Support our mission
 
Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, charged with attacking police, adjusts his face mask while standing inside a defendants’ cage during his verdict hearing at Moscow’s Golovinsky district court on July 30, 2020.
Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, charged with attacking police, adjusts his face mask while standing inside a defendants’ cage during his verdict hearing at Moscow’s Golovinsky district court on July 30, 2020. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP)

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — Joey Reed has spent the past two years tirelessly attempting to get his son, former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, out of a Russian prison.

A Texan by birth, he rented an apartment in Moscow and lived in it for 14 months while monitoring Trevor’s convoluted legal case in Russia.

On Tuesday, he brought that fight to the White House as he stood in sweltering heat for nearly three hours with a sign emblazoned with “Free Trevor Reed” in hopes of grabbing the attention of President Joe Biden — and the public.

Trevor Reed, a Fort Worth native who was arrested in Moscow in August 2019 after a drunken altercation at a party, is serving a nine-year prison term in Russia on assault charges that John Sullivan, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, has lambasted as “absurd.” He is accused of grabbing a police officer’s arm on the way to the station, causing the officer to swerve and endangering the officer’s life. The Reeds deny all charges.

Trevor’s case received increased attention after Biden mentioned him and another imprisoned former Marine, Paul Whelan, during Biden’s first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in June. Several legislators have also thrown their support behind the Reed family, filing a resolution in the U.S. House last week calling for Trevor’s release.

On Tuesday, Joey said he spoke to around 25 curious bystanders outside the White House, including the parents of a Navy SEAL who sympathized with the Reeds’ plight.

“I’m just focused on the business of getting him home and keeping him in the news,” Joey said.

A former Marine and retired fire department chief, Joey is a staunch supporter of law and order. But he is skeptical about his son’s charge of assault against an officer, which he says is clearly concocted. There was no video evidence of the crime, even though Russian police cars typically have multiple cameras.

Joey also said that the last person to be charged with a similar crime was punished with a nominal fine. The Reeds and several U.S. lawmakers have said they believe that Trevor is being used as a bargaining chip in a potential prisoner swap. Two Russian prisoners in America — convicted on smuggling charges — have been floated as possible exchanges.

A White House spokesman said Biden was “very clear” about the need to resolve Trevor’s case, among others, during his talk with Putin in Geneva.

“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the U.S government. We will continue to speak on his behalf until Russia does the right thing and returns him to his family in the United States,” the spokesman said. “Trevor has been deprived of his freedom for far too long.”

Meanwhile, the wait has been tough for the Reed family. Joey’s wife, Paula, “has good days and bad days, though some days are worse than others,” he said.

Joey said they constantly worry about Trevor’s treatment. Trevor has told them about getting delayed medical care and less leniency than other prisoners, even though the crimes he has been accused of are trivial compared to those of some of his cellmates. After he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in May, his parents and the U.S. embassy in Moscow lost contact with him for three weeks despite repeated requests to Russian authorities for updates.

Trevor has now missed celebrating two years’ worth of milestones with his family. His 30th birthday was yesterday, July 5; his parents bought him a Russian chocolate cake but couldn’t be with him.

This weekend, as Joey watched the July Fourth fireworks extravaganza from a fitting location — the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia — he had one thought.

“I wish my son had been there with me,” Joey said.

_____

©2021 The Dallas Morning News.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Justice

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up