What is most disturbing about the Doug Ostling case on Bainbridge Island, Washington, is the similarity to the murder of Otto Zehm in Spokane, Washington; and the murder of Kelly Thomas in Fullerton, California. All three victims had a diagnosis of schizophrenia, none of the victims had come into contact with the Officers who killed them because they had committed a crime; and none of the men had threatened the Police Officers who murdered them. In all three of three cases, the Police Officers involved and their superior Officers were dishonest about the chain of events which lead to their victim's being killed. Three beloved sons are mourned by their families; because of criminal conduct of Police Officers. All three men were killed by men who abdicated their responsibility to the communities they serve, and then sought to avoid being held accountable for their criminal conduct by lying. Three homicide victims, who were vulnerable adults were killed by men who had a sworn duty to protect and to serve them...
I know it doesn't have to be this way---I don't have words to express how grateful I am that my son, who is also a young man with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, has always been treated with respect by the Officers in the Yakima Police Department, and the Yakima County Sheriff's Department. I
via The Seattle Times:
Bainbridge seeks new trial on award in police shooting
A jury awarded $1 million to the family of a mentally ill man who was killed by police in 2010.
The city of Bainbridge Island is challenging a federal jury's decision to award $1 million to the family of a mentally ill man who was fatally shot by Bainbridge police in 2010.
The Kitsap Sun reported that attorneys for the city are asking a federal judge to halt the June 1 decision. The city wants a new trial, saying Bainbridge Police Chief Jon Fehlman, who had fallen ill, did not have a chance to defend himself during the trial.
Doug Ostling was shot and killed in his apartment in 2010. His family sued.
This month, the jury rejected the family's claims that officers illegally entered Ostling's bedroom, used excessive force and failed to help him after he was shot. But jurors found the Police Department failed to properly train its officers in dealing with the mentally ill.
The minutes pass
The radio call — "Shots fired!" — came in 4 minutes and 50 seconds after the officers had arrived at the house.
Bill and Joyce wanted to run up the stairs, to check on their son. But the police wouldn't let them, saying it would be unsafe. Bill went and grabbed a 40-foot ladder so he could look through a skylight into Doug's room. Police intercepted him, saying he couldn't do that, either.
Within an hour, at least 17 officers arrived: Bainbridge, Kitsap County, Washington State Patrol. Police shepherded Doug's parents to a secluded part of the house, away from the garage. Minutes passed, without word. "I just knew in my soul they had shot him and he was dead," Joyce says. "I could just feel it."
As Doug lay in his room, bleeding, police dealt with him as a barricaded suspect. They waited on a SWAT team. They waited for medical aid. They called Doug's room and got voice mail. Police searched for the key that had been put in the lock. They considered ramming the door. They considered using that 40-foot ladder to do what Ostling's father had wanted to do.
More minutes passed.
Both of the Ostlings' daughters were at the house when the shooting occurred. Police told the family they needed to leave. Kim, in slippers, left without her brace. She marched the long driveway on the edge of her foot, in pain.
"We were treated worse than a bad dog by the Police Department," Bill says.
An hour and 17 minutes after the shots were fired, police peered through a skylight into Ostling's room; he was behind the door, his body still.
He had bled out and died.
The shooter goes on Facebook
The next day, Bainbridge Island Police Chief Jon Fehlman held a news conference. He described Ostling's death in a way that was dramatic — and dramatically untrue.
When police arrived, Ostling was in the driveway, "yelling and screaming and acting very aggressive toward the officers," Fehlman told reporters. The officers tried to calm him. But Ostling "came at the officers several times. They tried to deflect him, just push him away."
The officers used a Taser, but that didn't work. Ostling retreated to a garage apartment "and retrieved an ax and came back at the officers with the ax raised above his head." An officer fired, Fehlman said. Ostling then went back inside his apartment and "barricaded the door."
So much of Fehlman's story was wrong. There was no confrontation in the driveway. Ostling didn't retreat to go get a weapon. He didn't raise the ax over his head.
When Fehlman spoke, Benkert had yet to be interviewed about why he fired.
The Police Department's regulations say an officer using deadly force must submit to an investigative interview within 24 hours. But Benkert was advised by a police-guild attorney not to do so. So he didn't.
The Kitsap County Sheriff's Office investigated, and two months later, prosecutors said Benkert would not be charged with a crime. By this point Benkert still had not been interviewed. Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge, explaining his decision, wrote that when Benkert fired, Ostling was "standing over" Portrey, with an ax "raised over his head."
The following month, in January 2011, Benkert finally sat down for an interview.
An internal review by Fehlman's second-in-command subsequently concluded that all department personnel followed policy and "acted reasonably under the circumstances and within the scope of the law."
Bill and Joyce Ostling hired Jack Connelly, a Tacoma attorney, and filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Bainbridge Island, Benkert and Fehlman, saying the shooting was unjustified. Trial is scheduled for May.
Last month, a lawyer in Connelly's firm took Benkert's deposition.
"Is it possible that he wasn't coming over to attack you or your partner, but that he was coming over to close the door?" the lawyer asked.
"It's possible," Benkert said.
"Did he ever raise the ax above his head?"
"Not that I saw."
"Is it possible that Douglas Ostling was actually behind the door at the time that you opened fire on him?"
"How about almost entirely?"
"I don't know."
Connelly took Fehlman's deposition a couple of weeks later and grilled him about the story he'd told the media. Fehlman blamed underlings for feeding him bad information. When he learned of the inaccuracies, he alerted city officials in a private session, Fehlman said.
"Did you ever go to the press and say, 'I gave you a false report?' " Connelly asked.
"No," Fehlman said. The police chief said he did not believe he was ethically obliged to correct his account to the public.
Although Benkert went months without providing any formal statement about the shooting, he did address it on Facebook.
A week after the shooting, an officer with the LAPD sent Benkert this message: "Hey man how you doing? Heard you did some combat qual???!!!"
The next day, Benkert responded: "no sweat here ... bad guy should have listened a little better."
News researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report. Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605 firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jmartin206. Ken Armstrong: 206-464-3730 or email@example.com