Judge dismisses lawsuit filed by slain Park County deputy’s family

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Cpl. Nate Carrigan

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PARK COUNTY, Colo. — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the family of a Park County Sheriff’s deputy who was killed in the line of duty in February 2016.

Cpl. Nate Carrigan was a 13-year veteran with the sheriff’s office. His family was attempting to sue the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Fred Wegener and Capt. Mark Hancock.

Also named as plaintiffs were deputies Kolby Martin and Travis Threlkel, who were injured in the shooting.

Senior U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger ruled in favor of the defendants Friday.

Carrigan, Martin and Threlkel were part of a team trying to evict law enforcement protester and activist Martin Wirth on Feb. 24, 2016.

In her conclusion, Krieger said that while the shooting was tragic and the eviction was poorly executed by Capt. Hancock, the deputies were aware of the inherent risks that come with being in law enforcement.

Krieger’s full conclusion is below:

“The events of February 24, 2016 were unquestionably tragic. The PCSO had deliberately planned an operation to evict Mr. Wirth in a way that carefully considered the risks to the officers involved (as well as to Mr. Wirth) and devised a conservative approach that would maximize the likelihood of the situation resolving peacefully. Captain Hancock’s self-described “super aggressiveness” on the day of the event inexplicably discarded that careful planning, unnecessarily sending his coworkers into a chaotic and dangerous situation that cost Corporal Carrigan his life and injured Deputies Martin and Threlkel. As terrible and unnecessary as those events were, they are part of the inherent risks that law-enforcement officers agree to take on when they take up their badge. As such, the Constitution does not provide the Plaintiffs a remedy.

Accordingly, the Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment (## 54, 55) are GRANTED. Judgment shall issue in favor of the Defendants.

Dated this 29th day of March, 2019.

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