Brickbat: Little White Lie


The family of Porter Feller says that a lie told by a Seattle police officer led to Feller's suicide, according to a lawsuit they have filed against the city. Feller was involved in what the lawsuit describes as a "minor" car accident. No one reported injuries, and Feller left the scene. Later that day, Officer Matthew Kerby went to Feller's house to get his ID and insurance information. Kerby told a fellow officer he "planned on using a ruse." He was caught on video and audio saying, "It's a lie, but it's fun." Feller wasn't at the house when Kerby arrived, so Kerby told one of Feller's friends that he had been involved in a hit-and-run accident and critically injured a woman who "might not survive," the lawsuit said. According to the lawsuit, when informed of Kerby's remark, Feller became increasingly distraught. He committed suicide four days later. The Seattle Office of Police Accountability found that Kerby's lie was "abuse of his discretion." It said Kerby's lie "shocked fundamental fairness" and that he acted "without any apparent consideration of the possible consequences." The department suspended him without pay for six days.