Family of man shot, killed by Tacoma police files claim against city

VIDEO: Family of man shot, killed by Tacoma police files claim against city

TACOMA, Wash. — The family of a man shot and killed by Tacoma police has filed a claim of excessive force against the city of Tacoma and the officer who pulled the trigger.

Bennie Branch, 24, died Sept. 8, 2019.

“Here’s another case of a man being shot and killed by police and, in this case, he was shot in the back as he was running away from the officers and, tragically, it was witnessed by his own mother,” said attorney Dale Galipo, Branch’s family attorney.

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The shooting happened around 2:45 a.m. near 34th Street and Portland Avenue in Tacoma.

Branch's family said the 24-year-old went to the area to check on his homeless mother.

The family said Branch was shot in the back while running from police following a traffic stop.

In documents KIRO 7 obtained from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Officer Ryan Bradley, who investigators said shot Branch, told a detective: “[Branch’s] hand was down at his left side right where the firearm was. I saw his left hand right at his waistband. Unequivocally, I believed that he was going to access his firearm and shoot… I had an immediate fear for the officers’ safety that were present, and myself and this woman. So I fired my department issued firearm at the male in rapid succession in a single volley.”

The police report shows Branch was shot at least seven times.

The firearm was later determined to be an Airsoft gun, which Branch didn’t have in his hand when he was killed.

“I’m confident we will get justice, at least in the civil courts, for Bennie Branch,” said Galipo.

The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office stated they’re reviewing the case, which was referred to them Feb. 20 by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. The prosecutor’s office has requested additional evidence, some of which was obtained last week.