By KOMO Staff Published: Nov 20, 2012
King County has reached a settlement with the family of Christopher Harris, who suffered brain damage when he was slammed against a wall by a King County deputy in 2009.
The county has agreed to pay $1.478 million for allegedly withholding documents that depict Deputy Matthew Paul's pattern of behavioral issues prior to the incident involving Christopher Harris.
Sim Osborne, the attorney representing the Harris family, said had the King County Sheriff's Office handed over the documents on Paul as it is legally required to do, he would have taken the case to trial and filed an additional federal civil-rights cause of action. He alleged the department intentionally withheld the documents to hamper the case.
A judge in September ruled in the Harris family's favor, stating, "This reckless indifference in its failure to produce these three documents - documents that were indisputably relevant - is the functional equivalent of intentional misconduct."
The $1.478 million includes the $300,000 in sanctioned by the judge, and is less than half of the $3.3 million the family had sought.
The amount is in addition to the $10 million the county agreed to pay during a civil trial.
Harris suffered permanent brain and spinal damage in the May 2009 incident, and can no longer talk, walk or feed himself. Harris' doctors said he will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life.