KENT, Wash. - The city of Kent has agreed to pay $4.4 million to the family of Giovonn Joseph-McDade, who was shot and killed by police in 2017 after a pursuit and attempts to stop his vehicle.
City of Kent spokesman Bailey Stober said the payout will settle a lawsuit brought by the family after the fatal police shooting. Joseph-McDade, 20, was unarmed when he was shot, according to police reports and witnesses.
"This settlement is a step in the right direction to bring closure to the family, the officers involved and the city as a whole," Stober said. "This case has been on-going for several years and it was in the best interest of all involved to resolve the matter."
Additionally, at the family’s request, the city will design and install a bench in a Kent city park to memorialize Joseph-McDade.
According to police reports, officers said they tried to pull over Joseph-McDade during a traffic stop in June 2017, but he took off. The chase ended in a cul-de-sac, where investigators said McDade and a patrol car collided.
An officer ordered McDade and his passenger to get out of the car, but McDade gunned the engine instead, police say.
Officer William Davis said he fired twice, telling investigators, "in an attempt to stop the driver from running me over, I fired twice from my duty pistol as the suspect vehicle continued to drive at me."
But the passenger in the car said he doesn't believe McDade intended to run over the officer. There were also questions about the traffic stop itself and whether the infraction justified a high-speed chase and shooting.
Joseph-McDade's parents filed a federal lawsuit last year that says officers Davis and Matthew Rausch violated department policy by failing to balance the severity of the traffic violation with the threat a chase might pose to the public.
But Stober said city officials believe the officers acted with Kent Police Department policies and state law.
"This is a case that we were fully prepared to litigate and defend but recognize in the best interest of the family, the officers involved and our community we need to resolve the matter and attempt to bring closure to those involved,” Stober said.