Judge: Brothers’ lawsuit against Olympia officer to go ahead
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge says a lawsuit by two brothers against the Olympia police officer who shot them can move forward.
Officer Ryan Donald shot Bryson Chaplin and Andre Thompson in 2015 after confronting them for stealing beer. He said the pair attacked him with a skateboard; they claimed they were shot as they re-emerged from the woods after initially fleeing the officer. Chaplin was paralyzed, and Thompson suffered an abdominal wound.
Donald is white while the brothers are black; the shooting set off a series of protests in Olympia.
A Thurston County jury found Chaplin and Thompson guilty of third-degree assault, but they are pursuing a federal lawsuit that alleges the shooting was negligent. They say the physical evidence and expert testimony disprove the Donald’s story, and the city failed to properly train the officer, whose supervisor had noted he had a tendency to use force rashly.
U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton last week refused to dismiss the claims, saying the record “does not rule out the possibility that Donald acted unreasonably.”