VANCOUVER, Wash. — The family of a black man that was shot and killed by deputies is suing the Clark County Sheriff's Office. Kevin Peterson Jr. died in a failed drug sting in October of 2020.
The family said during a press conference on Wednesday that one of the goals of the lawsuit is requiring law enforcement officers to get more training.
Family members said they are still in pain over the death of Peterson. Tammy Bell is Peterson's mother. She and other family members were joined by attorney Mark Lindquist.
"It's been 574 days," Bell said. "I have not seen him on any holidays, Mother's Day, Christmas ... it's terrible."
In addition to the overarching agency, the lawsuit names Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins and deputy Jonathan Feller — one of several officers who shot at Peterson. Feller is also the officer who shot and killed off-duty police officer Donald Sahota in January, mistaking Sahota for a suspect during a chaotic manhunt in January.
"In a relatively short period of time, Clark County deputies have shot and killed three unnecessarily: Kevin Peterson, Jenoah Donald and most recently officer Sahota," Lindquist said. "Had Clark County responded appropriately to the Kevin Peterson shooting, had there been more discipline and training, Jenoah and officer Sahota would still be alive."
Court documents say Clark County deputies pursued and shot Peterson after he sold 50 Xanax pills to an informant at the Quality Inn in Hazel Dell. While Sheriff Chuck Atkins initially said Peterson had fired a gun during his interaction with deputies, later investigation concluded that he had been holding a gun that was never fired.