The claim brought by the wife and parents of Christopher Harris, 29, of Edmonds, "will likely be followed by a lawsuit" unless it is resolved within 60 days, said Simeon J. Osborn, a lawyer who filed it with the county's Risk Management Division.
"He is in a coma, has irreversible brain damage, and will never recover," Osborn wrote in the claim. "He cannot walk, talk, recognize his family, or engage in the activities of daily living."
Medical bills are approaching $1 million and the cost of 24-hour care will run into the millions, Osborn said at a news conference.
Harris has been in a "vigil coma" since taking a hit from Deputy Matthew Paul, 26, who outweighed him by 100 pounds, early on May 10. Surveillance video from the Cinerama movie theater showed Harris racing toward Paul, who appeared to have stopped with his arms outspread, and of giving him a shove that knocked the smaller man eight feet and through the air into the base of the wall.
The claim, which lists 24 witnesses, is based on sheriff's office training, policies and procedures, as well as on the conduct of Paul and Deputy Joseph Eshom, 28, during the chase.
Last month county prosecutors declined to file charges against Paul, saying there was no legal basis for a criminal charge.
At a news conference Tuesday, Sim Osborn, an attorney for the Harris family, called the deputy's actions "inexcusably brutal."
"The graphic video still haunts the Harris Family, and is a glaring look at the brutal actions by the sheriff's deputy," Osborn said.
King County sheriff spokesman John Urquhart said the sheriff's office could not comment directly on the legal claim, but maintains that the deputy did not intend to injure Harris.
Urquhart called the incident a tragedy for Harris, his family and the deputy. He said the deputy's actions were justifiable because witnesses identified Harris as a suspect in an assault.
Witnesses said the incident began when several men, some covered in blood, ran into a convenience store where Harris had been shopping. Deputies chasing down the suspect were mistakenly told by witnesses that Harris was the man they wanted. Harris had not been in the fight, but he ran.
The surveillance video shows the end of the chase as moviegoers are exiting from the Cinerama theater, about 2½ blocks from where the chase began.
Harris comes into view, makes a slight turn and slows down as Paul gives him a fierce shove, knocking him off his feet. Harris' head slams into the base of a tiled wall outside the movie house.
Two witnesses say Harris seemed to be stopping and said, "I don't have anything, I didn't steal anything," just before he was hit by Paul, who weighs about 270 pounds, about 100 pounds more than Harris.
But Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County Prosecutor's office, said last month that since Christopher Harris was identified by witnesses to officers as a suspect in a violent crime, "The law provides that an officer 'shall not be held criminally liable for using force without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable."
"He ran for several blocks after he was told to stop by uniformed officers. As the deputy caught up to him, the deputy used a standard take down procedure. As a result, no criminal charge can be filed."
Sara Jorgenson, Harris' wife of two years and constant companion since they became high school sweethearts 13 years ago, told reporters her husband was not the type to flee from police.
"He wouldn't have ran," she said. "He didn't know who was chasing him."
Harris, now housed in a congregant care center, breathes entirely on his own and sometimes opens his eyes but cannot focus, talk or otherwise communicate, a condition from which doctors believe he will never recover, Osborn said.
"It's not hospice care," the lawyer added. "He's not dying."
Jorgenson said she had quit work to be at his side daily and hoped eventually to be able to bring him home.
"I sit next to the bed all day. I talk to him. I read to him," Jorgenson said, dabbing the corner of her eyes with a tissue. "I make sure that he's getting taken care of ... anything that you can do."