By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – A former Lewis County sheriff’s deputy has filed a claim against the county alleging wrongful termination, discrimination, fraud, perjury, abuse of power and corruption among other issues including negligence and malpractice by his lawyer.
Douglas D. Lackey was fired in July 2007.
It’s not clear how much he is asking for monetarily, because that and almost all the other spaces in the standard tort claim form he submitted were left blank. Instead, he attached a five-page memo that mentions whistle-blower violations, mental and economic duress and states that he has lost track of the amount of damages the sheriff’s office has caused him.
“What amazes me is how successful they’ve been with lying and manipulating the courts,” Lackey writes. “The sheriff’s office, in my opinion, stole $360,000 from the taxpayers to defend this matter, predicated from the start on deceit.”
Lackey, 46 years old with a Vancouver, Wash. address, states in his memo he possesses documents to prove his case, records he says his attorney never produced to refute claims by the sheriff’s office administration.
He contends the administration lied repeatedly during his unemployment appeal hearing, during mediation and during arbitration.
Lewis County RIsk Manager Paulette Young said she has 60 days to either accept, deny or ignore the claim.
It was filed Sept. 15 and has been forwarded to Washington Counties Risk Pool for review, Young said earlier this week.
In his memo, Lackey describes his diagnosis of post traumatic stress syndrome after he was involved in an officer-involved shooting in March 2003 and states the diagnosis was ignored his superiors.
Following a high speed chase from Salkum to Onalaska, when the driver backed out of a ditch toward Lackey in an attempt to hit him, Lackey fired at him, striking him once in the upper left arm. The man survived.
Lackey’s memo describes a former best friend and supervisor from another law enforcement agency as harassing him endlessly after the incident and repeatedly characterizing the two as both “Natural Born Killers” since they were among the few in law enforcement to ever shoot someone.
He said he told the man it was causing him further stress and difficulty in dealing with the effects of his shooting.
Lackey states he reported the unwanted harassment to his supervisor because he didn’t know what else to do and didn’t want to be branded a rat, but was only advised to talk with a fellow deputy who’d also shot someone on the job.
The other deputy said the suggestion was ludicrous and told him he should seek counseling, Lackey wrote.
Lackey’s memo tells of repetitive nightmares, migraines, inability to sleep, starting to drink heavily, and how his continued complaints about the harassment were ignored and undocumented by his superiors.
“My agency repeatedly ignored my cry for help in dealing with him,” Lackey wrote.
The former deputy wrote about falling behind in his caseload, and of feeling haunted by a case involving torture and murder of two little boys, which he was pulled off of.
A document included with Lackey’s memo indicates the grounds for his termination were untruthfulness, though it doesn’t offer any detail.
Lackey appealed his firing to the Lewis County Civil Service Commission, a case that ended with an undisclosed agreement between the two sides in 2008.
In the spring of 2008, detectives with the Shelton Police Department reviewed Lackey’s files at the sheriff’s office before he was hired at a new job with them. But then after then-Prosecutor Michael Golden forwarded a Brady letter to the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office, Lackey was terminated from the new job.
The following year he filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court alleging the sheriff’s office breached its 2008 agreement with him.
Lackey indicates he believed the sheriff’s office agreed to delete any references of his untruthfulness from his personnel records, but in 2011, an arbitrator sided with the sheriff’s office, stating they only agreed to leave it out of his termination letter.
Lackey’s complaints about his private attorney aren’t anything the county is responsible for, according to Young. And the rest, Young suspects won’t see any action from her office.
The 60-day deadline will likely pass without the county neither accepting or denying Lackey’s claim, she said.
“We believe he’s already argued the claim in binding arbitration,” Young said.