A Seattle man and woman delayed by a Washington State Patrol trooper as they headed for an abortion appointment said Tuesday they have received about $175,000 in an out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit.
Deanna Thomas, 21, and Justin Cooper, 23, said the settlement of their civil lawsuit against former Trooper Lane Jackstadt, the state, Overlake Christian Church and three patrol supervisors was a victory over government abuse of power.
“There were times when it seemed as though this would never end,” Cooper said at a news conference. “Although it was a difficult challenge, I felt it was too important to walk away from.”
Jackstadt was fired from the patrol in November for his actions during the July 27, 1994, traffic stop of Thomas and Cooper on Interstate 90 east of Seattle. The patrol trial board ruled Jackstadt violated the agency’s code of ethics and engaged in “unbecoming conduct.”
The couple said Jackstadt stopped them for speeding, then held them against their will when he found out they were on their way to a Planned Parenthood clinic for an abortion. They said Jackstadt lectured them against abortion and led them to a Christian center for anti-abortion counseling.
The couple left the center and Thomas went through with the abortion.
Jackstadt, a conservative Christian, was charged with unlawful imprisonment and official misconduct. His criminal trial ended in a hung jury in May 1995 in King County Superior Court, and prosecutors elected not to seek another trial.
Jackstadt said he was trying to help two young people who appeared to be in distress. He denied browbeating them into following him to the church.
Thomas said she hoped the courts would reject any further attempts by Jackstadt to regain his position as a trooper. And Cooper said he and Thomas wanted to urge people to “stand up for rights and freedoms.”
Cooper and Thomas no longer are romantically involved, but remain friends, they said.
Jackstadt was dismissed by the patrol in late 1994 for cheating on a promotional exam two years earlier. He was reinstated by an arbitrator in June 1995.
Earlier this month, a King County Superior Court judge rejected Jackstadt’s motion to have his job performance reviews sealed. Information obtained from patrol files on Jackstadt and from questioning other troopers in connection with the lawsuit helped settle the case, said Judith Lonnquist, an attorney for Cooper and Ms. Thomas.
Jackstadt’s attorney, Thomas Olmstead, said $15,000 of the settlement would come from Jackstadt’s insurance company and the remainder from the state.
Olmstead said the decision to pay the $15,000 was made by Jackstadt’s insurance carrier.
Frank Shoichet, the lead attorney for Thomas and Cooper, said they had reached a settlement for $2,000 with the church in January, and settled with the state and Jackstadt’s insurance company about 10 days ago.
Thomas will receive two-thirds of the award and Cooper one-third, he said.
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