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Police, former WSU student settle for $500,000

Excessive force turns into lawsuit, settlement made

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

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A former WSU student who alleged that two Pullman police officers used excessive force while taking him into protective custody in 2016 has accepted a $500,000 settlement from several Pullman police officers.

According to the lawsuit, Kyle North, who is diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, entered the Pullman Jack in the Box on Northeast Stadium Way around 3 a.m. on Aug. 18, 2016. He then asked the manager to call the police because he feared he was being followed and needed police protection, according to the lawsuit.

Officers Douglas Anderson and Michael Sontgerath attempted to convince North to seek mental health treatment. North agreed, but then resisted when Officer Sontgerath told North he would need to walk in front while Sontgerath walked behind, according to the lawsuit.

North alleges that although he was not wanted for any criminal activity, the officers used excessive force, shocked him with a stun gun and put him in a neck restraint, causing him to lose consciousness.

The lawsuit also alleged that, during the encounter, Officer Sontgerath broke North’s right arm and dislocated his elbow, causing permanent damage and reduction in North’s range of motion.

North had also been subject to a welfare check earlier that night, which the lawsuit alleged both officers were aware of at the time.

Police Chief Gary Jenkins said the officers’ conduct was found to be appropriate, and they only used the force necessary to take North into custody after he resisted and attempted to go further back into the restaurant.

“Our position is that our officers didn’t do anything wrong and they handled the call within their crisis intervention training protocol,” Jenkins said.

The settlement, he said, was determined to be the most economical approach for the department.

“Our insurance carrier made what we would call a business decision to come out with the least amount of damage possible,” Jenkins said. “They determined [$500,000] was an acceptable amount.”

 

 

About the Writer
RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Rachel is a senior journalism and media production major from Albion, Washington, and was the news editor for fall 2018. She started working for The Daily...

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Police, former WSU student settle for $500,000