Jason Poss wrongful death suit

SPOKANE, Wash. –

The family of a 23-year-old Spokane man who was shot and killed by police in 2009 has filed a civil suit against the City of Spokane and the officers involved in the deadly shooting.

Jason Poss, 23, was killed on July 10, 2009, following a crime spree that ended when he lunged at Spokane police officers with a knife and they opened fire on him, hitting him several times. Moments earlier, Poss had kicked down the door of Tara Tanner’s home, located in the 1300 block of East Glass, beat her with a skateboard and stabbed her dog.

The shooting was investigated by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and later ruled justified, however in the complaint for damages, filed in federal court nearly three years to the day after the shooting, Breann Beggs, attorney for the Poss Estate, claims that the officers were well outside of the range of Poss being able to lunge at them with a kitchen knife, that the officers continued shooting after Poss had been disarmed by one of the bullets striking his arm and they fired at him after he hit the ground.

The medical examiner later determined Poss had been shot four times and had cocaine, marijuana and hydrocodone in his system at the time of his death.

Two officers involved in the shooting, Kellee Gately and Jason Curtis, have been named in the suit filed by the Estate of Jason Poss and Michael and Geraldine Poss. Gately has been with the department since 1990 while Curtis transferred to Spokane from the Reno Police Department in 2001.

The complaint alleges that Gately and Curtis violated Poss’s civil rights by using excessive force to subdue him, used deadly force when non-lethal force could have been used to subdue him, and their actions were unconstitutional, and “were made intentionally, recklessly or without deliberate indifference” to Poss.

The complaint, filed on July 5, calls for a trial by jury as well as economic damages, to include punitive damages.

This is the second wrongful death suit Beggs has been involved in against the City of Spokane this year. Earlier this spring Beggs helped broker a deal on behalf of the Estate of Otto Zehm in the suit filed against the City of Spokane in Zehm’s death.

In that case, the settlement called for the city to pay the Zehm estate $ 1.67 Million, for the city to issue an apology to Zehm’s mom and a pavilion at a city park to be named in Zehm’s memory.

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