Family of Washington state man fatally shot by police sniper is awarded $15 million

He grabbed his mother’s wrist and took her phone when she tried to call 911. They were having a family argument.

Within hours, 30-year-old Leonard Thomas was dead, killed by a police sniper’s bullet on a May night in 2013. In this freeway-divided Tacoma suburb, the unarmed black man was shot on his porch while holding his 4-year-old son in his arms.

Police said the minor dispute had turned into a standoff that could only be settled with a militaristic show of force and lethal action.

But on Friday, a federal court jury in Seattle unanimously disagreed, handing down one of the most costly legal verdicts against police officers in Washington state history.

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