King County Apologizes to Family of Black Youth Gunned Down by Sheriff’s Dept.

SEATTLE, WA – The family of MiChance Dunlap-Gittens, a 17-year-old Black youth killed in a hail of bullets by King County Sheriff’s deputies, will receive a $2.25 million settlement and apology from King County for the death of their son. Also as part of the settlement, the Sheriff and the family will explore a partnership to advocate for the adoption of body-worn cameras and in car camera systems by the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Dunlap-Gittens, known as “Chance” to his friends and family, was a few months away from graduating from High School when King County Sheriff’s deputies shot him in the rear of his head, leg, and buttocks while other bullets bore into the rooms and walls of an occupied nearby apartment.

The tragedy began when the officers set up a sting operation to catch a 16-year-old friend of Chance’s whom they wrongly believed was involved in the death of an officer’s son two days earlier. Neither youth had anything to do with that crime.

As part of the settlement, Chance’s family and King County released the following joint statement:

The family of MiChance Dunlap-Gittens and King County have worked together through mediation to reach an agreement that will resolve the litigation regarding MiChance’s death. Both parties are committed to moving forward in a way that will focus on opportunities for improvement in police practices that will protect the safety of citizens and officers alike. In particular, the Sheriff and the Dunlap-Gittens family have agreed to explore a partnership in advocating for the adoption of body-worn and dash-mounted cameras by KCSO officers. King County extends its condolences to the Dunlap-Gittens family and apologizes for the loss of life.

A copy of the lawsuit, Alexis Dunlap, individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of MiChance Dunlap-Gittens; and Frank Gittens v. King County, Michael Garske, Todd Miller, Joseph Eshom and Reed Jones, No. 2:19-cv-01535, can be found here.

Chance’s mother, Alexis Dunlap, and his estate, are represented by Tiffany M. Cartwright and Timothy K. Ford of the law firm MacDonald Hoague & Bayless, David B. Owens of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, and Patricia Bosmans of P. Bosmans Law. Chance’s father, Frank Gittens, is represented byJames Bible of the James Bible Law Group.

MacDonald Hoague & Bayless is a civil rights firm dedicated to expanding freedom, justice, equality, and opportunity for all, working for more than 65 years on issues of national importance, ranging from loyalty oaths at the height of the Cold War to restrictions on immigration and abuses of police power today.

Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms and has won more multi-million-dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the country. James Bible is a nationally recognized attorney specializing in personal injury and criminal defense who practices in the State of Washington.

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