Family of man shot by Casper police may seek compensation
Aug. 25, 2018
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — An attorney for the family of a man who was fatally shot by Casper police officers has filed notice that relatives may seek compensation for his death.
Two officers fired on Douglas Oneyear in February when he moved toward them with a sword and ignored their commands to stop, authorities said at the time.
District Attorney Michael Blonigen later concluded that the 36-year-old Oneyear provoked the confrontation with the intent of ending his life, and prosecutors declined to charge the officers, who have returned to duty.
Oneyear had swung a sword at a passing car and assaulted a convenience store clerk before the police encounter, authorities said.
Attorney Todd Hambrick sent a notice this week to the city of Casper, the Casper Police Department and the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy that claimed the officers' training was flawed and the family deserves compensation, the Star-Tribune reported .
Oneyear was harmless and could have been subdued with little harm, Hambrick wrote in the notice.
The notice, which is required before a civil lawsuit can be filed, alleges officer training of the "so-called '21-foot rule'" is negligently flawed. That's a theory that says a person with a bladed weapon within 21 feet (6 meters) of an officer can attack before the officer has time to draw a gun, aim and fire.
The notice does not explain the claim of flawed police training. Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters said the 21-foot rule is an outdated concept and the officers acted as they needed to based on the information that was available to them.
"I have been very steadfast in the support of my officers," McPheeters said. "A reasonable look at the totality of the facts will show my officers acted appropriately."
Casper City Attorney John Henley said he doesn't believe Hambrick's claims have merit.
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com