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5 things to know this Wednesday

Bennie Branch settlement; WSP trooper investigation update; Military spouse employment act; Fire shelter tech; PLU football players donate bone marrow.
Credit: Courtesy of Branch family
Bennie Branch.


Tacoma City Council approves $3.1 million settlement for wrongful death of Bennie Branch

The Tacoma City Council approved a $3.1 million settlement on Tuesday for the wrongful death of Bennie Branch.

Branch was killed by Tacoma police in 2019. He was 24 when he was shot during a traffic stop that September.

"While the settlement is not an admission of legal liability, the city has agreed with the family's representatives that this settlement will allow the parties to avoid the risk and expense of a trial and is an appropriate resolution of this matter at this time," a statement from the city reads. Read more

WSP sergeant reassigned after citing innocent driver in crash involving fellow trooper

A Washington State Patrol sergeant has been reassigned after a KING 5 investigation revealed he cited an innocent truck driver who was involved in a car crash caused by a rookie state trooper.

Sgt. TJ Johnson was placed on "administrative reassignment due to the nature of his alleged misconduct" as the state patrol conducts an internal affairs investigation of him, according to Washington State Patrol (WSP). 

Last month, an expert determined Trooper Cadet Phirawat Apisit was responsible for the crash that left the driver of the other vehicle injured. Read more

New Washington law aims to help military spouses find employment

There are nearly 100,000 military members in Washington according to the Department of Defense

When military members move to the state, they're often joined by spouses. There is now a new state law in Washington aimed at helping them find employment.

The new law supports military spouses in various ways, including allowing for expedited and temporary licensing for certain jobs, protecting spouses from penalties if they have to leave a job due to their spouse's military service and more. Read more

Firefighters call for improved fire shelters as wildfire seasons get hotter, longer and more dangerous

Wildfire smoke from Canada covering the skies of western Washington in May is a stark reminder of the change in recent years in wildfire behavior.

As we head into the 2023 wildfire season, elite current and retired firefighters and wildland fire experts tell the KING 5 Investigators the federal government needs to develop a better version of the equipment meant to save firefighters’ lives in acute emergencies – the fire shelter.

Fire shelters are portable, tent-style blankets, considered the last resort for firefighters who become trapped by flames, without a safe route out. The current shelter, carried by all wildland firefighters, was designed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in 2002. There have been some modifications, but the shelter has essentially remained the same for two decades.

Washington and California wildland firefighters interviewed said the federal government should get serious about developing a better shelters, especially because climate change has created fire seasons that are longer and more intense. Read more

Two Pacific Lutheran University football players are bone marrow matches for people in need

When Pacific Lutheran University's (PLU) football and baseball teams were asked to participate in the Be The Match Registry through the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation, the Lutes answered the call.

A total of 355 PLU students signed up to be donors, including the football team's quarterback Erik Bainter.

Less than 1% of the people who register are perfect matches. The odds are not good, but during his senior season, Bainter found out he was a match.

His teammate, Jai Alapai, also signed up. So, what are the odds of two players from the same team being perfect matches? Astronomical.  Read more

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