Las Vegas police to pay $525K settlement to man who was shot while running away
A man shot by police in Las Vegas accepted a $525,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and officers.
The Las Vegas Police Department confirmed the settlement in an email to The Hill but said the department would not comment further on the lawsuit.
A federal lawsuit was brought against the department alleging that police violated the constitutional rights of Jason Funke, who was shot in 2017 after an interaction with law enforcement.
In 2017, Funke sought counseling for mental health issues including suicidal thoughts at a church.
At the time of the incident, a church leader called 911 and said the then-25-year-old Funke was “sitting naked in a meditation pose with a handgun in front of him,” court documents showed, the wire service reported.
Several officers, including Mark Hatten, arrived at the church as a police helicopter hovered above.
“He’s starting to move. He starting to move. I’m gonna take a shot,” Hatten said as Funke walked slowly toward the front of the church, according to AP.
Another officer yelled for Funke to drop the gun, and he complied, putting his hands in the air and walking toward the officers.
But a K-9 officer struggled to control a police dog as officers ordered that the man lay down.
Funke then “hesitated and then started running back down the sidewalk” before he was shot in the back and “collapsed onto the pavement immobile.” He was about 30 feet away from his weapon at the time.
In June, U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II said Hatten “unlawfully used excessive force against Funke,” the judge’s opinion said.
“It is undisputed that Funke had not directly or verbally threatened anyone with the gun, and that he committed no serious crime,” Boulware wrote in his June decision. “He had not raised the weapon toward others or himself.”
“Officer Hatten did not specifically warn Funke that deadly force was going to be used. Hatten had time to issue such a warning before the deadly force was used and while Funke was running away from officers,” the judge added.
“Jason and his family continue to focus on his recovery, which has been very difficult. They remain deeply saddened and disturbed by the LVMPD’s failure to prioritize the sanctity of human life,” Joshua Newville, an attorney representing Funke, said in a statement to The Hill.
—Updated at 9:57 p.m.