Jury orders city of Roy to pay $3.26M to men shot by police
A federal jury has awarded two men who live in south Pierce County a total of $3.26 million for injuries suffered when they were shot by one of the town of Roy’s two police officers during a drunken joyride in a 2019 snowstorm.
The verdict is one of the largest reached in the Western District of Washington involving a nonfatal police shooting, The Seattle Times reported.
The jury found Officer Chris Johnson used excessive force when he fired four rounds into the cab of a small four-wheel-drive off-road vehicle, striking driver David Rice in the groin and shoulder. Passenger Seth Donahue was hit in the wrist by a bullet.
The verdict, which came after a 13-day trial in federal court in Tacoma, awarded $2,208,000 to Rice and $1,049,000 to Donahue.
Johnson claimed he was struck by the vehicle after he exited his police car and tried to stop it following a pursuit. The plaintiffs claim they didn’t know they were being chased and that Johnson ambushed them at an intersection.
Expert testimony and surveillance video from a nearby business introduced at trial showed the officer did not have emergency lights on and that he shined a spotlight into the interior of the Polaris RZR — which Rice said blinded him — before firing.