A federal jury in Seattle has awarded nearly $15 million to the family of an unarmed black man shot and killed by police in front of his young son near Tacoma, Washington, finding police had no reason to use deadly force.
The Seattle Times reports the award includes $3 million in punitive damages against SWAT commander Mike Zaro during the 2013 standoff; another $1.5 million in punitive damages against Lakewood Officer Michael Wiley, who led an assault on the home and shot the family dog; and $2 million in punitive damages against Lakewood Sgt. Brian Markert, the sniper who shot Leonard Thomas from 90 feet away.
Thomas was shot outside his home in Fife, Washington, when he grabbed for his son after police used explosives to enter the home.
Thomas’ parents and his estate alleged police violated his civil rights by using excessive force when they shot him, among other claims.
Jurors had been deliberating since Monday afternoon before returning the verdict Friday.
The award is one of the largest in a police use-of-force and wrongful-death lawsuit in the state’s history.
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