Family of Tommy Le file wrongful death/civil rights lawsuit against police


Print This Post  Email This Post

The family of Tommy Le, a 20-year-old high school senior who was shot and killed in Burien on June 13, 2017, filed a wrongful death/civil rights lawsuit against the King County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, Sept. 7.

As we previously reported, Le was shot and killed by King County/Burien Police Deputy Cesar Molina, who was responding to a disturbance in Burien.

The lawsuit claims that Le was shot twice in the back by Molina, and that he was unarmed. The King County Sheriff’s Office originally said that witnesses claimed Le was armed with a knife, and that he was shouting that he was ‘The Creator’ and acting erratically during the tragic incident.

Two tasers were ineffective in stopping him, and he was shot and killed as he allegedly advanced on officers, police said.

Police released multiple 9-1-1 calls regarding the incident in the 13600 block of 3rd Ave S., and say that when they arrived on the scene multiple witnesses told them that Le was armed with a knife, and that he had confronted at least two people in the area before they arrived.

Le apparently was just hours away from graduating through the Career Link High School Completion Program, having picked up his cap and gown earlier that afternoon.

Known by his classmates and teachers as a “goofy” and “bubbly” kid, Tommy had come a long way from when he first entered the alternative high school after dropping out of Evergreen High School. Having earned enough credits to graduate on a final exam the morning of his death, Tommy had plans to attend South Seattle Community College, according to his Father, Sunny Le.

Print This Post  Email This Post

Comments

12 Responses to “Family of Tommy Le file wrongful death/civil rights lawsuit against police”
  1. David Silver says:

    This is sad, but police are trained not to let someone with a knife get within 20 feet of them. If true, multiple calls to 911 stating this guy had a knife would put any cop in protective mode.

    Tasers themselves are considered a deadly weapon (at least according to prosecutors) when used by private citizens against others. Le apparently withstood 2 hits by a Taser – and kept on coming. Why he kept advancing on the cops at this point is a testament to his bad intentions.

    This sounds like suicide by cop – notwithstanding his mental freak out. People aren’t required to give their lives to accommodate someone’s mania. Which is apparently what the cops felt was happening.

    Rate: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 16

  2. MichaelJ says:

    Being shot in the back is not an automatic assumption of wrongdoing by the police. When a police have probable cause to believe someone has committed a violent felony, or believed to be an immediate violent felony threat to others, non-lethal efforts fail, and the suspect does not follow orders to stop, it is within bounds to shoot a fleeing suspect in the back whether or not they are attempting to flee. Whether or not the suspect was found to be armed after the fact, does not change this.

    I really sympathize with Lee’s family–this was a tragic and avoidable loss. But not in the way they may believe. Many many others have been killed for much less and police have been not held accountable.. The Lee’s certainly have a lot to prove, even in a civil suit. They listened to a personal injury lawyer out of that’s lawyer’s own self-interest.

    This will not bring him back.

    Rate: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 7

    • James says:

      If this were your son, would you still feel the same way? For all those involved, including the officer, I’m sure they both wish the outcome was different and that police departments had the resources they need to better handle this type of situation. I feel for the police officer who killed an unarmed 20 year old and not even a month later struck and killed a pedestrian on his way home from work. I hope that officer is getting the community resources/time off he needs and I especially feel for Tommy and his family, who won’t get there son back. As community we should stand on both sides, for the officer and Tommy’s family to help them heal, understand, forgive and hopefully keep another tragic situation such as this one from happening again.

      Rate: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 10

  3. MichaelJ says:

    Their attorney has also chased many a high profile case in the past few years. Interesting quote from a Seattle Times columnist on one such high profile case:

    “…But in representing that injured little girl, Campiche is grasping for something that may not be there…”
    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/attorney-in-school-shooting-case-is-seeking-too-much/

    Rate: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

    • Leslie Harris says:

      With respect to the reference to the article about young Amina Bowman being shot in her classroom – please see the public settlement of $1.2 Million dollars for her extensive medical care required by this shooting – Moreover, the policies and practice of the Bremerton School District were changed to address bullying, communication amongst school district employees interventions – we’re very proud of that fact – to keep students and children safer.

      http://komonews.com/news/local/12-million-settlement-for-victim-of-bremerton-school-shooting

      Respectfully,

      Leslie Harris
      Paralegal
      Campiche Arnold PLLC

      Rate: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10

  4. Clean it up! says:

    David Silver and Michael J., you both seem to be appointing yourselves as judge and jury over this case. Why not see how it turns out? You both also seem to believe that there can be no improvement in how police handle such moments of uncertainty.

    I believe there can be improvement in how officers ascertain their role in such circumstances. I also think more extensive training and the supervision of experienced officers is at a minimum called for to learn how to defuse situations.

    We have thousands of different types of killing weapons. Can no one think of a subduing device or at least a distraction? For pity sake a net, if nothing else.

    My heart goes out to this family. I am truly sorry for their loss. Bless them for trying to find out what really happened. May it lead to an improvement in law enforcement abilities in the future.

    Rate: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 20

    • MichaelJ says:

      There is always room for improvement. But as I said, the Le’s and their attorney also have a lot to prove.

      Rate: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

    • Captain obvious says:

      I think in this case there are a couple of things. That may have led to how the police reacted.

      One it was called in as shots fired. This means the arriving officers are responding to shots fired. Not someone having a mental health issue or whatever issue this person was having.
      This means having taser’s and firearms ready. Most likely one officer deploy there taser then when it didn’t effect the person. The other officer fired there taser as the other officer got there firearm ready. Then unfortunately what happened next was not good for the person or the family.

      If they would have known it’s a person having a issue like this person was they would of sent a negotiator or a officer with more non lethal weapons. Like a bean bag shot gun or something.

      Then there is the way the person reacted to the police. You kinda have to step back and think why would anyone act that way to a police officer. Especially after a home owner fire a weapon at your feet. For chasing them and some one else.

      Also what is the overall out come of this lawsuit is it. To make changes to police protocol or is it a cash settlement.

      Rate: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  5. James says:

    If this were your son, would you still feel the same way? For all those involved, including the officer, I’m sure they both wish the outcome was different and that police departments had the resources they need to better handle this type of situation. I feel for the police officer who killed an unarmed 20 year old and not even a month later struck and killed a pedestrian on his way home from work. I hope that officer is getting the community resources/time off he needs and I especially feel for Tommy and his family, who won’t get there son back. As community we should stand on both sides, for the officer and Tommy’s family to help them heal, understand, forgive and hopefully keep another tragic situation such as this one from happening again

    Rate: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Sting says:

    How come COPS all around this country, are so stupid?

    Vote YES on I-940 in this state ! Maybe..just MAYBE, some more training will help.

    Rate: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

    • Captain obvious says:

      Wow that’s a pretty bold statement to make.

      So what are the cops in this situation supposed to do just let the guy run around chasing people threatening to kill them.

      So you see a few videos on the news of a few out of the millions of officers on the road. That some make errors in judgment or have to make a split second judgment call to save their life and the life’s of the public.

      Or like the other day the video of the cop pulling his firearm on a crotch rocket rider. That the video only show the end of the chase and not what lead up to the officer acting in such away. It also did not explain why the person did not stop until block in by other cars and a stop light.

      They also don’t want you to realize why the news only tend to show videos like this and not the millions of stops made by officers everyday that don’t end in . A death or firearm being pulled. Because now of days most news organizations run off of fear and click bait story’s.
      To keep people glued to the screen to keep their profits up. Why the people come up with all sort of assumptions on these story without using common sense. Or knowing the whole story since we tend to get only one side of the story or what news wants to tell you or has time to tell you.

      Then you have people that don’t follow the law but want to make cops look bad in some videos like the one mention above.

      Now of days it’s pretty easy to cut and paste a video to make the situation look in your favor.

      Rate: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  7. jellybean says:

    My husband was shot and killed by a Auburn cop. The cop said ‘he was reaching in his jacket because he had a knife?’ No Taser was used, No knife at the scene, no knife was found when his body arrived at Harborview. The doctor came to me in the waiting room at 4:30am. Said that his body was considered evidence and I was not allowed to see his body. He also said that I wouldn’t recognize his face anyways because he was shot 1 time behind the ear and 1 time in the back of the head… The cop pulled him over and was only 20-30 feet away standing behind his open door of the cop car.
    The only thing that I’m angry about is the cop could have used a taser or shot some where else besides his head.

    People see $$$$ and I think are greedy. If there wasn’t a problem, if someone didn’t call for help, then the cops would not have been there. Don’t call the cops, don’t break the law and don’t blame the cops for doing their job!!

    Rate: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!