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UPDATE | Bainbridge agrees to pay fees, not seek appeal in Ostling case
The court case over the fatal police shooting of a mentally ill Bainbridge Island man has come to an end.
City of Bainbridge Island officials said Monday the city had agreed to pay attorney fees and other costs to the family of Douglas Ostling, who was shot and killed by a Bainbridge police officer after officers went to the family’s home to investigate a 911 call and Ostling met officers at his apartment door with an axe.
The city will also not appeal the jury’s decision. Earlier, attorneys for the city asked U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton to put the jury’s decision on hold, and said the jury made a mistake when it decided in favor of the family.
The city’s legal team claimed the court erred when it refused to split the court case into two parts so Bainbridge Police Chief Jon Fehlman could testify in his defense.
Earlier this week, city officials announced that a final judgement in the case had been entered on Oct. 22, and that Bainbridge Island had agreed to pay the Ostling family’s attorney fees and costs of $392,401.
The family had previously won a $1 million judgement at the close of the family’s civil rights trial against the city in June.
“The city again wishes to extend our sympathies to the Ostling family and to state we are terribly sorry for the loss of Douglas Ostling,” Interim City Manager Morgan Smith said in a statement.
Attorneys for the Ostling family said they hoped the city would learn from the decision in the federal civil rights case, which determined the Bainbridge Police Department had not adequately trained its officers to handle incidents involving the mentally ill.
“We are pleased with the city’s decision to accept responsibility for Doug’s death,” said Nathan Roberts, the lead attorney representing the Ostling family.
“Our hope is that the lessons learned from this case would help prevent similar deaths in the future,” he said. “With the city announcing plans to add a mental illness training component to the current regimen, and with Chief Fehlman’s departure, it appears we are well on our way to accomplishing that goal.”
“The Ostling family is very grateful for all the support they have received from their fellow Bainbridge Island residents throughout this case,” Roberts said.