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Dash cam released in the deadly shooting of a man outside his home by Casper police in 2018

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A jury trial is set for July to decide a lawsuit filed by the family of a man shot and killed by Casper police near his home, newly filed court documents show.

Douglas Oneyear was killed by two Casper police officers on Feb. 25, 2018. Officials responded to a report of a man threatening an employee at an east Casper gas station that day. The department says the shooting was justified because Oneyear was carrying a sword while approaching the officers.

Video footage from the shooting shows both officers ordering Oneyear to drop the sword. It was about 12 seconds between the first command and when the first shot was fired.

Shortly before being killed, Oneyear appeared to threaten a cashier at a nearby gas station with the sword. Natrona County's top prosecutor later ruled that officers were justified in their actions, describing the shooting as a "suicide by cop."

But a lawyer for Oneyear's family says the sword was a toy or replica and that police had opportunities to deescalate the situation.

Linda Lennen, Oneyear's mother, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the officers on the first anniversary of his death, claiming her son's constitutional rights were violated. The lawsuit slowly traveled through the court system before a state judge ruled last year that a negligence lawsuit for wrongful death could continue.

In March, the city attempted to seal confidential documents from the public, strike experts and bring an end to the wrongful death lawsuit before it went to trial. They moved to eliminate several of Lennen's experts, particularly the sole liability expert, Dan Montgomery.

City defendants argued Montgomery never offered an opinion to support Lennen's claim that the city failed to properly train the officers involved in Oneyear's death.

This month, the court denied the city's motion and will allow Montgomery to testify, as the city has a "right to raise objections to the witnesses prior to their testimony," the recent filing states.

Based on that, the case will be able to proceed to trial. The city originally asked the Natrona County District Court to make a decision without going to trial, arguing Lennen's claims would lack proof without Montgomery's expertise.

Judge Kerri M Johnson did decide to withhold certain documents from the public, so there will be information not disclosed or revealed to anyone other than the court.

“This protective order is meant to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden…” the city said in the initial request. “... The potential harm to the privacy of the parties outweighs any public interest.”

The two sides have listed over two dozen witnesses collectively, a court filing shows. Among them are several Wyoming Divisions of Criminal Investigation special agents and Oneyear's young daughter.

The trial is scheduled to start July 10.

ID
rak27v Copy
License
Unknown
Type
video
Duration
1:23
Date
May-15-2023
By
ThisIsButter1 (10257.00)

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