TACOMA - The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to pay $1.25 million to a man who was shot in the knee by a deputy during a SWAT team raid at a residence in Bonney Lake.
Jerad Wooten, 37, suffered a fractured kneecap and his medical bills reached over $136,000, according to the damages claim Wooten filed against the county.
One of Wooten’s attorneys, Erik Heipt, said he and his client are happy with the settlement and said the county deserves credit for taking the claim seriously, The News Tribune reported.
Wooten was sitting outside his friend’s house smoking a cigarette in January 2018 when 17 law enforcement officers arrived to search the house. Officers yelled commands at them, the incident report said. Wooten remained seated and was shot by Deputy Phil Wylie, who reported Wooten was holding a razor blade.
However, no other officer saw a razor blade and investigators did not find Wooten’s fingerprints on a razor blade that was found on the ground in the area.
The sheriff’s department’s Board of Professional Standards ruled 8-1 in November 2018 that the shooting was “not reasonable to the actions of Wooten.”
“Deputy Wylie did not give commands to the individual to drop the weapon, did not alert other team members of the weapon he observed, did not take action to ensure the weapon was secured, and he delayed reporting that he shot a person even after requests to do so were made from command via radio,” Sheriff Paul Pastor said in a statement.
Wylie resigned from the SWAT team, but remains employed by the sheriff’s office where he investigates property crimes, newly elected Sheriff Ed Troyer said.
An internal review to determine whether Wylie violated any department policies is still ongoing, Troyer said. No criminal charges were filed against Wylie.
The Pierce County Commission approved the settlement on Nov. 3.