Forks pays family of man shot dead by police $ 333,000
FORKS – The town of Forks paid $ 333,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by relatives of a man who was shot and killed by police in 2016 after an officer allegedly turned a check for property -be in a deadly confrontation.
The lawsuit brought by the family of Edward Lowell Hills was unusual in that it did not name the officer who laid the fatal blow as the accused, but blamed the shooting on the actions of another officer , Michael Gentry, who had a troubled history. Gentry has since resigned from the Forks Police Department.
According to the lawsuit, Gentry confronted Hills and tasered him within 78 seconds of arriving at Lake Pleasant Mobile Home & RV Park near US Highway 101, where he lived. When Gentry arrived, Hills was speaking to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Sergeant. Edwin Anderson, who had also reacted and was trying to sort out and defuse the situation, according to court documents.
Hill stood at the door of his trailer talking to Anderson on November 4, 2016, after a neighbor called police to report Hills had been screaming all night and the neighbor was concerned about his mental health, according to reports.
After Gentry used his Taser on Hills, Hills grabbed a gun inside his trailer “in a desperate attempt to defend himself,” the lawsuit said.
The two officers drew and fired. Anderson shot Hills, followed by Gentry shooting Hills “through a closed door and through the walls of his house” without knowing if there was anyone else inside.
The family’s lawsuit said Gentry and the town deprived Hills of his civil rights, including unreasonably entering the Hills home and using excessive force.
Anderson was not named in the lawsuit as a responsible party although he shot Hills in the chest.
The family claimed it was Gentry who unnecessarily “precipitated” the shooting by illegally deploying his Taser in Hills when Hills was unarmed, while Hills attempted to close his door and Anderson tried to convince Hills to go out to speak with the officers. .
Forks Police Chief Mike Rowley said on Saturday he was “generally” aware of the settlement.
âMy response would be that even though Gentry had issues with anything, the shooting was deemed justified by the Washington State Patrol,â Rowley said.
âWith litigation issues, there is a misconception that something has been done wrong.
âWith litigation, often when things are settled, it’s often because the case will cost more to pursue. ”
City attorney Rod Fleck said the settlement has been resolved by insurers.
He didn’t know what impact this might have on the city’s insurance rates.
“Everyone in the city’s insurance risk pool has been informed that our insurance will continue to increase due to changes in law enforcement and rising costs,” he said. declared.
Gentry resigned in 2017 after being suspended when a woman accused him of rape and was granted a protection order, court documents show.
The FBI has been contacted to investigate, according to Forks Police documents, although no federal criminal charges have been filed.