Wrongful death lawsuit filed in police shooting of Casper man

By Shane Sanderson

Casper Star-Tribune

Via Wyoming News Exchange

CASPER — The mother of a man shot and killed by Casper police last year filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court Monday on the anniversary of his death. 

The lawsuit was filed Monday by Todd Hambrick, who represents the family of Douglas Oneyear. It names the city of Casper, the Casper Police Department, the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy and officers Jonathan Schlager and Cody Meyers as defendants. 

Schlager shot and killed Oneyear in February 2018 after he and Meyers encountered the man on 15th Street near Wyoming Boulevard on the city’s east side. Both Schlager and Meyers fired at Oneyear.

Oneyear was carrying a sword, and officers said they shot at him when he ignored their commands to stop moving toward them. Schlager fired two shots that struck Oneyear in the spine. 

The lawsuit accuses the city, agency and academy of failing to properly train officers and implement policies that would have prevented Oneyear’s death, allegations that Hambrick first publicly made in an August legal filing. 

In the lawsuit, Hambrick characterizes the sword as a toy. He states that Oneyear was “walking in the street around the front fender of Officer Schlager’s car in a nonthreatening manner with his arms at his sides.” 

In internal affairs interviews, the two police officers said they were acting as trained, according to the lawsuit. 

The Natrona County District Attorney’s Office declined to charge either Schlager or Meyers in relation to Oneyear’s death. In March, then-District Attorney Michael Blonigen issued a letter stating Oneyear’s death was a case of suicide by cop. 

Schlager has worked for the department since 2015 and Meyers since 2016. 

The lawsuit does not specify the total amount of compensation sought but requests a judgment to cover mental anguish and emotional distress, funeral and burial expenses, loss of future earnings and court costs, as well as punitive damages. 

Defendants in the case have not yet filed responses to the lawsuit.