Sheriff’s Deputy Art Wallin, testifying here in a recent unrelated trial, is being sued by Britt Jakobsen over the 2018 fatal shooting of her boyfriend, Nickolas Peters. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Sheriff’s Deputy Art Wallin, testifying here in a recent unrelated trial, is being sued by Britt Jakobsen over the 2018 fatal shooting of her boyfriend, Nickolas Peters. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

New lawsuit filed against deputy in shooting of Edmonds man

The plaintiff, Britt Jakobsen, was in the passenger seat when her boyfriend was fatally shot by Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy Art Wallin.

EVERETT — A new lawsuit calls Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy Art Wallin’s decision to shoot and kill a 24-year-old Edmonds man “outrageous and extreme.”

An earlier lawsuit filed by the family of Nickolas Peters was settled for $1 million.

Britt Jakobsen filed the new tort claim Monday in Snohomish County Superior Court, naming Wallin, Snohomish County and unidentified sheriff’s deputies as defendants. Jakobsen was in the passenger seat three years ago when the deputy shot her boyfriend, Peters, twice through the windshield.

In the claim for damages, Jakobsen alleges she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder in the aftermath of the shooting. She had to seek treatment, resulting in medical expenses, the lawsuit says.

She is represented by Kevin Richardson, of Bradley Johnson Lawyers in Seattle.

The law office did not return phone calls from The Daily Herald seeking comment.

Shortly after 10 p.m. Oct. 23, 2018, Wallin engaged in a brief high-speed chase with Peters east of Lynnwood, with speeds reaching about 100 mph, according to investigative reports. During the chase, deputies reported Peters hit their vehicles with his Ford F-150 as he tried to get away. The other deputy in the chase, Mark Stich, reported he and Wallin may have bumped cars, as well. Pictures show scrapes and dents on the patrol vehicles.

Stich rammed Peters’ pickup truck head-on and pinned it against some brush on Damson Road. Wallin got out of his patrol vehicle and took up a position by the passenger side of Peters’ pickup. When the deputy fired his gun, the lawsuit alleges, he could clearly see Peters in the driver’s seat and see he was unarmed.

Britt Jakobsen (left) speaks to reporters in Seattle on Nov. 21, 2018. She was in the passenger seat when her boyfriend, Nickolas Peters, was shot by a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy. At right is her father, Ken Jakobsen. (Zachariah Bryan / Herald file)

Britt Jakobsen (left) speaks to reporters in Seattle on Nov. 21, 2018. She was in the passenger seat when her boyfriend, Nickolas Peters, was shot by a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy. At right is her father, Ken Jakobsen. (Zachariah Bryan / Herald file)

The lawsuit mistakenly says Wallin stood on the pickup’s hood. Stich was actually the deputy who got on the hood, as can be seen in video of the encounter.

The complaint also mistakenly says Wallin shot Peters after Jakobsen was pulled out of the pickup. She was still in the passenger seat when he shot Peters.

The lawsuit describes how a sheriff’s deputy pulled Jakobsen out of the truck by her hair. That deputy was now-Sheriff Adam Fortney, a sergeant at the time. The complaint does not refer to him by name.

The shooting was investigated by the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team, a countywide task force of detectives who examine police use of deadly force.

Jakobsen cast doubt about the police version of events at a press conference held a month after the shooting. According to her, she and Peters raised their hands and tried to obey the deputies’ changing commands. Witness reports included in the investigation indicated Peters was not following orders, though there has been debate about whether he posed a threat to the deputies.

After reviewing the SMART investigation, Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell declined to pursue charges against Wallin, citing law at the time requiring proof the deputy acted with malice or evil intent — a high bar to clear.

After an additional administrative review by the sheriff’s office, then-Sheriff Ty Trenary fired Wallin in October 2019 for policy violations related to the pursuit and the shooting.

Nickolas Peters (top) and Britt Jakobsen. (Courtesy of Britt Jakobsen)

Nickolas Peters (top) and Britt Jakobsen. (Courtesy of Britt Jakobsen)

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office declined to comment this week on the new lawsuit, the agency’s usual policy for pending litigation.

There are different standards for determining whether a deputy violated policy or whether a deputy committed a crime.

At the end of 2019, just before Fortney became sheriff, Snohomish County settled a federal lawsuit with Peters’ family for $1 million.

Weeks later, as one of his first acts as sheriff, Fortney reinstated Wallin and exonerated him of his policy violations. In a press conference, Fortney called the previous sheriff’s reasoning for firing the deputy “completely flawed.”

“In my judgment, Deputy Wallin put his life on the line to protect both his partner and his community,” Fortney wrote in a decision letter.

In a statement submitted in the sheriff’s office’s internal review, over six months after the shooting, Wallin said he feared for his and Stich’s lives. According to him, Peters was trying to start his pickup and could have run them over.

An audio recording of the encounter shows the truck’s engine did not start all the way back up when Wallin fired his gun. During a pre-disciplinary hearing, an attorney with the sheriff’s deputy union noted a sound can be heard just before the gunshots. That sound came from the engine, the attorney argued.

As of this week, Wallin was still employed with the sheriff’s office as a K-9 handler.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

Talk to us

More in Local News

FILE - A Boeing 747-8, Boeing's new passenger plane, takes its first flight, Sunday, March 20, 2011, at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. After more than half a century, Boeing is rolling its last 747 out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Boeing’s last 747 to roll off the Everett assembly line

The Queen of the Skies was dethroned by smaller, more fuel-efficient jets. The last 747s were built for a cargo carrier.

PUD workers install new transformers along 132nd Street on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Electric vehicles spur big forecast jump for PUD demand

Not long ago, the Snohomish County PUD projected 50,000 electric cars registered in the county by 2040. Now it expects up to 660,000.

Traffic moves northbound on I-5 through Everett on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Grinding work still needed for I-5 through Everett

Construction crews need warmer temps for the work to remove what a reader described as “mini raised speed bumps.”

After a day of learning to fight fires, Snohomish firefighter recruit Chau Nguyen flakes a hose as other recruits load the hoses onto a fire truck April 19, 2018, at the training facility on S. Machias Rd. in Snohomish. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)
Lawsuit: Everett firefighter sexually harassed numerous recruits

Chau Nguyen resigned earlier this year, long after the first complaint about his behavior at the county’s fire training academy.

Marysville
Marysville to pay $1M to another former student for alleged sex abuse

The latest settlement marks the earliest known allegations against Kurt Hollstein, who worked in the district until last year.

Mike Rosen
Businessman Mike Rosen announces campaign for mayor of Edmonds

Rosen, a city planning board member, is backed by five former Edmonds mayors. It’s unclear if incumbent Mike Nelson will run again.

The Everett Police Department was investigating a woman's death Sunday morning after a driver hit and killed her on Broadway in north Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Woman killed by suspected impaired driver in Everett

A driver reportedly hit the person, which prompted the closure of Broadway between 17th and 19th streets Sunday morning.

Ty Juvinel stands beside the towering welcome figure that he created for the Edmonds Waterfront Center on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Edmonds, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘Our heritage is a gift’: 500-year-old log is carved into Tulalip welcome

The wooden figure represents matriarchs who “can see the potential you have that you don’t know yet,” explained artist Ty Juvinel.

Customers enter and exit the new Costco on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022 in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The wait is over as Costco opens in Lake Stevens

The new store, in the works since 2018, opened Friday. Some came for the specials, others had a hankering for hot dogs.

Most Read