BLACK DIAMOND, WA – King County has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who was killed by deputies in a shooting in 2019.
King County has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a claim by the family of man who was shot and killed by deputies after stealing a pickup truck and a pet poodle, according to the family’s attorney. #FOX13 https://t.co/QZZwOI7swn
— FOX 13 Seattle (@fox13seattle) January 29, 2022
Family members of Anthony Chilcott, a petty criminal, filed a claim against the county after he was shot and killed by deputies in 2019.
County leaders did not wait for the lawsuit to play out in court and instead settled with the family for $2.5 million.
Notice of the settlement was given in person to Chilcott’s mother and sister, Monica Crotty, and Amanda Castro, by interim King County interim Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall, the risk manager for the county and a representative of the civil division.
An attorney for the family, Tony Russo, reported that all three people that met with the family of Chilcott offered a “sincere apology” to them. They also promised that the King County Sheriff’s Office would make several reforms considering a critical review of the incident. In an email, Russo wrote to the county:
“Your decision to participate in utmost good faith in an early resolution of the family’s claim that culminated in today’s settlement should help all of us turn the page on this unnecessary and tragic loss of life.
That act of humanity, even more so than the $2.5 million dollar settlement, demonstrated an acceptance of responsibility by leadership of King County and will help the family on the long road to healing.”
'Closer to healing': King County pays $2.5 million to the family of a Black Diamond man who was killed by sheriff's deputies after a stealing a truck and a dog https://t.co/1OPpIEROIW via @stimesmcarter
— John de Leon (@DeLeon_Times) January 29, 2022
Crotty spoke to the Seattle Times on January 28th about the settlement. She noted she was grateful for the willingness of the county officials for their actions. She said:
“I just want to be able to honor my son. I’m glad things have been put in place to prevent this from happening to someone else. It makes me feel like Tony didn’t die in vain.”
Interim Sheriff Cole-Tindall issued a written statement in which she hopes that this settlement will allow Chilcott’s family some closure. She wrote:
“This year brought new leadership to the King County Sheriff’s Office, and Executive (Dow) Constantine and I are committed to do right by our community.
Every member of our team shares my pledge to partner with communities and other critical stakeholders in our review of these incidents, and prevent them from happening in the future.”
Chilcott, who was well-known to law enforcement, started the string of events that would lead to his death when he stole a Ford Raptor truck on November 22, 2019. When Chilcott stole the truck, the owner’s poodle was inside.
After driving the truck around from Washington to Nevada and back, he returned to Black Diamond on November 25th. Washington State Troopers saw Chilcott driving the truck and attempted to stop him.
Chilcott refused to stop and led troopers on a brief vehicle pursuit until supervisors ordered the officers to discontinue their efforts.
Chilcott continued to drive around the area after the brief vehicle pursuit and was seen by King County plain-clothes Deputies, George Alvarez, and Josh Lerum.
The deputies were in an unmarked SUV that had no police lights or other law enforcement equipment. According to the Seattle Police Department’s Force Investigation Team, the deputies rammed the truck at an intersection on the Cumberland-Kanasket Road, causing the truck to go onto a string of boulders where it high-centered and became disabled.
Chilcott was ordered out of the truck which he either refused or was unable to do so after the truck had been rammed. Both deputies approached the truck without wearing any items that identified them as police and ordered him to get out.
Instead of exiting, Chilcott gunned the engine in the stolen truck several times while shifting gears to get off the boulders and flee.
The deputies then used a hammer and their firearms to break the windows of the truck before shooting him in the head.
Investigators determined that the deputies were in fear for their lives as Chilcott could have struck and killed them with the truck if he was able to get it free.
The shooting investigation showed that the deputies were justified in their actions, however, the King County Sheriff’s Office took issue with their actions.
Interim Sheriff Cole-Tindall, who was the Undersheriff at the time, conducted the internal investigation of the shooting.
In her investigation, she determined that the deputies had violated policy and needlessly escalated the situation.
Based upon the internal investigation, then Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht terminated Deputy Alvarez stated that he endangered the lives of the community and his partner with engaging Chilcott instead of calling in additional resources to appropriately address the situation.
Deputy Alvarez appealed his termination which has not been ruled on.
Dead man’s family suing cops for $1.5M for knocking him off bike years before
NORFOLK, VA – The family of a man who said he was tackled by a Norfolk Police officer on Christmas Eve in 2018 is suing for $1.5 million, federal court records show.
The incident was captured on Norfolk Officer Aaron Nkrumah Christie’s body camera. The body camera video was reportedly submitted as an exhibit to the lawsuit a few weeks ago by attorney Christina Connell on behalf of Rountree’s family.
On Christmas Eve, 43-year-old Derrick Rountree rode his bicycle past a police cruiser without lights on at about 9 p.m., Officer Christie briefly sounded the vehicle’s siren, flashed its lights, and said something over a megaphone.
Rountree later claimed he thought the officer was alerting someone else and continued to ride away. Rountree turned to head to a friend’s place at the Tidewater Gardens public housing complex where he was staying when Officer Christie gave chase.
During a deposition taken earlier this year, Christie’s lawyers asked Rountree why he did not stop when the officer. He answered:
“Because I’m on a bicycle. What would he stop me for?”
The events after Rountree turned his bike toward his friend’s house were captured on video.
When Rountree fails to stop for the officer’s repeated verbal warnings, the video shows Officer Christie running up and grabbing Rountree, reportedly because he was riding a bike at night with no headlights. The two then fall to the ground.
Rountree can be heard asking the cop, “Why you do that?”
The audio is muffled, but Rountree asks:
“Why you do that to me, bro? I ain’t (sic) do nothing.”
Officer Christie answered:
“You have no light (on your bicycle). We tried to stop you. You tried to run.”
“Is (sic) you serious, man? I didn’t know you had to have a light for a bike.”
Another officer who arrived to assist also told Rountree he needed to have lights on his bicycle.
Both officers attempt to help Rountree to his feet, but he shouts in pain.
Officers called an ambulance for Rountree. He suffered a broken right tibia and fibula in the fall. He was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment, where he was hospitalized for several days.
Rountree was charged afterward with a headlight violation and obstruction of justice. The obstruction charge was later dismissed, and Rountree was fined $15 for not having a headlight, court records show.
The family filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Norfolk in December 2020, claiming the officer violated his civil rights and that he posed no threat to them.
Christian Connell, the family’s attorney, questioned the officer’s motive for stopping Rountree:
“I know they had a reason to stop him, but they obviously didn’t have a reason to use that amount of force to stop him.”
In a deposition, Christie said he yelled out to Rountree to get him to stop:
“Because Mr. – in my estimation, Mr. Rountree was attempting to elude the police, and in a bid to apprehend Mr. Rountree, after grasping to slow him down and based on my speed, we ended up going to the ground, based on my momentum.”
Christie said he chased Rountree because he thought the fleeing man engaged in something illegal, such as drug sales.
Tragically, on June 24, 2021, police responded to the shooting in the 700 block of East Virginia Beach Boulevard around 9:30 p.m. in Norfolk, near a Shop ‘N Go store.
Officers arrived to find Rountree suffering from gunshot wounds. He was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. He later died of his injuries.
The shooting is being investigated as a homicide, but no motive or suspect information is available.
Attorney Connell said Rountree’s death does not stop the lawsuit from moving forward:
“The damage that he suffered doesn’t go away and the lawsuit doesn’t go away.”
The incident was investigated by authorities, and Christie was cleared of any wrongdoing. He remains employed by the Norfolk Police Department.
The civil case is scheduled to go to trial on March 29.
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