MacDonald Hoague & Bayless is recognized nationally for our work representing victims of excessive force and police misconduct.

Cases challenging the actions of law enforcement officers are some of the most difficult and complicated that lawyers can handle.  State and federal law give great deference to the actions of law enforcement, and the legal precedent governing police conduct is constantly developing.

Our attorneys have many years of experience handling these important and challenging cases.  We have the knowledge and skill necessary to conduct a thorough investigation of a police shooting or other serious incident; evaluate the likelihood of success in court; defeat the government’s pre-trial motions to dismiss; and ultimately succeed either in front of a jury or through obtaining a meaningful settlement.

Our work in police misconduct cases has contributed not only to vindicating our clients’ rights, but also to reforming police practices in the greater Seattle area.          

Some of our recent victories in police misconduct cases include:

  • A $15 million jury verdict for the surviving family members and estate of Leonard Thomas, an unarmed man killed by a SWAT sniper while he held his young son in his arms; 
  • A nearly $2 million settlement for Nathaniel Caylor, an unarmed man shot in the face by Seattle police in front of his small child;
  • A $1.5 million settlement for the family of John T. Williams, a First Nations woodcarver shot and killed by Seattle police while he crossed the street holding his carving knife.  The shooting and its aftermath led to a federal investigation of excessive force and biased policing by the Seattle Police Department, resulting in oversight of the department by the federal courts. 
  • Several settlements for individuals harmed by the Tukwila Police Department’s use of excessive force against individuals arrested for minor crimes, including pepper-spraying suspects after they were already in custody.  One Tukwila officer, Nick Hogan, was eventually charged with criminal civil rights violations, pleaded guilty, and received a 9-month jail sentence.