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Mother of man shot, killed by Boise officers files wrongful death lawsuit

Zachary Snow was killed in October 2021. In a lawsuit, his mother claims officers "rushed into the situation" even after being told he was in mental health crisis.

BOISE, Idaho — A lawsuit filed on behalf of the mother of Zachary Snow seeks damages from the City of Boise, two Boise Police officers and 10 unnamed individuals, for Snow's death.

In the wrongful death lawsuit, Snow's mother, Melissa Walton, alleges that the officers acted contrary to training and standard police practices, and violated her son's right to be "free from unreasonable seizures" during the Oct. 27, 2021, incident that ended with two officers shooting, and ultimately killing, Snow in a vacant lot near the intersection of Capitol Boulevard and Myrtle Street.

Walton had called dispatch to notify police that her son was on top of a building in downtown Boise. She later spoke with an officer, saying he was depressed, off his medication, and was unarmed. According to a Boise Police Dept. summary of the incident, officers planned to check on his welfare and arrest him on what they had been told was an outstanding felony failure-to-appear warrant. KTVB recently reported, however, that Ada County Dispatch provided responding officers with incorrect information. Snow had a misdemeanor failure-to-appear warrant, not a felony warrant.

Officers fired at Snow when, according to the BPD summary, Snow pulled a black object from his waistband, "took a shooter's stance," and pointed it at officers, imitating that he had a gun. However, the investigation also found that the object Snow had pulled from his waistband was a small portable speaker, not a weapon.

Gem County Prosecuting Attorney Erick B. Thomson, who reviewed the Critical Incident Task Force investigation into the shooting of Snow, determined in April that the officers acted in self-defense and would not face criminal charges.

Snow was 26 years old at the time of his death. Doctors had diagnosed Snow with anti-social personality disorder when he was 18, and Snow was prescribed medication as a result, Walton told KTVB in 2021. Walton's lawsuit states that the Boise Police Department said officers knew about Snow's record and his mental health issues, and had dealt with him in the past.

"Instead of establishing a perimeter or having a tactical plan as to how to approach Snow, defendants... rushed into the situation contrary to their training and contrary to standard police practices," the lawsuit states, adding that there was no pressing circumstance or "any other reasonable reason" for the officers to rush in.

The officers named as defendants in the lawsuit are "M. Jacobs and C. Snodderly." The defendants listed also include 10 "Does" as well as the City of Boise.

Walton's lawsuit claims the defendants' negligence and the shooting led to the wrongful death of Zachary Snow. Walton seeks monetary damages for loss of financial support, loss of gifts or benefits, funeral and burial expenses and "reasonable value" of household services that Snow would have provided in an amount to be determined at trial.

In the suit, Snow's mother also seeks non-economic damages for the loss of Snow's "life-long love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, afffection, society; moral support, loss of training and guidance; and the loss of relationship."

The complete text of the claim is linked here and embedded below:

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