Defendant's Attorney: Richard B. Jolley, Brian Christopher Augenthaler, Jeremy W. Culumber
Description: Seattle, WA - Jury Awards Family $15 Million On Civil Rights Claim
Fred Thomas, Annalesa Thomas and Jo-Hanna Read sued the City if Fife, the City of Laekwood, Brian Markert, Jason Cannon, Michael Wiley, Michael Zaro, Nathan VAnce, Ryan Miceako, and Pierce County Metro SWAT Team on civil rights violation theories under 42 U.S.C. 1983 claiming that the individual defendants used excessive force when one of them shot and killed Leonard Thomas. Officers were called to the Thomas residence in response for assistance in a family argument and ended up shooting and killing Thomas, who was holding his 4-year-old son hostage.
The defendants claimed that Thomas was holding his son hostage and was using him as human shield.
The plaintiffs' claims alleged excessive force, unreasonable seizure, deprivation of family relations, using explosives to breach of the home, killing of the family dog, false arrest, negligent investigation and causing severe emotional distress.
Annalesa called the police after she went to her son's home and found that he had quit taking his medicine and was
Thomas, age 30, was standing on his front porch holding his son's car seat and back pack when Defendant Zaro authorized the SWAT squads sniper to shoot him to prevent him from re-entering his home and authorized the use of explosives to breach the back door of the house. They also shot the family dog multiple times as they rushed into the house.
Thomas bled to death.
The Pierce County prosecutor's office found the shooting justified.
Office Markert was the shooter.
Frederick Thomas was arrested when he attempted to get into his son's house to defuse the situation and learned of his son's death while being held in jail.
Thomas family is African-American.
Outcome: Plaintiffs' verdict for $15 million, including $6.5 million in punitive damages.