What began with a minor car accident in Seattle and a police officer trying to use an apparently harmless ruse on a suspect ended up with a man deciding to take his own life, as stated in a lawsuit filed by his mother and friends.
How did it all happen?
Porter Feller, a 40-year-old resident in Seattle, was behind the wheel in his Mitsubishi Eclipse on May 29, 2018 when he crashed into a BMW. The vehicle got pushed into an Acura and “minor damage” happened, based on a lawsuit filed on June 4 in King County Superior Court by Feller’s mom, Renée Thomas, and friends Maggie Parks and Amy Marderosian.
The three women have decided to sue the city of Seattle for negligently inflicting emotional distress which led to Feller passing away, as Yahoo News reports.
No one reported any injuries after the crash in which Feller was involved and he left the scene without giving his information to the authorities, the lawsuit states.
What happened next?
On the same day of the crash, Seattle Police Officer Matthew Kerby needed to get a statement and insurance information from Feller. He went to the Parks’ home, which was included in Feller’s car registration information.
Before getting to the house, Kerby told fellow police officer Guzman that he was going to “use a ruse” to advance the investigation. He was also recorded on video and audio while he was saying, “It’s a lie, but it’s fun.”
Feller wasn’t at the house when the officers arrived, but Kerby told Parks that Feller had been involved in a hit-and-run accident and had injured a woman who “might not survive.” Parks gave the officer Feller’s phone number and after the police left she called him, telling him what they had told her.
Even though he didn’t think he had hurt anyone, Feller “grew increasingly concerned” that he might have hurt someone accidentally.
Another friend warned him that he “could go to prison for a long time” for such a thing. A bag was later found with his personal effects and money, along with a note from Feller saying, “If you don’t see me, keep this stuff.”
Marderosian found Feller the next morning in his bedroom. He had taken his life, and next to him was a pile of cash with a “You keep this” note near it, the lawsuit states.
During a previous investigation by the Seattle Office of Police Accountability it was concluded that Kerby’s ruse had gone beyond the discretion he was allowed and that there was “insufficient need” to lie. “It shocked fundamental fairness and he acted without any apparent consideration of the possible consequences.”