King County has agreed to pay $1.5 million to the family of Muckleshoot Tribe member Renee Davis, 23, who was shot and killed by King County Sheriff Deputies Nicholas Pritchett and Tim Lewis in 2016 during a welfare check.
Davis, a mother of three, was pregnant when she was killed. She was in crisis and suicidal when the police were called to her home on Muckleshoot land to perform a welfare check. Davis was in her bed and had an unloaded handgun in her hand when she was killed. Pritchett and Lewis shot Davis within one minute of arriving at her home.
In 2019, the King County Superior Court dismissed the wrongful death action brought by Davis’s family, only for the Court of Appeals to reverse that decision, according to Galanda Broadman, the law firm that represented Davis’s family.
The death of Davis sparked protests and calls for police accountability, and even led to the passage of ESB 5263 in May 2021, which is intended to help victims of police violence obtain justice.
The law revised RCW 4.24.420, which was used as a defense by municipalities to bar wrongful death claims that arose from the use of excessive force, according to an article by Galanda Broadman.
The county settled with the family after mediation. This is the second wrongful death settlement King County has made in the last six months. In March, King County agreed to pay $5 million to the family of Tommy Le, who was also shot and killed by a King County Sheriff’s Office deputy.
Davis’s family made a statement on the settlement:
“The Davis family is eternally grateful to the King County community for supporting their quest for truth and justice. From the Seattle Seahawks, who wore Renee’s name on their helmets, to Senator David Frockt, who sponsored ESSB 5263, to Mayor Jenny Durkan, who co-tried the inquest and publicly supported ESSB 5263 when cities and counties were vocally opposed to it, to the Muckleshoot Tribe, Washington Coalition for Police Accountability, ACLU of Washington, and Washington State Association of Justice, which collaborated to get ESSB 5263 passed into law, to local Indigenous peoples, who held a prayer vigil for Renee last fall, to other families of police violence victims, who prayed and mourned with the Davis family, it was the community of King County who stood with the family and made the difference.”