In 2004 Herbert Hightower Jr. was shot and killed by Seattle police officer Steve Hirjak just feet from his home while experiencing a mental health crisis. At the time of his killing, Herbert's family was told conflicting and ever-changing accounts by Seattle police regarding what led to the shooting. As a result, the family is still unclear about what occurred, and Hirjak was never held accountable for his actions, instead elevated to assistant chief of police.
Unfortunately, the Hightower family was left with virtually no community support at the time, and the media (as they have with countless others), vilified Herbert based on a narrative controlled by Seattle police.
Since Herbert's killing, Hirjak has continued to have complaints filed against him. One based on his involvement in city and nationwide use of force training. Disturbingly, another was filed by family members of another Black man gunned down by SPD in 2016 that included similar inconsistencies by Seattle police.
Now approaching the twentieth anniversary of Herbert's killing, Hirjak is now suing the city of Seattle for 5.5 million dollars. The lawsuit is from a demotion he received as command officer during the 2020 George Floyd protests in Seattle. Officers were filmed using gas balls, teargas, batons and more to brutalize peaceful protestors calling for an end to police brutality and accountability. The violence was sparked by what is now infamously coined "The Pink Umbrella Incident."
There is, however, a possibility that we can finally hold Hirjak accountable. A series of bills recently signed by Washington state's governor created an investigative board that will soon begin reviewing older cases involving police use of deadly force.
Please donate to help us reach our goal so we may hire a private investigator, bring Herbert's case in front of the investigative board, and finally get him the justice he deserves. All donations will be used towards hiring a private investigator and all other expenses related to finally getting justice for Herbert. Thank you!
#Justice For Herbert Hightower Jr.
A Walk for Herbert - Memorial and Protest
Pink Umbrella Incident: