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Judge refuses to throw out lawsuit by family of man killed by police

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge refused to dismiss a civil rights lawsuit filed against the Washington state city of Kent and a police officer involved in a 2017 fatal shooting of an unarmed Giovonn Joseph-McDade.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein said in her order Thursday that the evidence disputes claims that the 20-year-old Joseph-McDade had fled from police at high speed and was poised to run over Kent police officer William Davis when Davis shot and killed Joseph-McDade.

“There is no suggestion in this case that Joseph-McDade had committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm prior to the car chase,” Rothstein wrote.

The judge’s decision will send the lawsuit to trial. The lawsuit had been filed in 2020 by Joseph-McDade’s parents.

“The justification proffered by the defendants for Officer Davis’ use of deadly force is that at the time he fired at Joseph-McDade, he believed his life was in danger,” Rothstein wrote. “However, the evidence before the court demonstrates serious disputes on this issue.”

Requests for comments from the attorney representing Kent and the officers involved were not returned to the Seattle Times on Friday.


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