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Family of man injured in arrest seeking $25 million in claim against county
Posted by John de Leon
The family of an Edmonds man who was severely injured when a King County sheriff's deputy slammed him into a wall during a foot chase in May have filed a $25 million civil claim against the county, they announced this morning during a news conference.
The money is for the around-the-clock care that Christopher Harris requires after he was left in a "coma-like state" following the arrest, and for the emotional damages suffered by his wife of two years, Sarah Jorgenson, according to the claim. According to the family's attorney, Harris will never recover from the brain injuries he sustained in the arrest.
Harris' family brought the claim Tuesday. Unless it's settled within 60 days, it could be refiled as a lawsuit. The family's lawyers say the deputy used excessive force, and that Harris had stopped and put his hands up before he was hit.
Two deputies chased Harris for several blocks May 10 after he was incorrectly linked by a witness to a bloody brawl in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood. As Harris slowed, Deputy Matthew Paul slammed Harris into a concrete wall outside of the Cinerama theater.
The deputies said they had identified themselves and shouted for Harris to stop. But the attorney for Harris' family, Sim Osborn, has said there is "conflicting testimony" over whether the deputies identified themselves at the outset.
In July, the King County Prosecutor's Office announced it would not file criminal charges against the deputy, calling the incident that left Harris with serious, possibly permanent brain injuries a "tragic incident." Prosecutors said there was no legal basis for a criminal charge, noting the deputy used a standard takedown procedure.
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