Thursday, October 28, 2021

Seattle agrees to settle trial by family of man killed by police on New Year’s Eve 2018

The city of Seattle has agreed to pay $515,000 to settle a civil-rights lawsuit filed by the estate of Iosia Faletogo, who was shot by police after a foot chase on Aurora Avenue North on New Year’s Eve 2018. was killed.

Faltogo’s last words, captured on police body cameras – “No, don’t reach!” Police became the rallying cry for protesters against racism and violence in the weeks following the killing.

The department’s civilian-run Police Accountability Office found the officers’ actions appropriate. Graphic body-camera video showed Faltogo dropped a handgun in a clash with officers and was unarmed just before the fatal shot.

The settlement approved Wednesday by US District Court Judge Barbara Rothstein would split the bulk of the money between estate attorneys and Faltogo’s two minor children, identified by AF and RF in court documents.

After deducting funeral expenses and fees for the guardian appointed to protect the children’s interests, the remaining $500,000 will be divided between the children and attorneys in three ways.

According to a settlement document, the children’s money will be held in a blocked account, overseen by the King County Superior Court, and allocated through a structured settlement, each for four years beginning July 2033. An annual stipend will be paid for Rs. -Sum payments in September of 2037 and 2039, according to court documents.

Nate Bingham, a Seattle attorney representing Faltogo’s estate, said the family and Faltogo’s mother Lisa Elisara had no immediate comment. “Iosia’s death is still a deeply emotional topic, so she doesn’t feel up to making a statement at this time,” he said.

A message sent Wednesday seeking comment from the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, which has defended the city in the lawsuit, was not immediately returned.

Faltogo, 36, was in a vehicle stopped by police on Aurora Avenue North in North Seattle at around 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve 2018. Faltogo fled in a vehicle across a busy road, followed by six police officers, who confronted him and piled on. Body camera video showed Faltogo armed with a handcuff at one point in what police said was a theft.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court earlier this year, alleged that Officer Jared Keller and Officer Garrett Hay had spotted Faltogo in a vehicle near North 90th Street and Aurora Avenue North, and provided a reason to stop him. The search had started.

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“Although another official would later describe Eosia as ‘shady,’ it is difficult”
Determine why he started following Iosia or what the authorities believed was wrong,” according to the petition.

“In lieu of any other explanation as to why the car looked ‘shady’, it is because the authorities’ attention was captured – either implicitly or implicitly – by the fact that Iosia was a black color. The man in the car of a Pacific Islander was a predominantly white woman
neighborhood in North Seattle,” the lawsuit alleges.

Body camera video, while somewhat convoluted and busy, indicates that he dropped the weapon at some point after officers caught him with Faltogo – it can be seen briefly on the ground – even Struggling officers yelled at him to drop the gun or he would have been shot.

According to an internal investigation, shortly afterwards, Keller fired a round in Faltogo’s head.

Both Hay and Keller were dismissed from trial as part of the settlement.

The investigation into the shooting came after police video showed Faltogo on his hands and knees saying, “No, not reaching,” referring to the handgun on the ground.


Keller has since left the SPD and joined the Spokane Police Department, drawing further protests from Faltogo’s relatives east of the Cascades.

A 21-page report released by the OPA found that the officers acted reasonably and within SPD policy. It quoted Keller and other officials involved in the conflict as saying that they did not hear Faltogo saying “no, not reaching” while they were struggling and warned him not to reach the weapon.

Reportedly body-camera video suggested that seconds before making the statement, Faltogo was “still running his hands on the ground around the handgun”.

Andrew Myerberg, the director of the OPA who wrote the report, determined that less than a second elapsed between Faltogo’s statement and the gunshot.

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