A King County Superior Court jury has awarded the family of a woman a $1.1 million civil judgment after finding the Federal Way Police Department's negligence led to her 2008 murder at the hands of her boyfriend.
A King County Superior Court jury has awarded the family of a woman a $1.1 million civil judgment after finding the Federal Way Police Department’s negligence led to her 2008 murder at the hands of her boyfriend.
Baerbel “Babs” Roznowski, 66, was fatally stabbed by Chan “Paul” Kim immediately after police served him with an anti-harassment order that would have forced him to move out of her Federal Way home.
Officer Andy Hensing went to the home May 3, 2008, handed Kim the order and drove away before Kim left the house, said Jack Connelly, the attorney for Roznowski’s family.
Kim killed Roznowski a short time later.
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Kim, 71, was sentenced in March to more than 20 years in prison for second-degree domestic-violence murder.
In Washington, victims of threats, abuse or other harassment can seek an anti-harassment order from the courts that will set a list of restrictions for the perpetrator. In Roznowski’s case, the order forbade Kim from coming within 500 feet of her home and from contacting her, Connelly said.
Federal Way police said the officer was unaware Roznowski was home when he served the document. Kim left soon afterward but returned and stabbed Roznowski 18 times before turning the knife on himself.
Police returned after a friend of Kim’s called to report Kim was heard making threats. Officers found Roznowski dying and Kim trying to commit suicide.
“No one had any clue that Mr. Kim would do any harm to Ms. Roznowski,” said Bob Christie, the lawyer for the Federal Way police.
Christie said it is likely the city will appeal the award because police had no legal reason to stay at the house and make sure Roznowski was safe before leaving.
He said there is a significant difference between domestic-violence (DV) protection orders and anti-harassment orders in that the latter does not require the alleged aggressor to leave immediately.
“A DV order, absolutely, they always enforce them on the scene, but these type of orders are enforced, but it’s discretionary. There was no red flags,” Christie said.
Kim “was completely peaceful and compliant” when served with the order, Christie said.
The $1.1 million will go to Roznowski’s estate, which is run by her two daughters, Janet Loh and Carola Washburn.
Since their mother’s slaying, the sisters have been outspoken about their beliefs that Federal Way police were negligent.
“The anti-harassment order was supposed to help, and it didn’t,” Loh told The Times in March.
Connelly said the daughters were relieved by the jury finding because “they wanted accountability and for Federal Way police to be found negligent.”
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report, which includes information from Times archives.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org