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Family of man shot by police wants Olympia to pay $21 million for his death. Here's why
Olympian - 8/25/2023
Aug. 25—EDITOR'S NOTE — This story has been updated to include comments from the City of Olympia, and the status of the officer who shot Green.
A law firm representing the family of Timothy Green has filed a $21 million claim for damages against the City of Olympia one year after his death.
Green, a 37-year-old man with a history of mental illness, died on Aug. 22, 2022, after being tased and shot by police. The incident occurred after police were called to a disturbance at a Starbucks near Martin Way and Sleater Kinney Road.
Galanda Broadman PLLC filed the claim with the city Tuesday on behalf of Green's family, according to a news release from the law firm. The claim alleges Olympia police knew of Green's mental health history and failed to deescalate the situation.
"Officer conduct instigating the use of force counts too," Attorney Ryan Dreveskracht said in the release. "Police officers are not allowed to create dangerous situations that allegedly leave them with no choice but to use deadly force."
The claim also alleges police misled the public about the incident on social media. Posts shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, the day of the incident alleged Green "wielded a knife and attacked officers" and that "officers were treated at the scene for injuries."
"Of course, none of this was true," the attorneys say in the release. "Tim (Green) was tased in the back without provocation and attempted to run away from the OPD officers tasing him. He did not attack or attempt to attack any OPD officer and no OPD officer was injured."
Dreveskracht, also a board member of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, said law enforcement should be held to account when engaging in reckless conduct.
"Most police departments in our state train officers to engage people that may be in crisis from a covered position, communicate from a distance, and work to defuse rather than escalate situations," Dreveskracht said in the release.
"The idea is to keep officers out of unnecessary danger, and to reduce the risk for individuals who interact with the police. Unfortunately, that didn't occur here."
Green's father, Oscar Green, said in the release that he previously relied on law enforcement to help his son when he was in crisis.
"I trusted that the government would abide by the law and provide reasonable care to my son," Oscar Green said. "My trust has been betrayed. Now, all I can hope for is some semblance of accountability to ensure that this does not happen again."
A similar sentiment was shared by Green's mother. Millie Green said she has supported state laws such as Initiative-940 and House Bill 1310, which regulate permissible use of force by law enforcement.
"The Olympia Police disregarded the law in my son's case, and that's what hurts the most," Millie Green said. "I will continue to advocate for Timothy (Green) and changes for other peoples' children. But now, I question: Can our laws ever be fixed? Can our community ever be safe?"
Kellie Braseth, spokesperson for the City of Olympia, acknowledged the city received the claim but declined to comment on pending claims or potential litigation. She said Officer Jordan Anderson, the man who shot Green, is still on paid administrative leave.
What's happened with the investigation so far?
Detectives concluded their investigation into the shooting on Jan. 12 and submitted their findings to the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney's Office for review. Clark County was asked to step in instead of Thurston County'sProsecuting Attorney's Office to avoid any conflict of interest.
The police investigation was headed by the Capital Metro Independent Investigations Team, a group of detectives from the cities of Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and Yelm police departments. Olympia detectives did not take part due to the involvement of Olympia officers.
Anna Klein, Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Clark County, informed The Olympian in June that the Clark County PAO had not yet made a decision on what to do with the information they received from investigators.
The Olympian has asked the Clark County PAO to share an update on whether it has reached a decision.
The Olympian obtained an investigative report by Lacey Police Detective Mike Caranto. A summary of the report states the involved officers had probable cause to arrest Green for disorderly conduct and pedestrian interference.
"Officers made de-escalation attempts to include making attempts to converse with Green, giving verbal commands, creating distance, and implementing less lethal options," the summary reads. "The officers recognized the scene was not safe for a crisis responder due to Green being violent and threatening."
The summary also says officers used "reasonable position and movement" while trying to arrest Green. Before Green could be arrested, the summary says Green armed himself with a knife and was not cooperative with officers.
The officers alleged Green approached them with the knife which he did not drop despite being told to several times, according to the report.
In a video released last year, two officers appear to tase Green. A third officer then shot Green with his handgun as Green moved toward him. Medics transported Green to Providence St. Peter Hospital where he later died.
Over a week after the shooting, Olympia police Chief Rich Allen named four officers who were involved in the incident and placed them on paid administrative leave.
They are Acting Sgt. Joseph Bellamy and officers Caleb Shaffer, Jordan Anderson and Brenda Anderson, all of whom are named in the report.
While Jordan Anderson remains on leave, Bellamy and Shaffer continue continue to serve in the OPD, Braseth said. Brenda Anderson has since retired from the OPD and no longer works for the city, she added.
None of the officers involved in the shooting have been disciplined for this incident thus far, Braseth said. The city is waiting on the Clark County PAO to conclude its review of the investigation before the OPD may start its own internal review, she said.
The family's claim alleges Jordan Anderson immediately recognized Green at the scene because he responded to a call from Green's parents two days prior.
During that call, the release says the family informed Anderson that Green had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Two days later, Anderson allegedly ordered Green's arrest, which led to the tasing, according to the release. The release says the tasers caused Green to tense up, drop "an object in his hand" and run away.
Statements in the report from the officers at the scene allege Green still held a knife as he approached Anderson.
Video from the scene shows Anderson moved in front of Green's path then began walking backwards with his gun pointed at Green.
Anderson shot Green three times in the torso and fell into a bush, according to the investigation report.
This story was originally published August 24, 2023, 1:59 PM.
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