Review into officer-involved shooting death of Jenoah Donald indicates deputies were ‘legally justified’

Battle Ground man was shot and later died after a traffic stop in Hazel Dell in February

Tire tracks are visible in the lawn of this Hazel Dell home near the location of the office-involved shooting that led to the death of Battle Ground resident Jenoah Donald that took place Feb. 4. File photo
Tire tracks are visible in the lawn of this Hazel Dell home near the location of the office-involved shooting that led to the death of Battle Ground resident Jenoah Donald that took place Feb. 4. File photo
Jenoah Donald
Jenoah Donald

A review by the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys into the Feb. 4 officer-involved shooting death of Battle Ground resident Jenoah Donald has found that the actions of Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Deputy Sean Boyle were legally justified.

The statewide panel of prosecutors included representatives from Lewis, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Snohomish and Yakima counties. The panel issued their findings in a Monday letter to Clark County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Golik.

In his letter to Golik, Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Jonathon Meyer referred to the review as a “first of a kind review.’’ Over 2,500 pages of written documents, photos and digital evidence were used in the review by the panel of prosecutors.

A review by the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys into the Feb. 4 officer-involved shooting death of Battle Ground resident Jenoah Donald has found that the actions of Clark County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sean Boyle were legally justified.
Click to view PDF.

Details of the traffic stop that led to Donald’s death were previously reported. CCSO deputies responded to the 6500 block of NW Jordan Way in Hazel Dell for the report of suspicious activity involving two vehicles circling the area. The caller to 9-1-1 expressed frustration with the “drug house” and “constant barrage of issues affecting the neighborhood.” Since June of 2020, there had been over 40 calls for service or responses to an address in that vicinity.

The responding deputies to the area made a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by Donald. During the encounter, Donald refused commands to exit the vehicle and a struggle ensued between him and Deputy Boyle. Donald attempted to pull away from the encounter with Boyle trapped in the vehicle and that is when Boyle fired two shots, one striking Donald, who died Feb. 12 from injuries sustained in the shooting.

In the 10-page report issued Monday, the panel of prosecutors found that the deputies lawfully commanded Donald to exit his car, and when he refused and the stop escalated, Boyle fired to protect himself and the other deputies.

A law firm representing Donald’s family announced in June that it is seeking $17 million from the county in a wrongful death claim.

Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins released the following statement Tuesday.

“Incidents such as this are very difficult on everyone. My thoughts continue to be with the family impacted by the loss of a loved one in this tragic event.

“I fully support ongoing efforts to improve transparency and accountability with law enforcement. The investigation of this incident was conducted independent of my office and personnel. WAPA’s creation of a team of individual prosecuting attorneys from around the state to review this incident furthers the goals of improved transparency and increased accountability. We will strive to learn all that we can from this incident and work at constant improvement. I appreciate the hard work of the investigators, WAPA, and Mr. Golik’s Office in this matter.

“I furthermore appreciate the hard work of each of the men and women deputies of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, who continue to do their work of striving for the best of public safety under increasingly difficult and dangerous circumstances.

“I had previously indicated my availability to discuss this matter further once the Prosecuting Attorney’s review was completed. I have since been notified of an intent to file a lawsuit involving this matter, WAPA’s conclusion notwithstanding, and I will have no further comment on the matter accordingly.”

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