Snohomish County pays $ 1.75 million to the spouse of a Tulalip tribe member who died fighting police.
The payment will settle a lawsuit over allegations that officials Cecil Lacy Jr. used excessive force while detaining him despite telling them he could not breathe, the Seattle Times reported.
The lawsuit was unceremoniously dismissed by a state judge and unanimously resumed by the Washington Court of Appeals last year.
The lawsuit challenged the independence of an investigation into Lacy’s death by the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team, alleging the detectives, coroner and prosecutors conspired with a union-appointed attorney to leave Lacy’s last words – ” I can not breath”. â- from investigation documents.
The Lacy family attorney Gabe Galanda had requested an independent investigation, but Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson declined, saying the death occurred before the 940 Initiative was passed.
The measure passed in 2019 reformed laws on the use of deadly force by the police. Governor Jay Inslee has since announced that he will encourage a new legislative agency to investigate and review all deaths by law enforcement officials of Lacy and Stonechild Chiefstick deaths.
“This is a great win for our family,” said Sara Lacy on Tuesday. “We have been fighting for justice in and out of court for six years.”
She and Cecil had three children and each had a child from a previous marriage, said Sara Lacy. He had worked as a professional fisherman and drove a school bust for the youth services of the Tulalip Tribal.
Sara Lacy is a member of the Washington Coalition for Police Accountability. She lobbied the Washington Legislature last year to pass police reform measures, including House Bill 1267, which established the agency in the governor’s office to investigate police-related deaths.
A three-judge panel in the Department of Appeal Court I unanimously concluded that Sara Lacy was bringing a civil lawsuit against the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Tyler Pendergrass who confronted Lacy, 46, on September 18, 2015 , could pursue. walking down Marine Drive on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.
Lacy appeared to be drunk or under the influence of drugs, and Pendergrass requested reinforcements with the intent of taking Lacy home or to the hospital, according to reports and court documents.
Speaking to officers from the Tulalip Tribal Police, Pendergrass said he tried to reassure Lacy and eventually an officer offered to drive Lacy home. They agreed to handcuff Lacy with his hands in front, but after he got into the car he got excited and fled.
Pendergrass and two other officers pulled him to the ground and nailed him face down. At some point Lacy stopped fighting. However, the officers stayed on him until more officers arrived.
Other officers at the scene admitted to detectives that shortly before his death, Lacy reportedly said words like “I’m freaking out … I can’t breathe”. These words did not appear in the task force report.