A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit over the death of a black teen who was shot and killed by King County Sheriff’s Office deputies in 2017.
Announced May 4, the settlement requires the county to pay $2.25 million to the family and issue an apology to the parents of MiChance Dunlap-Gittens. It further requires the sheriff’s office to continue looking into installing body and dashboard cameras, a move the department has not yet implemented.
It is the latest development in a case in which undercover deputies conducted an unapproved sting that left Dunlap-Gittens dead. Deputies were looking for another youth, whom they incorrectly thought had been involved in the death of a Seattle police officer’s son two days prior to the shooting. The officers set up a sting to buy alcohol from the teens. While Dunlap-Gittens was running from the armed and undercover deputies, they shot him four times, including once in the back of the head.
In response, the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) made more than 30 recommendations on ways to avoid similar situations in the future. In February, the King County Council’s Law and Justice Committee chair Girmay Zahilay said the committee would not wait for litigation to finish to take action.
An OLEO report said those reforms were left to “die on the vine,” a characterization the sheriff disagreed with.
These recommendations included increasing the bar for deputies to use deadly force as well as changing how operations are planned to increase oversight. Other recommendations include compelling sheriff’s office employees involved in shootings to be interviewed the same day instead of days or weeks later.
Additionally, the report recommended looking into whether deadly force should be used when an armed subject is running away, as Dunlap-Gittens was.