Spokane to pay $1M to family of man deputy shot and killed

SPOKANE — The family of a man with mental health issues who was shot and killed by a Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy will receive $1 million.

The Spokane County Commissioners approved the federal civil rights lawsuit settlement this week, The Spokesman-Review reported.

Ethan Murray, 25, was killed in May 2019 in a wooded area in Spokane Valley.

Deputy Joseph Wallace told investigators he believed Murray had a knife, but an investigation revealed Murray had no weapons when Wallace shot him after not complying with commands.

Murray’s parents, Justine Murray and Mark Jentsch, filed the lawsuit in July, alleging Wallace violated their son’s constitutional rights and the sheriff’s office provides inadequate training.

Justine Murray has become an outspoken advocate for mental health, homeless and addiction services, along with better police training on mental health issues. She founded the Ethan Murray Fund, in part to further her goal of 24-hour mental health crisis response in North Idaho, where she lives.

The county did not admit liability.

“In association with Washington Counties Risk Pool, the Spokane County Commissioners assessed the risk of the lawsuit and determined the best path forward was to mitigate the risk for the County and its citizens in the best way possible,” the county said in a statement.

The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office’s found Wallace’s use of force justified. Wallace has since been promoted to detective.

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