The girlfriend of a 24-year-old Edmonds man who was shot and killed by a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office deputy in 2018 has filed a lawsuit in Snohomish County Superior Court, alleging she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries as a result of the shooting.
The lawsuit, filed Nov. 15 by Brittany Jakobsen, said that Deputy Art Wallin and other unidentified deputies “acted intentionally and recklessly” when boyfriend Nickolas Peters was shot Oct. 23, 2018 following a high-speed chase in unincorporated Snohomish County near Lynnwood.
According to public documents, the incident began when deputies were called to a disturbance at 196th Place Southwest and 6th Drive Southeast. Jakobsen was a passenger in the pick-up truck driven by Peters, which deputies pursued after it left the area. A deputy rammed the truck twice, stopping it near the intersection of North Damson Road and Filbert Road. Police documents say that Peters continued to rev the truck engine despite commands by deputies to turn it off.
Deputies also said they ordered Peters to put his hands up numerous times. When Peters didn’t comply, Wallin shot him twice through the windshield. Peters was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he later died.
Jakobsen said in the lawsuit that in additional to witnessing the shooting of Peters, she was pulled out of Peters’ vehicle by her hair and thrown to the ground. She also said she was required to seek medical treatment for her injuires, which resulted in medical expenses and costs. The conduct of the sheriff’s deputies — which the lawsuit defined as “extreme and outrageous” — caused Jakobsen to suffer severe post-traumatic stress and emotional distress, the suit states.
In July 2019, Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Adam Cornell issued a six-page memorandum stating the sheriff’s office use of deadly force against Peters was justified under the circumstances and the law that was in place at the time. Then in October 2019, former Sheriff Ty Trenary fired Wallin, a 13-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, after determining Wallin violated sheriff’s office policies when he initiated a vehicle pursuit and used unauthorized force when shooting Peters.
But in January 2020, newly elected Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney reinstated Wallin, saying he determined that Wallin’s termination “was not justified and that his actions were reasonable under the circumstances the suspect chose to put him in that night.”
These circumstances included the fact that Peters was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, posing a danger to other drivers on the road, and that the suspect was using his truck as a weapon to ram patrol vehicles.
“Deputy Wallin’s decision to use deadly force was within policy because he was protecting his partner and the community from an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury,” Fortney said in his statement.