Sound Stories. Sound Voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
You are on the KUOW archive site. Click here to go to our current site.

Family files civil rights lawsuit in Tommy Le shooting

Tommy Le's family and attorneys announce their decision to file a $20 million wrongful death and civil rights violation lawsuit against King County, the King County Sheriff's Office and (former) Sheriff John Urquhart in 2017.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld
/
Tommy Le's family and attorneys at a news conference in 2017.

A new federal lawsuit says a King County sheriff’s deputy violated the civil rights of a man he shot to death last June.

Deputies were responding to 911 calls in Burien about a man making threats when they encountered 20-year-old Tommy Le.

Deputy Cesar Molina shot Le in the back. At the time, the Sheriff’s Office said Molina believed Le was armed with a knife. But police found no knife at the scene. 

Jeff Campiche, an attorney for Le’s family, said that’s because Le didn’t have a knife — only a pen.

The suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court alleges Molina was poorly trained. It also alleges Le’s Vietnamese heritage was a factor in the shooting.

The suit names Molina, King County, county Executive Dow Constantine and former Sheriff John Urquhart.

A King County inquest scheduled in the Le shooting has been put on hold while a committee appointed by Constantine examines whether there should be changes to the process.