King County has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a claim by the family of Anthony Chilcott, who was shot and killed by deputies after stealing a hot-rod pickup truck and a pet poodle, according to the family’s attorney.

The November 2019 incident was sharply criticized by investigators and resulted in the termination of one of the officers involved.

In a rare move, the claim filed against the county by Chilcott’s mother and sister, Monica Crotty and Amanda Castro, both now living in Texas, was resolved before a lawsuit was filed and involved a face-to-face meeting with interim Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall, a representative of the civil division of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the county’s risk manager, according to attorney Tony Russo.

Russo said all three parties made a “sincere apology” to the family and that the sheriff’s office has promised to implement reforms recommended in a critical review of Chilcott’s shooting. The reforms involve limits on the use of plainclothes officers and focus on de-escalation methods and techniques that an internal investigation found were lacking or ignored during the incident that killed Chilcott.

Black Diamond man killed by deputies had a life marked by loss

“Your decision to participate in utmost good faith in an early resolution of the family’s claim that culminated in today’s settlement should help all of us turn the page on this unnecessary and tragic loss of life,” Russo wrote in a Thursday email to the county following mediation. “That act of humanity, even more so than the $2.5 million dollar settlement, demonstrated an acceptance of responsibility by leadership of King County and will help the family on the long road to healing.”


The Chilcott settlement is the latest in a string of police use-of-force, wrongful death and abuse claims and lawsuits settled by agencies or handed down by juries in Washington since January 2021, totaling more than $38.6 million in payouts, according to data compiled by The Seattle Times.

Crotty said Friday in a phone interview she was grateful for the county, and particularly Cole-Tindall, for their willingness to address policy shortcomings that contributed to her son’s death, particularly issues surrounding the use of plainclothes deputies and unmarked vehicles.

“I just want to be able to honor my son,” she said. “I’m glad things have been put in place to prevent this from happening to someone else. It makes me feel like Tony didn’t die in vain.”

In a written statement, Cole-Tindall said she hopes the agreement will help Chilcott’s family move “closer to healing.”

“This year brought new leadership to the King County Sheriff’s Office, and Executive (Dow) Constantine and I are committed to do right by our community,” she wrote. “Every member of our team shares my pledge to partner with communities and other critical stakeholders in our review of these incidents, and prevent them from happening in the future.”

Chilcott, 36, was well-known to law enforcement and residents of Black Diamond, and was involved in a string of petty offenses when he stole a souped-up Ford Raptor pickup truck from a gas station in Black Diamond on Nov. 22, 2019. Inside the truck was a poodle named Monkey — which elevated interest in the theft.


According to interviews and documents obtained by The Seattle Times, Chilcott drove from Black Diamond to Sparks, Nevada, where a former girlfriend lived. He apparently drove by her house (the woman said she never saw him), turned around and drove back to Washington, Monkey in tow.

The morning of Nov. 25, Chilcott was spotted by police roaring around Black Diamond back roads in the truck. After a brief chase with state patrol troopers — called off by a supervisor — two plainclothes deputies, George Alvarez and Josh Lerum, driving an unmarked SUV without emergency lights or equipment, rammed Chilcott at an intersection on the Cumberland-Kanasket Road, pushing it onto a string of boulders, where it high-centered and disabled.

Chilcott either refused to exit or couldn’t open the damaged door, and evidence showed he gunned the engine and shifted gears several times; however, the truck was stuck. The sheriff’s office, in its investigation, questioned whether Chilcott recognized the men as police.

The officers broke out the windows of the truck with a hammer and their handguns, and each of them shot the unarmed Chilcott in the head, claiming he was trying to drive away and they feared for their lives.

An internal investigation, overseen by Cole-Tindall, undersheriff at the time, found the deputies violated policy, engaged in questionable tactics and needlessly escalated the situation. While then-Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht found the shooting justified, she fired Alvarez, who was involved in four previous shootings. He has appealed that decision.

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The early resolution of the claim, before a lawsuit was filed, marks a sharp departure from other recent claims and lawsuits filed against the sheriff’s office involving allegations of wrongful death and excessive force. The family of 17-year-old Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, killed by deputies during a misguided sting operation involving plainclothes officers, filed a federal lawsuit in 2019 and fought in court for a year before the county settled for $2.25 million.

The family of 20-year-old Burien High School graduate Tommy Le, shot in the back by Deputy Cesar Molina in 2017 after reportedly threatening deputies with a ballpoint pen, fought a three-year, tooth-and-nail battle with the county in federal court, including a trip to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, before the county settled the case last year for $5 million, days before it was set to go to trial.