Wrongful death lawsuit filed over SPD officer’s ruse that may have led to suspect’s suicide

Jun 16, 2021, 3:04 PM | Updated: Jun 17, 2021, 5:56 am

seattle crime, police, Che Taylor, charleena lyles, seattle gangs, wrongful death...

(AP file photo)

(AP file photo)

In 2018, a suspect in a fender bender in Seattle committed suicide, following a ruse conducted by an SPD officer who had falsely told the man’s friend that a woman was in critical condition from the crash. Now, the man’s mother and friends are filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.

Report: Seattle officer’s lie may have led to suspect’s suicide

The man — who has since been identified as Porter Feller — had fled from the scene of a multi-vehicle accident in May of 2018. Two officers followed up at the home his car was registered to, telling his friend, Maggie Parks, that a victim in the hit-and-run was near death, despite the fact that there no actual injuries reported from the crash. One of the officers remarked to his partner, “it’s a lie, but it’s fun.”

The woman eventually passed the officer’s story on to Feller, who hadn’t recalled hitting anyone. He was also a recovering heroin addict of 20 years, who had reportedly “gotten a new job and was saving money.”

According to testimony in an investigation conducted by Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability, Feller became “increasingly worried about the hit and run and that he believed he might have killed someone,” based on the officer’s fake recounting of the incident to his friend. He later told his friend that he was feeling suicidal, and that it “was related to his concern regarding the hit and run.”

5 SPD officers disciplined for potential violation of election laws

Roughly a month after the crash, Feller committed suicide, leaving a note to his roommate next to money reading, “you keep this.” The OPA’s investigation eventually concluded that the officer involved in the incident had violated SPD policies requiring officers to “strive to be professional,” and to “use discretion” regarding the severity of a crime when conducting a ruse. The officer was suspended for six days.

The wrongful death lawsuit is being filed by Feller’s friend Maggie Parks, his mother Renee Thomas, and his friend Amy Marderosian, who had been the first to discover Feller’s body. A report from The Seattle Times notes that the lawsuit itself does not specify an exact dollar amount, but a previous notice filed with the city asked for $4 million.

MyNorthwest News

uw sugar bowl alaska air...

Frank Sumrall

Fans irate over flight costs to see UW Huskies in Sugar Bowl

For those wanting to support UW in person, which will be played in the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, airline tickets are as expensive as ever.

9 hours ago

Image: An Alaska Airlines plane takes off from San Francisco International Airport in 2022 in San F...

Associated Press

Alaska Air to buy Hawaiian Airlines in a $1.9 billion deal with debt

The deal also includes $900 million in Hawaiian debt, which the airlines said brings the acquisition's total value to $1.9 billion.

12 hours ago

bodies thurston county couple...

KIRO 7 News Staff

Deputies uncover bodies believed to be missing Thurston County couple

The bodies were found less than one mile from their property by people who were 4-wheeling through the area.

16 hours ago

Image: The prices of various types of gas are seen at a Western Washington 76 gas station on Oct. 1...

Kate Stone

Former WSDOT economist files claim against state over gas price forecast

Smith found the cap-and-invest program would lead to a 50-cent increase per gallon of gas. But, his supervisors told him to keep that information quiet.

1 day ago

smith vandalized ceasefire...

L.B. Gilbert

WA Rep’s home vandalized by group calling for ceasefire in Gaza

Washington Rep. Adam Smith is the latest to politician to suffer harassment because of the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

2 days ago


Associated Press

Young humpback whale leaps out of Seattle bay, dazzling onlookers

A humpback whale visiting the waters off Seattle dazzled onlookers Thursday morning with several breaches in the bay just beyond the city’s downtown area.

3 days ago

Wrongful death lawsuit filed over SPD officer’s ruse that may have led to suspect’s suicide