SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) - The husband of a woman fatally shot by Sandpoint police in northern Idaho has filed a $2 million claim against the city and a hospital.
The Bonner County Daily Bee reported (https://bit.ly/1DxSKhp) in a story Wednesday that Shane Bruce Riley filed the claim Friday in 1st District Court.
Jeanetta Marie Riley, 35, died July 8 after authorities say she approached three officers with a knife and refused police commands. Two officers opened fire. Authorities deemed the shooting justified.
The claim contends that police overreacted, used excessive force and violated Jeanetta Riley’s civil rights. The claim also said Bonner County General reported a situation more threatening than what existed.
According to public records obtained by the newspaper, Shane Riley was at a loss for how to help his suicidal wife when he took her to a hospital. She was struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues, the public records said.
The claim said that Shane Riley drove her to the hospital after becoming concerned about her mental stability.
“He wanted to get help for her and in an effort to prevent injury to his wife, he went to the hospital to get the required help,” according to the claim.
Shane Riley went inside the hospital and told the receptionist that his wife was outside with a knife threatening to harm anyone who approached. The hospital staff called 911 and the hospital went into lockdown. Police arrived within minutes.
“There was no active threat to anyone when they arrived,” the claim said. “The only bystander was Shane Riley, her husband, who was calmly talking with her when the officers arrived.”
The claim said officers converged on Jeanetta Riley with guns drawn. The claim said the officers “caused a lethal confrontation that any reasonable person could have avoided and they should have been trained to avoid.”
Seconds after police arrived, two officers shot Jeanetta Riley after she refused commands to drop a knife and allegedly advanced on officers.
“Bring it on!” she can be heard saying in a video recording.
Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh in November ruled the shooting justified. McHugh noted that the Idaho Police Officers Standards & Training calls for a 21-foot space between an officer and someone with a knife.
The legal claim is a precursor to a lawsuit against a government entity. City officials and the hospital declined to comment.
The Bonner County Human Rights Task Force concluded that Jeanetta Riley’s human rights weren’t violated. But the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill has decried the shooting.
In a related matter, Riley’s former husband, Dana Maddox, has filed a $1 million claim against the city on behalf of their daughter. That claim said Jeanetta Riley suffered from emotional and mental difficulties, and contends that police used unnecessary force.
Information from: Bonner County (Idaho) Daily Bee, https://www.bonnercountydailybee.com
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