July 7, 2012 in City

Family sues police after death of son

Man’s parents say shooting unnecessary
By The Spokesman-Review
 

A federal lawsuit has been filed by the parents of a man shot and killed by Spokane police in 2009 after he attacked a woman with a skateboard and stabbed a dog.

The suit alleges that either Spokane police Officer Kellee Gately or Officer Jason Curtis fired the fatal bullet – testing apparently was not able to determine the gun of origin – after 23-year-old Jason Poss had already been shot once, knocked down and disarmed of his knife.

The suit alleges that Gately and Curtis violated Poss’ civil rights by using “excessive force, deadly force, and/or inadequate training.”

Michael and Geraldine Poss are being represented by Spokane attorney Breean Beggs.

The autopsy showed that Poss died July 10, 2009, from a bullet that entered his neck and traveled directly down his spine, which would have been consistent with him lying on the ground when he was shot.

The only independent witness said Poss fell from the first shot. While he was disarmed and on the ground, the officers paused before firing several more shots, according to the suit.

Both Gately and Curtis were cleared in subsequent criminal and internal reviews by the Spokane Police Department, Beggs wrote in court documents.

Police officials said the incident began when Tara Tanner, 27, who at the time lived at 1328 E. Glass Ave., called for help after Poss – whom she did not know – kicked in her door before chasing and attacking her with a wooden skateboard.

When Tanner’s pit bull approached, Poss turned and stabbed the dog. Poss fled the scene, and Spokane police approached him in the 1800 block of East Courtland Avenue.

As one officer drove up and tried to fire a Taser, Poss made stabbing motions at him. Soon after, Gately and Curtis opened fire, Beggs said.

The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday, did not specify damages, which are to be determined at trial. Efforts to reach Spokane City Attorney Nancy Isserlis late Friday were unsuccessful.


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