The city of Seattle has paid $500,000 to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the father of a 19-year-old man shot and killed after Seattle police abandoned their East Precinct on Capitol Hill during racial justice protests in June 2020.
Horace Anderson and the estate of his dead son, Horace Lorenzo Anderson, filed the complaint in King County Superior Court in November 2021, naming as defendants former Mayor Jenny Durkan, Councilmember Kshama Sawant and the city of Seattle. The lawsuit alleged the city and those leaders encouraged participants in the so-called CHOP — Capitol Hill Occupied Protest — to break the law and “undermine the safety of others” for political theater.
Durkan, the lawsuit claimed, downplayed the illegal behavior and “celebrated the existence, message and methods of CHOP and CHOP participants” even as police officials, including then-Chief Carmen Best, warned of increasing mayhem and violence around Cal Anderson Park.
The younger Anderson, who went by his middle name, Lorenzo, had graduated from an alternative youth-education program on June 19, 2020, and visited the CHOP zone the next day, where he ran into 18-year-old Marcel Long, according to police. The pair had a history of animosity and, according to police and witnesses, they exchanged words.
Police said video surveillance showed Anderson was walking away when Long, who had been restrained momentarily by others, pulled a handgun and shot him several times.
The lawsuit alleged police were unable or unwilling to enter the CHOP zone to search for a suspect or conduct an investigation for hours after the shooting. Long was charged with first-degree murder in the weeks after the shooting, but was not arrested for nearly a year.
Before filing the lawsuit, Horace Anderson filed a tort claim with the city asking for $3 billion in damages.
A judge approved the settlement and dismissed the lawsuit in April.
Anderson through his Seattle attorney, Bruce Moen, were not successful Thursday.
Evan Oshan, Horace Anderson’s trial attorney, said Friday that the lawsuit was intended to “shock” the city into realizing the impact of its actions on Capitol Hill during the protests. “It was never about the money,” he said.
Evidence later showed that medics delayed entering the CHOP zone after the shooting, abiding by a policy for scenes of violence that required police to respond first and clear the way for firefighters and medical crews. Anderson was treated by civilian medics and eventually taken to Harborview Medical Center in the back of a pickup because the Medic One crews would not enter the scene.
The lawsuit claimed that Anderson’s wounds would not have been fatal had he received immediate medical attention. The lawsuit also said he bled to death on a table at a makeshift aid station near Cal Anderson Park.
Donnitta Sinclair, Anderson’s mother, filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit containing similar allegations, but it was dismissed in November, just days before Horace Anderson filed his lawsuit in state court.
Sinclair has appealed that ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
An earlier version of this story misidentified Horace Anderson’s trial attorney.