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Spokane settles federal lawsuit with family of man killed by police in 2013

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 7, 2018, 4:48 p.m.

From surveillance video provided to the Spokane Police, this image shows police officers converging on the red pickup truck of Danny Jones, who was shot dead a few seconds after this image was recorded August 22, 2013. The video shows Jones maneuvering back and forth after police blocked him into the parking lot near the Salvation Army building. (COURTESY OF SPD)
From surveillance video provided to the Spokane Police, this image shows police officers converging on the red pickup truck of Danny Jones, who was shot dead a few seconds after this image was recorded August 22, 2013. The video shows Jones maneuvering back and forth after police blocked him into the parking lot near the Salvation Army building. (COURTESY OF SPD)

The City of Spokane will pay $103,500 to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a man shot and killed by police outside of a North Side transitional housing complex in 2013.

The Spokane City Council on Monday unanimously approved the settlement with the family of Danny C. Jones, the 40-year-old man who was shot inside his truck in the early morning hours of Aug. 22, 2013, outside the Salvation Army housing complex on Indiana Avenue. Police had followed Jones to the shelter, where he was staying with his family, after a reported road rage incident on the Division Street bridge.

Surveillance cameras captured video of Jones in his truck, parked and surrounded by officers with their weapons drawn. The officers – identified as Spokane Police Lt. Kevin King, and officers Robert Collins, Corey Lyons and Scott Lesser – are seen firing on Jones after he drives closer to the front door of the complex.

Spokane County prosecutors declined to press charges, saying the officers were justified in their use of lethal force against Jones, who had served as an undercover drug informant for the department prior to the shooting.

The officers were not disciplined for the shooting. Spokane police Ombudsman Bart Logue said Wednesday he hadn’t yet reviewed the case, as he is waiting for a revision of the city’s laws governing the scope of his investigations that would allow him to be more specific in his recommendations.

Lesser, who in May 2016 was one of the officers who shot and injured a machete-wielding man outside the downtown bar Zola, originally was armed with a nonlethal shotgun when he approached Jones’ truck. He went back to retrieve his service rifle after noticing that a fellow officer was also armed with a nonlethal weapon, according to investigative reports, and later fired on Jones.

King’s hearing was damaged by gunfire at the scene, and the department has since received approval to begin using suppressors on their service rifles.

Lawyers representing Jones’ family did not respond to requests for comment. The settlement was approved by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Thomas O. Rice earlier this week.

City Councilman Breean Beggs abstained from the vote, saying he had some involvement with the case as a civil attorney before joining the City Council in 2016.


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