SPOKANE COUNTY, May 19, 2023 – The Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office has determined that Spokane Police (SPD) Officer Garth Craigen was justified in the use of deadly force while attempting to contact Brandon Dozier, who had brandished what appeared to be a firearm after police had arrived in response to a 9-1-1 call for help.
At about 12:28 PM on December 4, 2022, SPD units responded to a 9-1-1 call for help. The caller had initially reported a suspicious vehicle (a black Chevy Tahoe) parked in the alley between Illinois Ave. and Montgomery Ave. near 1203 E. Illinois, in Spokane, Washington. The same caller contacted 9-1-1 again when a female occupant of the vehicle began yelling for someone to call 9-1-1. The caller told operators that he could hear a male swearing and that the second person was female.
Three SPD officers, Cpl. Matthew Stewart, Officer Bryan Weber and Officer Garth Craigen, arrived on scene. Stewart and Weber entered the alley from the west near the Chevy Tahoe and Craigen entered from the east near N. Perry St. All three were dressed in full duty uniforms and driving marked patrol vehicles.
When police arrived, Dozier and his passenger were located outside the Tahoe to the east of the vehicle. The female began to walk away eastbound. Officer Weber heard Dozier say something to the effect of “I’m going to die today. I’m going to die.” Dozier struck a bladed stance, had a cell phone to his ear with his left hand, and appeared to have a handgun in his right hand. Dozier immediately ordered the officers to stay away from him. Officers ordered Dozier to drop the gun. Dozier did not comply but began walking backwards eastbound while holding the gun down near his right side, away from his body, in such a way that it could be raised in a split second.
By this time, Officer Craigen had positioned himself at the east end of the alley. Weber yelled out to Dozier that there was another officer behind him. Shortly after, Dozier turned toward Craigen and began walking toward the officer, face to face. Craigen also ordered Dozier to drop the gun. Again, Dozier did not comply.
Dozier then made a sudden movement to his right toward a tree and a building. Craigen believed Dozier was seeking concealment from which to shoot at the officer. Craigen then fired a single round at Dozier to prevent Dozier from shooting at him. Dozier ran south and, despite a lengthy search, was not located.
The subsequent investigation revealed that Dozier was not struck and was uninjured. The gun was determined to be a BB gun that very closed resembled a true handgun.
Under these facts and circumstances, the use of deadly force was authorized. All responding officers believed Dozier was armed with a real gun. Dozier carried it like it was a real gun. Dozier refused to drop the gun despite numerous commands to do so. Despite the “drop the gun” commands, Dozier never claimed the gun was not real. Officer Craigen feared for his life and the lives of other officers in the immediate vicinity.
Officer Craigen acted without malice. Based on these facts, Officer Craigen had an objective good faith belief in the correctness of his actions and was acting pursuant to the governing statute. Therefore, no criminal charges will be filed against Officer Craigen in this matter.
Digital Content Manager │Spokane County