Casper Police Officers Deny Wrongful Death Allegations
Two Casper police officers named in a wrongful death lawsuit denied the allegations by the mother of her son they shot and killed last year, according to federal court records.
Officers Jonathan Schlager and Cody Meyers generally denied Linda Lennen's claims on behalf of her son Douglas Oneyear, according to their response filed by attorneys with the Wyoming Attorney General's Office.
Lennen claims the city, police department, officers and Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy created the policies that enabled Schlager and Meyers to shoot him in east Casper, according to the complaint filed by her attorney Todd Hambrick of Casper.
Last week, Hambrick removed the Douglas-based Law Enforcement Academy from the lawsuit, and instead substituted unnamed instructors and staff at the academy allegedly responsible for the officers' training.
The incident occurred on the night of Feb. 26, 2018, when the officers responded to a call from the Loaf 'n Jug, 1510 Centennial Court. The clerk told dispatch that a man, later identified as Oneyear, came into the store wielding a sword and had threatened her.
Soon after that, the officers confronted Oneyear with the sword several hundred yards away from store, fired their guns at him, and gave medical attention to him, but he died at the scene.
Lennen earlier had said the sword was a toy.
Subsequent investigations cleared Schlager and Meyers of any wrongdoing.
In their response to the lawsuit, Schlager and Meyers generally denied most of Lennen's allegations.
They also addressed specific allegations:
- Denied the sword was a toy.
- Denied not considering using non-lethal force to subdue Oneyear.
- Denied they received inadequate training.
- Denied Oneyear did not offer resistance that warranted the use of deadly force.
- Denied Oneyear posed no threat to them.
- Denied their use of force was unnecessary, excessive and unreasonable under the circumstances.
- Denied they are liable for damages;
Schlager and Meyers also are immune from such a lawsuit on the basis of qualified immunity, "good "faith" qualified immunity, and under the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act, according to their response
Likewise, Lennen does not qualify for punitive damages, they said.
Schlager and Meyers also asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit against them because they acted properly, according to their response.
"Any acts or omissions by the Individual Defendants as to this matter were privileged, authorized by law, and reasonable in light of the applicable standards of training and the totality of the circumstances," their attorneys wrote.
"Any acts or omissions by the Individual Defendants as to this matter were done in good faith and based upon good cause, consistent with federal and Wyoming law."