Portland State University has reached an agreement with the family of a man who was fatally shot by PSU police officers in 2018.
Under the agreement, the family of Jason Washington will not go forward with a claim against the university. An attorney for the Washington family had previously filed a notice with the intent to sue PSU over Washington’s death.
PSU has agreed to pay $1 million to the family — a portion of that will go to establishing a Jason Washington Memorial Scholarship for PSU students.
“Our goal is that these changes will bring about awareness and help prevent this type of tragedy from ever occurring again,” said Washington’s wife, Michelle, in a joint statement attributed to the university and Jason Washington’s family.
“We pray that no family will ever endure the pain and suffering of losing someone as irreplaceable as Jason.”
Jason Washington was shot by campus police in June 2018. Body camera footage of the shooting shows Washington, who was black, tried to stop a drunken brawl. According to the video, officers arrived on the scene and within seconds, shot Washington.
It was the first officer-involved shooting at Portland State. The university decided to arm police in 2014.
Washington’s death renewed concerns about arming campus police. Michelle Washington and her family testified to the university’s board of trustees several times to ask for disarmed officers.
After the shooting, PSU hired a consulting firm to look into its safety practices. In February, the firm, Margolis Healy, recommended Portland State retain its armed campus police force.
And in October, interim president Stephen Percy announced the university’s new campus safety plan, which retains armed campus police officers and expands roles for unarmed officers.
“Mr. Washington’s death was tragic, and our campus community mourns his loss,” said Percy in a statement announcing the settlement. “His death made us significantly reassess our approach to campus safety.”
Through the agreement with Washington’s family, PSU has agreed to require officers to complete additional “PSU post-academy training.”
“We are grateful that the members of the Washington family were willing to work with PSU to resolve their claims,” said Percy in the university’s statement. “This is an important and meaningful step in the healing process for PSU.”
University officials say more formal details of the agreement have yet to be finalized, including the amount and criteria for the Jason Washington Memorial Scholarship.
“Our focus for the future will be to keep Jason’s memory alive by establishing a memorial scholarship,” said Michelle Washington in a statement. “This will serve as a reminder of Jason’s huge impact on not only his family and friends, but the entire community. Jason is and always will be remembered as a God loving, caring family man that was a friend to all.”