Jury orders city of Roy to pay $3.26M to men shot by police

ROY, Wash. (AP) — A federal jury has awarded two men who live south of Tacoma a total of $3.26 million for injuries suffered when they were shot by one of the town of Roy’s two police officers during a drunken joy ride in a 2019 snowstorm.

The verdict is one of the largest reached in the Western District of Washington involving a nonfatal police shooting, The Seattle Times reported.

The jury found Officer Chris Johnson used excessive force when he fired four rounds into the cab of a small four-wheel-drive off-road vehicle, striking driver David Rice in the groin and shoulder. Passenger Seth Donahue was hit in the wrist by a bullet.

The verdict, which came after a 13-day trial in federal court in Tacoma, awarded $2,208,000 to Rice and $1,049,000 to Donahue.

Johnson claimed he was struck by the vehicle after he exited his police car and tried to stop it following a pursuit. The plaintiffs claim they didn’t know they were being chased and that Johnson ambushed them at an intersection.

Expert testimony and surveillance video from a nearby business introduced at trial showed the officer did not have emergency lights on and that he shined a spotlight into the interior of the Polaris RZR — which Rice said blinded him — before firing.