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Six months after a fatal officer-involved shooting in Fortuna, the parents of the man killed are filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the city seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

Fortuna City Manager Regan Candelario said Friday he was unable to comment, as his office had not received a copy.

The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office has yet to determine if the March 16 shooting of Jacob Newmaker was justified, or if charges will be brought against either of the officers involved. District Attorney Paul Gallegos said this week that he expects a decision will be made soon.

Fortuna Police Chief Bill Dobberstein said he’s hoping the district attorney’s office will issue a determination on the shooting next week and that it will bring some closure to the incident.

”I’m assuming everything’s going to be OK,” Dobberstein said.

An administrative review by the Fortuna Police Department found the officers’ actions were appropriate under the circumstances, and they have returned to duty.

According to the department, Officer Maxwell Soeth and Sgt. Charles Ellebrecht were responding to a call of a man screaming in the front yard of a Fortuna home when they attempted to subdue Newmaker with verbal commands, pepper spray, baton strikes, control holds and a Taser, all of which were unsuccessful.

Officials have not released the name of the officer who fatally shot Newmaker after he reportedly took one of the officers’ batons

and began striking him with it.

A representative for attorney Dale K. Galipo, who is representing Newmaker’s parents, said that the lawsuit was sent to a federal court in San Francisco this week and a court clerk confirmed Friday it was being registered with a Thursday filing date.

The lawsuit against the city includes seven claims for damages, including unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force and denial of medical care, substantive due process, municipal liability for unconstitutional custom, practice or policy, false arrest or imprisonment and wrongful death claims for battery and negligence.

Newmaker was unarmed and “posed no imminent threat of death or serious physical injury,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also states “defendants … knew that failure to provide timely medical treatment to (Newmaker) could result in significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain, but disregarded that serious medical need, causing him great bodily harm and death.”

Newmaker’s parents, Jerry Newmaker and Susan Olesen, are seeking wrongful death damages, general damages, funeral and burial expenses, punitive damages, attorney fees and survival damages.

Gallegos said the investigation into the shooting was completed about one month ago, and his office is reviewing the materials.

He described the process as an “algorithm,” a series of questions that examine the legality of the situation that led to Newmaker’s death.

Hastings University law professor David Levine said investigations and reviews into officer-involved shootings vary depending on complications in a case, and there’s no definitive time frame for a district attorney’s review to be completed. A statute of limitations could potentially effect the ability to prosecute, if enough time passed.

”It’s impossible to know in the abstract, ‘Is this DA moving too slow?’” Levine said. “It’s frustrating for everybody.”

Grant Scott-Goforth can be reached at 441-0514 or