Family files lawsuit on behalf of a man shot and killed by polic - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Family files lawsuit on behalf of a man shot and killed by police

Family files lawsuit on behalf of a man shot and killed by police

Posted: Updated:

YAKIMA, WA - The family of a 23-year-old man who was shot and killed by police in 2014 has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officer involved and the City of Yakima. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday on behalf of the estate of Rocendo Arias.

Arias was shot after police say he lunged toward officer Casey Gillette while holding an airsoft gun.

Officer Gillette says he saw Arias sitting in his car with his head slumped in a parking lot near the Classic Auto Wash on Nob Hill Blvd. Gillette opened the passenger door, causing Arias to look up. That's when Gillette noticed what looked like a semi automatic pistol in his lap with his finger on the trigger. Gillette says he told arias not to move, but Arias lunged toward him, and that's when he fired.

The officer says he didn't know the gun was fake until police took it from the scene. 

The Yakima County Prosecutors' Office found Gillette was justified in the shooting. However, the family says the officer failed to follow policy by not tapping on the car window to wake Arias up, and by opening the door, Gillette engaged in unconstitutional entry.

We reached out to the attorney for the family, he says since he is actively working the case he cannot make a comment right now.

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