Wrongful detainment lawsuit could cost Spokane Co. $100K

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by HAYLEY GUENTHNER & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on April 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 28 at 3:00 PM

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What should Conner Guerrero get from the Spokane Co. Sheriff's Office?

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash— A man wrongfully detained by a Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies filed a $65,000 lawsuit against Spokane County. He claims the incident caused him unnecessary stress.

When KREM 2 News first talked to Conner Guerrero in December, he said that all he wanted was an apology. Leaders at the Sheriff’s Office told 2 On Your Side that the department attempted to apologize and was surprised to learn about the lawsuit.

In December, Guerrero told KREM 2 News he thought he was being burglarized when he saw flashlights shining into his house.  He said that he opened his door to find deputies from Spokane County Sheriff’s Office pointing a pistol at him.

“I’m wondering, ‘Why the hell is a gun being pointed at me right now?!’” Guerrero explained he slammed the door and ran for cover.

Fighting the lawsuit could take between $50,000 and $100,000 out of the department’s risk management budget according to Spokane County Sheriff, Ozzie Knezovich.

Guerrero said he complied with deputies’ orders after they identified themselves.

The Sheriff’s Office said deputies realized they were at the wrong house after Guerrero showed them his ID.

WATCH: Local deputies detain wrong guy; man wants apology

KREM 2 News followed up with the Sheriff’s Office to find out whether Guerrero was given the apology he asked for.

“He was given many apologies,” said Knezovich. “I called him and said, ‘I have our entire command structure, the deputies all the way to me, and we’d like to issue you that formal apology.’”

Knezovich said the Guerrero never responded to his attempts to rectify the situation. Instead, Guerrero filed a lawsuit against the department.

According to the filing papers for the claim, it’s $65,000 for mental distress.

The Sheriff admitted his deputies made a mistake, but said they handled themselves appropriately in December.

“It was a dark house. There was evidence people had just been in the driveway,” he said. “They were looking for a burglary. You don’t open a door that way and slam it. Put yourself in the deputy’s position.”

 

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