Jury agrees deaf woman's rights violated, but refuses huge payout

by: John Knicely Updated:


A federal jury awarded a deaf woman just $1 in her multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Tacoma police and Pierce County.  But the jury did agree that her rights were violated when she was arrested.
In 2012 LaShonn White, who is deaf, called Tacoma police through her special video phone to report being assaulted.
“She's fighting at me, she chokes me, and comes right at me,” White told KIRO 7 in 2012.
White showed us how she went out to meet Tacoma Police Officers Ryan Koskovich and Michael Young when the dispatcher said they were on the way.  But as she approached them, officers believed she was the attacker.  Koskovich used a Taser on her and White fell to the ground.
“They told me, 'Please stand up, you're going to jail,'” White told us.  “I was like, 'What, what had I done?'”
It was that arrest, pictures of her bruises, and her time in the Pierce County Jail that led to the $4.5 million lawsuit.  But a federal jury only agreed with two points in the lawsuit, and not the huge payout.
On Monday Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist released a statement saying, "We take strong stands against frivolous and harassing lawsuits.  We're successfully protecting the taxpayers' money."
But the jury did agree that Koskovich and Young violated White's 4th Amendment rights by arresting her without probable cause.  For that the jury awarded White $1. 

On Wednesday KIRO 7 asked the Tacoma Police Department if there would be any action against the 2 officers.  A spokesperson said they will have a statement later in the day.


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