Tacoma, WA – A Tacoma jury has determined that an Olympia police officer did not violate two robbery suspects’ constitutional rights when he shot them during a confrontation in 2015.
Brothers Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin filed a $25 million lawsuit against the City of Olympia and Olympia Police Officer Ryan Donald in November of 2017, alleging that the officer used excessive force after they tried to steal beer from a Safeway store, KING reported.
The altercation occurred on May 21, 2015, after police received a report that Chaplin hurled a case of beer at a female Safeway employee who confronted him about trying to steal it, according to The Olympian.
Officer Donald later spotted the suspects walking along Cooper Point Road, so he pulled over and ordered them to stop, police said.
Thompson and Chaplin ignored his commands, and took off into the woods on foot.
Additional officers drove the duo back out of the wooded area towards Officer Donald, but the suspects again failed to comply with the officer’s commands to get down onto the ground, The Olympian reported.
The brothers’ attorney, Sunni Ko, acknowledged that Thompson swore at Officer Donaldson and yelled at him to “come at me,” according to the paper.
Thompson then attempted to tackle the officer as Chaplin raised a skateboard over his head and charged towards him, KING reported.
Officer Donald said he was afraid Chaplin would beat him in the head with the skateboard and that Thompson was going to steal his duty weapon, so he opened fire, according to The Olympian.
At least one of the rounds struck Chaplin in the spine, permanently paralyzing him.
According to the lawsuit, Chaplin now requires full-time care and is confined to a wheelchair.
Thompson was shot in the stomach, Teen Vogue reported.
He alleged that he “sustained severe physical and emotional injuries” due to his wounds, The Olympian reported.
“It was really bad,” Thompson told Teen Vogue in 2018. “I went to Bryson first. I see him all twitching and stuff. And I was infuriated. I was just all, like, cussing at him [Donald] some more and all I hear is pow pow pow and I’m down on the ground. I’m like, ‘Why’d you shoot us, you didn’t even have to do this!’”
The Olympia Police Department (OPD) and the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office ultimately cleared Officer Donald of any wrongdoing in relation to the officer-involved shooting.
In 2017, both suspects were convicted of third-degree assault, and Chaplin was also convicted of fourth-degree assault for attacking the Safeway employee, Teen Vogue reported.
Chaplin was sentenced to 10 ½ months in jail, while Thompson was sentenced to serve two months.
On Oct. 10, a Tacoma jury determined that Officer Donaldson did not violate the suspects’ constitutional rights during the officer-involved shooting, and rejected allegations that the officer acted negligently by opening fire, The Olympian reported.
The jury also rejected claims that the city failed to properly train its police force, according to KING.