WATCH: Man Choked by Federal Way Police Awarded $640,000

FEDERAL WAY, WAsh. – A federal jury has awarded a man who sued Federal Way police $640,000 in damages.

Josiah Hunter said he was at an Am/Pm store in Federal Way in September 2014 when he saw a two cars collide a few feet away. Hunter and a friend ran into the street to help.

“We were just here helping that was our main goal,” Hunter said.

But soon after Federal Way police arrived, Hunter said they ordered he and his friend, Junior Beausilien, to back up. He said they then told them they would be charged criminally if they didn’t leave.

But, Hunter said, once they got to the car the officers grabbed them.

“Blink of an eye he started and choking me out and he starts lifting up,” Hunter said.

The men were charged with criminal trespassing, resisting arrest and obstruction. Charges that were later dropped.

Hunter sued the City of Federal Way, Federal Way police, Officer Kris Durrell and others for and for violating his civil rights. On Tuesday, a jury awarded the now 25-year-old $640,000 in damages.

“I wanted justice,” said Hunter, who works for Alaska Airlines. “I want to make a change. They need to make a change.”

Federal Way police, in a statement to KOMO, defended their actions that night.

“The plaintiff Josiah Hunter claimed that Officer Kris Durell used excessive force against him in violation of the Constitution and made a claim for monetary damages,” the statement said. “The City denied Mr. Hunter’s claim and alleged that the force used was reasonable under the circumstances.”

Police said the two men “failed to follow lawful orders at the accident scene, hindering and delaying the officers in the official performance of their duties.”

Police, in the statement, said they are “disappointed with the jury’s decision in favor of the plaintiff.”

Police said they are weighing whether to appeal the U.S. District Court jury finding.

Sanetta Hunter, Josiah Hunter’s mother, cried when the jury verdict was announced. The longtime King County Prosecutor’s Office employee said she works closely with the police and taught both of her sons to show officers respect.

On Wednesday she sobbed, “What do I say as a mother?”

“When you taught your kids [and they say] ‘mom I did everything and it didn’t work’.”

Sanetta Hunter, and her son’s lawyer, James Bible, said this case proves there needs to be change made inside the South King County police department.

“I’m going to keep going. I’m going to be knocking on doors in Federal Way, whatever it takes,” she said. “I want them to be honest. I want them to stop playing games with lives.”