Spokane County jury awards former sheriff’s deputy and his spouse $19.5 million in defamation lawsuit
Dec. 24—A former Spokane County Sheriff’s Workplace deputy and his spouse should pay $19.5 million in damages after a Superior Courtroom jury decided Friday that he was wrongfully fired and defamed by Sheriff Ozzy Nejovich.
Knezovich fired Sgt. Jeff Thurman in 2019. At a information convention, the sheriff stated an inner affairs investigation discovered he made the choice after Thurman used the N-word on the telephone with different deputies, talked about killing black individuals and sexually assaulted a feminine deputy.
Thurman sued Kenjovich later that 12 months. In his lawsuit, the 18-year veteran of the sheriff’s workplace challenged Kenzovich’s characterization of the investigation, saying his story about utilizing racial epithets was fabricated by his accuser and arguing that he himself was the sufferer of racial discrimination throughout his firing.
After a four-week trial, a Superior Courtroom jury sided with Thurman on Friday and ordered Spokane County to pay him and his spouse, Casey Thurman, $19.5 million. They mentioned for lower than a day.
Jeff Thurman will obtain $2.5 million for misplaced wages and $12 million for emotional damages. Casey Thurman will obtain $5 million for emotional misery and lack of consortium.
Thurman, surrounded after the decision by relieved and teary-eyed relations, stated in a written assertion that the previous few years had been an “extremely lengthy highway” for his household.
“I’m grateful that my neighborhood stood up for me and noticed the reality of what occurred,” she wrote. “I actually care about serving this neighborhood and the residents, and I hope I am nonetheless doing that in a patrol automobile.”
Thurman’s lawyer Mary Schultz stated in an e-mail Friday afternoon that the Thurmans have obtained the compensation they deserve.
“The tragedy of that is that among the finest, most heroic, and most embellished regulation enforcement officers on this neighborhood has been faraway from our neighborhood’s regulation enforcement workforce,” Schultz stated. “As one deputy testified, our neighborhood is much less protected with out Sergeant Thurman on patrol, and regardless of the loss, will probably be tragic for all of us.”
Schultz has argued that Kenzovich misrepresented the findings of an inner affairs investigation and shared a “utterly false story to the media” throughout his 2019 press convention.
Knezovich strongly denied this declare.
“This report is public report,” he stated. “I problem anybody to learn that report and inform me that one thing is misrepresented.”
The sheriff, who’s retiring on the finish of December, stated his attorneys will enchantment the ruling.
“I respect the jury’s work; I utterly disagree with their findings,” Kenjovich stated. “I dealt with it the best way I believed it wanted to be completed.”
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