$10M Awarded to Family of Man Hurt in Seattle Takedown

TACOMA, Wash. --

King County has settled with the family of a man who suffered a devastating head injury during a takedown in Seattle's Belltown area by a deputy, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Michelle Millman reported from the courtroom.

King County will pay the family of Christopher Harris $10 million, Harris family lawyer Sim Osborne said. The family had sued for $25 million.

The bulk of the settlement will come from King County’s self-insurance fund. The rest, about $1 million, will come from insurer AIG.

After being slammed into a wall by a police officer in May 2009, Harris is unable to walk, talk or care of himself.

The family of the 31-year-old said Harris was wrongly pointed out as a suspect in an earlier disturbance at a convenience store and ran from officers out of fear.

The officers were wearing all black instead of traditional uniforms.

Near the Cinerama Theater in Seattle's Belltown area, a deputy working with Metro's transit police caught up to Harris and tackled him into the wall.

The takedown was recorded by a surveillance camera.

Witnesses to that takedown testified last week that Harris appeared to be "giving up" just before being hit.

“When the people who were yelling for everybody in the area to stop (Harris), (Harris) turned around put his hands up and said, ‘I didn't steal anything,’” said Ron Cody.

In the second day of the trial, several witnesses said they couldn't tell if the men involved in tackling Harris were police officers or security guards. They testified the officers used force, though Harris offered no resistance and appeared to surrender.

A news release from the law firm Osborn Machler said according to medical testimony, Harris will require around-the-clock care for the rest of his life.

Harris’ wife, Sarah, is his primary caregiver.

“My only objective in filing this suit is to make sure Chris has the best medical care possible, and I have the ability to stay with him and care for him at home," Sarah Harris said in a news release.

An attorney for King County said the situation has been very difficult on the deputy involved in the incident which the deputy called "a tragic accident.”

“They took away the greatest person I've ever met in my life, and our future together,” said Sarah Harris.

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