INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Police Association has filed a motion for leave to file a brief amicus curiae in the Washington State Court of Appeals case of Estate of McCartney v. Pierce County. The case arose out of the tragic shooting and death of Deputy Daniel McCartney, whom Pierce County sent alone to confront two armed home invaders without adequate support or training.
According to the lawsuit, Pierce County failed to adjust funding for staffing of the Sheriff's Office for 16 years, even though the regional population has grown every year. That failure resulted in Deputy McCartney only being allowed six hours sleep in between back-to-back shifts and being assigned to a 700 square mile patrol district with only one other deputy.
After he arrived at the scene of the reported home invasion, McCartney chased two men who ran, radioed that shots had been fired, and then was silent. When back-up arrived, they found McCartney with a gunshot wound to his neck. He later died at a local hospital.
"On the night Deputy McCartney died, it is believed there were 12 deputies on duty, plus one sergeant, to cover the entire 1,806 square miles in Pierce County Sheriff's coverage area – or one deputy for every 150 square miles – or the equivalent of one deputy to cover the entire city of Seattle – alone," the lawsuit said. "Pierce County's Council should have left staffing priorities to the elected Sheriff and Pierce County's Council should have appropriated monies to bring staffing to sufficiently safe levels," the lawsuit said.
In the trial court, the County sought and obtained dismissal of the case, brought by Deputy McCartney's wife and three boys, on the basis that judge-created doctrines made the County immune from even negligent decisions.
The National Police Association believes that decisions by local governments to abandon their fundamental duties to maintain public order can and should be the subject of judicial review, just as courts across the United States (including Washington) have intervened when governments have failed to provide adequate support for education. Indeed, the National Police Association demonstrates in its brief that courts across the Nation have not hesitated to provide a remedy for inadequate staffing that results in personal injury. Here, a Washington state statute that holds local governments liable "to the same extent as if they were a private person or corporation," and the statute should be applied to provide relief for Deputy McCartney's surviving family.
The National Police Association is represented by James L. Buchal of Murphy & Buchal LLP. The matter is Case No. 556634, The Estate of Daniel Alexander McCartney, et al. v. Pierce County, in the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington.
The NPA's amicus can be viewed here: https://nationalpolice.org/dev/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/NPAs-Motion-and-Brief-Amicus-Curiae-The-Estate-of-DANIEL-ALEXANDER-McCARTNEY-Appeal.pdf
NationalPolice.org is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission of educating supporters of law enforcement in how to help police departments accomplish their goals.
SOURCE National Police Association