Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

City, Auburn police officer sued in federal court for ‘execution-style’ killing

Death of Isaiah Obet in 2017

The Auburn Police Department and one of its police officers are defendants in a lawsuit that was filed Monday in federal court in Seattle over the alleged killing of an already-subdued man “execution style” in broad daylight in 2017.

The lawsuit, filed by the estate of Isaiah Obet, names as defendants the city of Auburn and Officer Jeffrey Nelson.

According to the suit, Isaiah Obet, a 25-year-old Pacific Islander, was behaving erratically as the result of an apparent mental disturbance when Nelson released his trained K-9 attack dog, which latched onto Obet’s arm with its jaws.

Although Obet presented no threat to Officer Nelson or anyone else, according to the lawsuit, Nelson shot him in the torso with his .45-caliber service revolver instead of subduing him with a taser with which he was armed and equipped to use. According to the lawsuit, Obet fell to the ground where the dog continued to maul him, and witnesses said he made no attempt to stand up or flee.

According to the suit, Officer Nelson then pointed his gun at Obet’s head, stood over him and shot him dead.

According to the suit, another man whom Officer Nelson shot and killed was Jesse Sarey, also a Pacific Islander, in 2019. Nelson is white. As with Obet, Nelson allegedly shot Sarey once, then killed him with a second shot.

According to the suit, in Nelson’s first fatal shooting, in 2011, he shot and killed an Auburn resident, Brian Scaman, during a traffic stop. Like Isaiah Obet, according to the lawsuit, Nelson shot Scaman in the head.

According to the suit, Nelson has had 65 excessive force complaints lodged against him. On a force with 57 patrol officers and at least 115 officers total, he has committed three of the force’s five officer-involved shootings since 2011.

Odet is survived by his siblings and parents in the Pacific Northwest and in the Pacific Islands. Isaiah Obet’s estate is represented by David B. Owens and Mariah Garcia of the civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law.

Auburn Police Cmdr. Mike Hirman said the APD would not comment on open litigation.


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