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Family of man shot, killed by Longview police files wrongful death lawsuit

COWLITZ COUNTY, Wash. — The family of a 33-year-old man who was shot and killed by police in Longview, Washington nearly two years ago, has launched a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department and the officers involved.

The man was fatally shot as he was running away and the incident was caught on video.

The family said the video is proof the shooting was unjustified.

Attorneys for the family of Justin Tofte said officers who chased him to stop him for several arrest warrants, hit Tofte with a stun gun but he kept on running.

The attorneys also said Tofte was shot in the back by a detective and video shows him getting up and running again.

The attorneys said a detective shot Tofte in the back a second time when they believed he was reaching for a handgun, which fell out of his pocket.

Lawyers said Tofte never pointed a gun or anything at officers.

Tofte later collapsed and died on the way to the hospital.

The lawsuit alleges excessive force and brutality, assault and battery, negligence and deprivation of civil rights.

The attorney representing the family and who filed the suit is Mark Lindquist, the former Pierce County prosecutor.

“Running from police is a bad idea, but it doesn’t justify a death sentence,” Lindquist said.

The Longview Police Department said it was aware of the lawsuit.

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