VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The family of a Black man killed by deputies has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against Clark County in southwest Washington, alleging that its law enforcement has a “policy, custom and established practice” of allowing officers to wrongfully wield deadly force.
The lawsuit comes after prosecutors declined to charge the Clark County deputies who shot and killed Kevin Peterson Jr. during a drug sting in 2020, KOIN-TV reported.
Detective Robert Anderson, deputy Jonathan Feller and detective Jeremy Brown fired 34 rounds at the 21-year-old as he ran with a handgun from a planned drug sale of 50 Xanax pills between him and a confidential informant. He died outside a motel in Hazel Dell, near Vancouver, on the evening of Oct. 29.
His death sparked demonstrations and raised questions about the circumstances that led to the shooting,
Last year, the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office deemed the shooting to be “justified and lawful.” The prosecutor said there was no legal requirement for the officers to wait until Peterson opened fire, and that it was reasonable for officers to believe deadly force was necessary.
A sheriff's office spokesperson told KOIN 6 News said officials will not make comments on ongoing litigation.
The federal lawsuit filed Thursday cites two other deadly shootings by Clark County deputies and an alleged “unwarranted use of force:” Jenoah Donald, who was shot and killed by Clark County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sean Boyle following a traffic stop, and the shooting death of off-duty Vancouver police officer Donald Sahota.