King County agrees to pay $2.5M to family of criminal killed by deputies… before lawsuit is filed

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SEATTLE, WA – King County has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a claim by the family of a man who was shot and killed by deputies after stealing a pickup truck and a pet poodle, according to the family’s attorney.

On November 25, 2019, Anthony Chilcott was shot and killed by two plain clothes detectives of the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) after they attempted to stop him in their unmarked vehicle and apprehend him for stealing a vehicle three days prior.

That morning, Chilcott was spotted by police driving around Black Diamond back roads in the stolen truck.

After a brief chase with state patrol troopers, which was called off by a supervisor, two plainclothes King County deputies, George Alvarez and Josh Lerum, driving an unmarked SUV without emergency lights or equipment, rammed Chilcott at an intersection on the Cumberland-Kanasket Road, pushing it onto a string of boulders and disabling it.

Chilcott failed to exit the vehicle, either because he was refusing to or because the door was damaged. Evidence indicated he had gunned the engine and shifted gears several times in an attempt to move the truck.

A later investigation into the incident stated it was possible Chilcott did not know the two deputies were law enforcement because they had no identification visible.

King County agrees to pay .5M to family of criminal killed by deputies... before lawsuit is filed

The officers broke out the windows of the truck with a hammer and their handguns, and each of them shot the unarmed Chilcott in the head, claiming he was trying to drive away and that they feared for their lives.

An investigation that followed the shooting determined that the detectives involved violated department procedures and contributed to the escalation of the incident. A report issued following an investigation of the shooting by the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) stated:

“The tactical decisions and actions made throughout the Chilcott incident unnecessarily escalated the situation and endangered the suspect, the detectives themselves, and proximate third parties.

We found that the detectives employed tactics that fell outside of what KCSO trains and failed to prioritize use of time, distance, and shielding for apprehension.

“Among the troublesome tactical decisions and actions was the detectives taking law enforcement action while in a plain clothes capacity rather than staying covert and allowing for marked units to initiate apprehension.

The lack of planning around the apprehension created a dire safety situation, as the detectives had no markings to make them clearly identifiable as police; lacked any safety equipment, such as ballistic vests; and did not have basic tools, such as less lethal weapons, to take law enforcement action.

Immediate contact appeared unnecessary given the lack of apparent threat that the suspect posed. Approaching a vehicle with tinted glass that obscured the suspect’s appearance and actions exacerbated the situation.”

Although the shooting was ruled justified, Detective Alvarez was terminated by the department following the investigation.

In what has been described by The Seattle Times as a “rare move,” the claim filed against the county by Chilcott’s mother and sister, Monica Crotty and Amanda Castro, both now living in Texas, was resolved before a lawsuit was filed and involved a face-to-face meeting with interim Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall, a representative of the civil division of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the county’s risk manager, according to attorney Tony Russo.

The settlement included an apology to the family and a promise to implement the recommendations listed in the OLEO report. Russo told the County in an email Thursday following the mediation agreement:

“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.”

Chilcott’s mother said she was grateful that the county took responsibility and their willingness to make changes:

“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.”

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Prosecutor tells room full of cops and mayors to get used to not filing criminal charges against juveniles

January 5, 2022

KING COUNTY, WA – One of the top prosecutors in the King County area met with lawmakers and law enforcement officials at their request to discuss the lack of consequences for criminals.

Instead of getting some type of promise that things would get better, instead, he told the room that there would be even fewer prosecutions in the future.

The meeting was called by the mayors of Auburn, Federal Way, Kent, and Renton on December 14th to discuss how the prosecutor’s office was going to help in ensuring crimes were prosecuted.

What they were told by King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, and other members of their senior staff said there would be fewer prosecutions of juvenile offenses in the future.

King County Prosecutors informed the group that they had implemented a diversion program that was designed to ensure more juveniles accept certain services that are supposed to change the behavior of the troubled youth.

The juvenile offender’s participation in the program would lead to any criminal charges against them being dropped.

King County officials noted that the program, called Restorative Community Pathways, had been implemented in November of 2021 without anyone outside of the prosecutor’s office knowing.

The program “alarmed” the city leaders in attendance that several cases would no longer be criminally pursued. In a joint statement, the mayor’s said:

“[We are] alarmed to learn that felonies such as bringing a gun or other weapon to school or a physical assault will not result in an arrest, at a time when we are seeing rising violence and mental health crises in schools.”

During the meeting, King County prosecutors presented a PowerPoint presentation that broke down their belief and the need for utilizing a program called Restorative Community Pathways.

The goal of this program is to forward roughly 40 percent of all juvenile criminal cases to this program in the beginning, with the anticipation that the numbers will be higher in the future.

When a juvenile is taken into custody, instead of seeing a criminal juvenile judge which will determine innocence, guilt, or consequences for their actions, they will stand in front of a panel full of community activists.

Those activists would decide how if at all, the juvenile criminal will be held accountable.

The presentation then broke down a scenario in which a child is caught bringing a gun to school. In slide (8), it states:

“Young Timmy brings a pistol to school, brandishes it during a confrontation, and causes panic.”

The next slides go through different considerations that the prosecutor’s office will take into effect regarding the possibility of any criminal charges.

Things like: was a crime committed and what will happen to the juvenile if they face some type of criminal prosecution.

After speaking of different criminal statutes that may or may not apply in the situation, the PowerPoint goes on to say:

“Most likely, no time in custody and no ultimate conviction.”

While the prosecutor’s office somehow expected the full support of the city leadership and law enforcement members in the audience, they received the exact opposite.

The mayors of Renton, Kent, Federal Way, and Auburn all asked the prosecutor’s office to cease and desist. Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell noted his concern on the matter:

“One of the things that we’ve been very concerned about is guns at schools. We have had six guns taken off students in Federal Way high schools this school year already. So, the inclusion of unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree and unlawful display of a weapon was alarming.

“Instead of trying to meet the cities halfway, the King County prosecutor’s office is running in the opposite direction. It’s an outrageous breach of public trust.”

 

 

 

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