Christopher Harris suffered a catastrophic brain injury when a sheriff’s deputy ran up and shoved him in a wall. The Harris family sued King County for personal injury and settled the lawsuit for $10 million. Harris suffered permanent brain and spinal damage in 2005, cannot longer talk, walk or feed himself and requires 24-hour care for the rest of his life.
The incident occurred outside of a Cinerama movie theater in Downtown Seattle. Video surveillance cameras shows a King County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Paul run up to Harris and fiercely shove him, knocking the man off his feet. Harris’ head then slams into the base of a tiled wall and he never gets up off the ground.
The unfortunate incident turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. The police had chased a suspect over a bloody fight in a convenience store. Several witnesses mistakenly identified Harris as the suspect, even though he was only shopping in the convenience store and left.
Several witnesses at the movie theatre acknowledge that deputies did not identify themselves to Harris. According to one witness, Harris put his arms up and stated he did not steal anything. The deputy, Paul, did not react to Harris’ words and proceeded to shove him with force, causing the traumatic brain injury.
King County Sheriff apologized to Harris and the family. The settlement of $10 million comes from the county’s self-insured fund and an outside insurance provider.