EVERETT — Snohomish County has agreed to settle for $1 million with the family of a 24-year-old Edmonds man who was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy, according to paperwork filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
The agreement closes a chapter in the aftermath of the October 2018 shooting of Nickolas Peters. The use-of-force encounter also has been the subject of two investigations and resulted in the firing of a deputy.
Seattle law firm Campiche Arnold represented Peters’ family in the lawsuit, which was filed in June. Attorney Jeff Campiche said the settlement sent a clear message to the family.
“It’s a statement that the killing of Nickolas was wrong,” Campiche said.
On Oct. 23, 2018, Deputy Art Wallin was on his way to a disturbance call in a neighborhood east of Lynnwood when he attempted to pull over a Ford F-150 pickup. The driver, who turned out to be Peters and unrelated to the initial call, sped off and led deputies on a brief but frantic pursuit that reached speeds of more than 100 mph.
Deputies eventually struck Peters’ truck to make it spin out on Damson Road and pinned it against some bushes.
One deputy jumped on the hood of the truck and shined a flashlight through the windshield, while Wallin positioned himself outside the passenger door.
The two deputies shouted conflicting commands of “turn it off” and “hands up,” according to audio collected by investigators.
Peters didn’t comply with any of the orders, the deputies reported.
His girlfriend, Britt Jakobsen, who was sitting in the passenger seat, later disputed that claim.
Wallin fired two shots. Both bullets went through Peters’ right arm. One embedded in his ribs, while the other pierced his right lung and landed in his spine. He died from his injuries at a hospital.
In addition to the civil lawsuit, the encounter was the subject of an investigation by the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team, a task force of detectives that reviews cases in which police use deadly force. Prosecutor Adam Cornell reviewed SMART’s report and declined to pursue charges against the involved deputies.
The sheriff’s office conducted its own review of the encounter and found that Wallin violated policy, both in the pursuit and in shooting Peters. In October, a year after the shooting, then-Sheriff Ty Trenary fired the deputy.
In a nine-page decision letter obtained by The Daily Herald through a public records request, Trenary wrote that the deputy shouldn’t have chased after Peters in the first place. And, once stopped, Peters didn’t appear to present enough of a threat to warrant being shot.
For the family, the settlement affirms the sheriff’s conclusions.
“The Peters family will forever grieve the unnecessary and unlawful death of their son and pray for police restraint from using deadly force,” Campiche wrote in a statement.
Before the settlement is finalized, it must be voted on by the Snohomish County Council. The complaint demanded $20 million in damages.