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King County, family of teen killed during botched sting operation reach $2.25 million settlement

caption: Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens in a Garfield High School football jersey.
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Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens in a Garfield High School football jersey.
Courtesy photo

King County on Monday reached a settlement with the family of a 17-year-old youth shot to death by sheriff's deputies in 2017.

The county has agreed to pay a $2.25 million settlement to the family of Mi'Chance Dunlap-Gittens. (You can also read the settlement below.)

Dunlap-Gittens, a Black teen from Des Moines, was killed as he ran away from plainclothes deputies, who burst from the back of a vehicle during a 2017 failed sting operation.

Leading up to the planned action, officers pretended to be a 15-year-old female in search of alcohol, and set up a meeting with a 16-year-old acquaintance of Dunlap-Gittens, whom they were investigating.

They thought the acquaintance, who was with Dunlap-Gittens at the time he was killed, was involved in a hit-and-run death of another officer's son. But it turned out that neither youth was involved in the crime.

Dunlap-Gittens and the person of interest were drawn toward an unmarked van, from which deputies burst. Deputies shot at Dunlap-Gittens, hitting him at least eight times as he tried to run away.

Dunlap-Gittens' family filed a federal lawsuit last year against the deputies involved and King County for its “failure to adequately train, supervise, and discipline its officers.”

A partnership between the King County Sheriff's Office and the Dunlap-Gittens family, to advocate for the use of body-worn and dash-mounted cameras by its personnel, is also included within the terms of the settlement agreement.

The Sheriff's Office will provide updates to the parents of Dunlap-Gittens on its progress amid those effort, according to the settlement. And with the permission of Dunlap-Gittens' parents, the initiative will include the teen's name.

The settlement represents the family's commitment to seeking justice for their child, and to improving the county's accountability systems, said James Bible, a lawyer representing Frank Gittens, Dunlap-Gittens' father.

"The family in this particular case has been through a great deal the past couple years," Bible said. "It's been difficult for them. There's nothing that will bring their child back."

Bible noted that King County apologized to the family for the teen’s death.

Read the settlement:

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