Man Awarded $5.5 Million After Cops ‘Accidentally’ Shot Him 16 Times
Dustin Theoharis was shot 16 times by police, but they say it was all a big “mistake.” When Dustin woke up from a nap back on February 11th of 2012, two police officers shot him 16 times.
But the cops say that they were trying to serve a warrant for somebody else. They just happened to think that Theoharis was reaching for a gun when he was in fact trying to grab his wallet.
Theoharis filed two lawsuits as a result, the payouts now totaling $5.5 million. Theoharis says the suit is justified by the fact that he lost his job as a result of being shot and still suffers daily. He also says that he has trouble socializing due to suffering from post-traumatic stress. His left arm and hand also don’t function fully due to the multiple gun shot injuries he sustained from the trigger-happy cops.
“It’s a tough job they have to do,” Theoharis said to the Seattle Times. While he acknowledges police have “a tough job,” he says that doesn’t mean they don’t have to take responsibility for their actions when “they make mistakes.”
In this case the “mistakes” were huge and could have cost an innocent man his life.
Theoharis was napping at an apartment he was renting in his friend Cole Harrison’s home in Washington. Police weren’t looking for Theoharis or even his friend Harrison, but instead for Harrison’s son.
Harrison’s son hadn’t done anything particularly catastrophic. Instead, he had failed to check in with his state Department of Corrections probation officer.
They didn’t find Harrison or his son. The King County sheriff’s deputy Aaron Thompson and corrections officer Kristopher Rongen found Theoharis sleeping. They woke him up and asked him for ID. When he reached for it, they unloaded on him.
“I woke up and there were two guys standing at the door,” Theoharis said. “They asked me for ID and I went to grab for it and that’s when I was shot.”
Theoharis was shot in the jaw, both upper and lower arms, his wrist, hand shoulder and abdomen, and both legs according to medical records. He never made it out of bed and never made a move that could in any way be interpreted as “threatening” the officers. He was simply responding to what they told him to do.
The original suit was for $20 million, but a $3 million settlement was agreed upon, followed by an additional $2.5 million paid out by the state.
Most outrageous of all is the fact that neither officers Thompson and Rongen were ever charged.