58.9 F
Saturday, June 3, 2023

Family Of Che Taylor Receives $1.5 Million Settlement From The City Of Seattle

Che Taylor, right, is seen in this photo with his sister, DeVitta Briscoe. Taylor was killed by Seattle Police officers in 2016, and his family received a $1.5 million settlement in their wrongful death civil lawsuit against the City of Seattle. Photo courtesy of DeVitta Briscoe.

By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium

On Mon., the family of Che Taylor, a Black man killed by Seattle police officers, received a $1.5 million settlement in a civil lawsuit filed against the city of Seattle. Taylor was shot by SPD officers on Feb. 21, 2016 while police were conducting an undercover drug operation in the Wedgewood neighborhood of Seattle. The officers conducting the operation said Taylor reached for a gun and did not comply with demands when they shot him.

According to the family, discrepancies in facts during the original investigation of Taylor’s case came to light during the civil proceedings giving them, at a minimum for their loss, some satisfaction that the facts of the case were properly disclosed in court.

“The details in the case showed that Che was in compliance with police officers, he was unarmed,” said Taylor’s sister, DeVitta Briscoe. “The settlement does not comp for our loss, the amount is not enough to compensate for our grief and our loss, but we are thankful that is was resolved.”

James Bible, attorney for the Taylor family, agrees and says that the family never gave up in their pursuit of justice.

“We survived several attempts by the City to dismiss our case, but we fought with all our hearts,” said Bible. “Without delving too deeply into the facts, we steadfastly maintain that Che was shot while following inconsistent commands.”

While there is no admission of guilt in a civil lawsuit, it does bring a sense of justice to the family.

“We did settle with the Seattle Police Department and I think that is some acknowledgement of wrongdoing or liability on their part,” says Briscoe. “They (the police department) won’t say that, they won’t admit to that but it does give me some solace to know that our family fought really hard for this outcome.”

Taylor’s Brother, Andre Taylor agrees.

“This brings us a level of closure to our family with all the work that we’ve done,” says Andre Taylor. “We needed that sense of closure probably more than anything.”

For nearly five years, the Taylor family has fought to maintain the integrity of Che’s life and in doing so they’ve pushed for legislation and systemic change in order to move the needle when it comes to police accountability, including their work to establish and pass voter Initiative 940, which called for increased police training and criminal liability in cases of deadly force used by police.

“It’s been a five-year journey,” says Briscoe. “We’ve been really pushing that Che’s life matters, fighting against the narrative that he was just a criminal, guilty of his own death.”

“Before Initiative 940 there was no officer that has been found guilty of police use of deadly force,” says Taylor.  “In over 30 something years in the state of Washington because of the malice clause no officer has been found guilty but 940 changes that.”

Closure brings peace of mind to those who have lost someone. It doesn’t necessarily stop the pain from loss, but it is a pathway to healing. But the family is hopefully one step closer to healing in this tragic journey.

“It has been a long and difficult journey for the family of Che Taylor,” says Bible. “From the call informing them that their loved one was shot and killed by police to this very moment, they have been seeking justice for their loved one.”

The Seattle City Attorney’s Office agrees and hopes that everyone can find closure with the settlement.

“We hope that this resolution will lead to closure for the parties in this matter,” says Dan Nolte, Communications Director for the Seattle City Attorney’s Office. “We appreciate the Plaintiffs’ time and that of the mediator in working toward a resolution.”

The Taylor family has work diligently to bring about closure, yet they feel there is still more work to do. Although the language of law deferred accountability, the family of Che Taylor continues their work towards justice.

“We have never stopped our work, and our work will continue.” says Taylor. “We will continue to be the voice for the voiceless of the community because this has become bigger than my brother, so our work continues on.”

Must Read

Podcast: The “Sounds Of Black Folk” Event

Rhythm & News interview with Rev. Leslie Braxton about the upcoming Sounds of Black Folk event to take place June 18th at the Paramount Theater. Interview by Chris B. Bennett.