Sheriff's Department Cleared In Pastor's Wrongful Death Suit - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sheriff's Department Cleared In Pastor's Wrongful Death Suit

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SPOKANE, Wash. -
Nearly 3 years after the shooting death of Rev. Wayne Scott Creach, a local pastor, a judge has cleared the Spokane County Sheriff's Department of any wrong doing. However the Creach family is still received a 2 million dollar settlement. Creach was shot & killed by Deputy Brian Hirzel in the pastors parking lot nursery & greenhouse on August 15th 2010. Creach was shot & killed by deputy Hirzel when he went to investigate what a dark colored vehicle was doing on his property. It was late at night & Creach was armed with a handgun. The car was an unmarked patrol vehicle occupied by Hirzel who was uniformed and patrolling for car prowlers.
 
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich spoke to KHQ's Dylan Wohlenhaus on Friday. He says "7 different reviews" cleared the Spokane county Sheriffs department & deputy Hirzel including a review by U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby. "This was the most reviewed case I've ever seen. You had a citizen & a deputy, not your typical situation" Knezovich says. He also says he was not surprised at the decision made to clear the Sheriff's office in the civil suit.
 
The two million dollar settlement is paid against the wishes of the sheriff's department & Spokane County. Spokane County risk manager Steve Bartel says the insurance company insisted on paying the settlement rather than go through potentially lengthy & costly litigation. Bartel says they county and its attorneys insisted on not paying the settlement because the county was found to not be at fault. The 2 million dollar settlement offer he says was on the table before a final ruling was made.
 
In a statement to KHQ the Creach's family attorney Simeon Osborn said " "We are pleased with this settlement. No amount of money will bring Mr. Creach back, but this settlement will help raise awareness and hopefully encourage positive change in the way Spokane County trains its deputies so that something like this does not happen again." When asked Friday about the training, Sheriff Knezovich says he disagrees with Osborn's statements about training. The judge also ruled that there was not a solid argument from the Creach family attorney about training issues.

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