Family Sues Yakima $5 Million After Police Shooting Death
The family of a man who they say was shot and killed unlawfully is now suing the city of Yakima for 5 million dollars. Rocendo Arias was shot January 4, 2014, after he pulled into a parking stall to get some sleep after hanging out with friends (according to news reports).
Officer Casey Gillette noticed the car, drove around it, then opened the car door while Arias was asleep and shined a flashlight on him. Arias started to wake up and officer Gillette screams "Don’t you f***ing move!" A struggle directly followed and finished with Gillette firing his gun 3 times, one of which struck Arias in the head. He died at the scene.
After being interviewed, officer Gillette claimed that Arias had pulled some kind of weapon or fake weapon, however after an investigation it was found false. Gillete was found to have used unlawful lethal force and tried to cover his actions with lying. He also had a long history of using excessive force without any disciplinary actions against him. Because of all this evidence, the family has decided to sue for $5 million. Here is the official statement:
"Following an extensive review of this matter, Captain Light is prepared to testify as follows regarding his initial opinions regarding the death of Rosendo Arias:
The evidence clearly demonstrates that Yakima Police Officer Casey L. Gillette wrongfully shot and killed Yakima resident Rocendo Arias at the Classic Auto Wash at 907 E. Nob Hill Blvd. in Yakima, Washington on January 4, 2014. Evidence further demonstrates that Gillette fabricated facts in an attempt to justify his own unreasonable and excessive use of force against Arias. Specifically, actual physical evidence taken from the scene does not support Gillette’s claim that Arias “lunged” at him, or that Arias held a toy gun out and toward him at the time of the shooting.
Additionally, prior to shooting Mr. Arias, Officer Gillette had clearly demonstrated a propensity and history of using unreasonable excessive force followed by blatant concealment of his improper actions.
Evidence further demonstrates that the YPD failed to take appropriate and effective disciplinary action against Officer Gillette months before the Arias shooting. In part, approximately eight months before killing Arias, YPD’s administration had actual knowledge that Officer Gillette had fabricated factual evidence in an effort to justify his excessive use of force in an incident where he had trespassed onto the property of a young Hispanic male and wrongfully struck him in the head with his fist. While YPD was able to conclude that Gillette had used excessive force, Chief Rizzi completely discounted and failed to address the significant fact that Gillette had fabricated facts in an attempt to conceal his improper action(s). Chief Rizzi’s actions disregarded Lieutenant Foley’s blistering condemnation of Gillette’s actions."