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News / Clark County News

Zimmerman heard cases of Black man deputies shot in February traffic stop

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Local News Editor
Published: March 18, 2021, 6:03am

Clark County District Court Judge Darvin Zimmerman never saw Kevin Peterson Jr. in his judicial capacity, but he presided over several cases for another Black man killed by police.

Thirty-year-old Jenoah Donald was shot by a Clark County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop Feb. 4 in Hazel Dell – three months after and less than a mile from where deputies fatally shot Peterson, a 21-year-old Black man.

Donald, of Battle Ground, later died from his injuries after being removed from life support.

Many in the legal community, along with community leaders, have condemned Zimmerman for racially biased comments he made last week regarding Peterson and the shooting investigation.

Peterson did not have District Court case history. But an analysis of Donald’s District Court cases show that he appeared in front of Zimmerman in six cases between 2009 and 2017. However, Zimmerman only saw one case to resolution: a 2010 case in which the underlying offense was third-degree driving with a suspended license.

In his comments, Zimmerman did not speak about Donald’s shooting investigation. And it does not appear he was involved in the signing off of search warrants in either shooting investigation.

Zimmerman’s comments, which were captured on video and broadcast online, have prompted the Superior Court to remove his authority to perform any functions of that court, prosecutors to seek his removal from all of their criminal cases and calls from several parties for his resignation.

Zimmerman’s son was on scene in the Oct. 29 shooting of Peterson as a member of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office but did not fire his weapon. The long-serving judge also made disparaging comments about Peterson’s family and their motives.

Zimmerman issued a statement Tuesday saying he decided to take time off to reflect on his comments.

More on Zimmerman

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