Family of Yakima man killed by officer submits damages claim to - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Family of Yakima man killed by officer submits damages claim to City for $5 million

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YAKIMA, WA - The family of the late Rocendo Arias who was shot and killed by Yakima Police Officer Casey Gillette in 2014 is suing the City of Yakima for $5,000,000.

The incident which resulted in Arias' death occurred in the early morning of January 4th, 2014, in a stall of the Classic Auto Wash in Yakima.

Arias had pulled into the stall to sleep after a night out with friends when Gillette noticed the vehicle and circled around it. According to Gillette, he claims he then opened the front passenger side door, leaned into the vehicle, and fully illuminated Arias’ body with his flashlight. And as Arias started to wake, Gillette yelled, “don’t you f***ing move!” Gillette then claims that Arias then lunged at him with a gun. Gillette alleges he responded by firing his service weapon multiple times.

One of the bullets fired by Gillette struck Arias in the right side of his head near his ear. The bullet passed through Arias’ brain to the left side of his head. Arias died at the scene. The killing of Rosendo Arias was ruled as unnecessary, excessive, and unlawful.

The addendum to Notice of Claim stated as follows:

"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."
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