Jury awards $640K to Federal Way man in officer excessive force case

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal civil-rights jury has awarded a Federal Way man $640,000 after finding a Federal Way police officer used excessive force when arresting him at an accident scene in 2014.

The Seattle Times reported that the jury gave Josiah Hunter $40,000 for the excessive-force claim and tacked on $600,000 in punitive damages, which U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said could be awarded only if the panel found the officer's conduct "was malicious, oppressive or in reckless disregard of the plaintiff's rights."

The city said it would appeal.

Court records show Federal Way police argued in court that Hunter and his friend impeded the investigation into a two-car collision they witnessed and repeatedly refused to back away from the accident scene.

Records say Officer Kris Durrell used a neck constraint on Hunter, which Hunter said made it difficult for him to breathe.