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Prosecutors: Clark County deputy was justified in shooting death of Jenoah Donald

In their review, prosecutors said Jenoah Donald, 30, had a grip on Deputy Sean Boyle when he started his car and began to drive forward during a traffic stop.
Credit: Family of Jenoah Donald

HAZEL DELL, Wash. — A team of prosecutors on Monday found that Clark County Deputy Sean Boyle was justified in the shooting death of 30-year-old Jenoah Donald during a traffic stop on Feb. 4. 

Deputy Boyle pulled over Donald for a broken tail light near Northeast 68th Street and Northeast Second Avenue in Hazel Dell around 7:40 p.m. that evening. 

Multiple deputies had been responding to a call in the area, and another deputy said Deputy Boyle's traffic stop was related to that call. Deputies noted that area having a history of hostile situations involving law enforcement, according to a review from the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (WAPA). 

Deputy Boyle said during an interview that Donald was initially cooperative before other deputies arrived on scene. 

While in his patrol car, Deputy Boyle heard another deputy tell Donald, "show me your hands." That deputy had reported seeing a metal spike and plyers in Donald's car, prosecutors said in their review. 

At that point, Deputy Boyle ran up Donald's car, opened the door and told him he needed to get out. When he refused to get out of the car, Deputy Boyle grabbed his wrist and there was a scuffle.

According to prosecutors, Donald grabbed Deputy Boyle's outer vest, making his taser inaccessible. Deputies said Donald then started the car and revved the engine. The car started to move forward while Donald reportedly still had a grip on Deputy Boyle. 

Unable to grab his taser, Deputy Boyle fired two shots, hitting Donald, the review said. Another deputy was in the process of drawing her weapon when the shooting happened. 

Donald died the following week. 

The determination that Deputy Boyle acted in "good faith" was the result of a first-of-its-kind review involving prosecutors from five counties: Lewis, Pend Oreille, Yakima, Pierce and Snohomish.

In June, Donald's family filed a $17 million wrongful death lawsuit, saying Deputy Boyle broke Washington state law by stopping Donald for a broken taillight when he suspected without probable cause that Donald was leaving a drug house in the area.