.
At one point another man, Christopher Lynch, approached the group and began to call Liss "ugly," at which point she "became enraged" and called 911.
By the time police arrived, the two main harassers had left, but Liss and Wilson provided descriptions of them and two men, Kreiger and Oly, were arrested shortly afterward.
Liss and Wilson were then taken to the location where the two were being detained, and they identified the pair as the men who had harassed and threatened Wilson.
The two were quickly booked into King County Jail, and four days later both men were charged with felony harassment, though both denied it was they who'd done the harassing.
Skip about six months: Kreiger submitted to a polygraph test about the incident--a test he passed with flying colors.
Meanwhile, Liss and Wilson suddenly began to have doubts about both Oly and Kreiger being the ones who made the threats.
Suddenly the case was dismissed.
According to the Order of Dismissal, the reason for dropping the case was not only the results of the polygraph test, but also due to "some uncertainty as to the identity of the perpetrators."
King County Prosecuting Attorney spokesperson Dan Donohoe explains further. "I spoke with Deputy [King County] Prosecutor Mike Hogan. His recollection was that Liss and Wilson became less certain of the identity of the people responsible."
That was, of course, after the two had been jailed, charged, forced to retain lawyers, submit to polygraph tests, and generally have their lives turned upside down for several months.
Note: Liss did not respond to numerous calls for comment about this incident.
Here is the full indictment followed by the dismissal order.