Civil suit filed in Federal District Court against San Juan County Sheriff and a deputy

A civil suit against San Juan County Sheriff Ron Krebs and Deputy Ray Harvey was filed in the United States District Court Western District of Washington  on February 14, 2019. According to court papers, Deputy Ray Harvey and Deputy David Holland, entered Daniel Fowler's Orcas Island  home on March 7, 2016 without probable cause or a warrant and broke his shoulder as they arrested him.

Fowler, is seeking damages "in the form of economic losses, non-economic loss, personal injuries, emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of reputation, loss of enjoyment of life and humiliation, in an amount presently unknown and to be made more certain at the time of trial, as well as incurring attorney fees and other losses."

Holland is not part of the civil suit. Sheriff Krebs is being sued in his  individual capacity and his official capacity. 

As of the beginning of March, neither Krebs or Harvey had been served with court papers. 

Following are excerpts from the court documents:  

INTRODUCTION

1.1 This is a civil action brought by Daniel Fowler, who was arrested without probable cause or warrant from within his home and who during the arrest suffered grievous and irreparable bodily injury because of the excessive force authorized and employed by Defendants during his unlawful arrest

1.2 This action seeks damages against Defendants for committing acts, under color of law, which deprived Plaintiff of rights secured under the Constitution and laws of the United States and Constitution and laws of the State of Washington; and for conspiring for the purpose of impeding and hindering the due course of justice, with intent to deny Plaintiff rights secured by the state and federal constitutions.

1.3 Defendants Krebs and Harvey while acting in their capacities as law enforcement officers in the County of San Juan, State of Washington, deprived Plaintiff of his rights, property, and liberty without due process of law, conducted allowed to be conducted and ratified an unreasonable search and seizure of the person and property of Plaintiff, unlawfully detained Plaintiff, caused the unlawful arrest of Plaintiff and caused grievous injury to Plaintiff when Defendant Harvey employed excessive force during an illegal arrest of Plaintiff within his home thereby depriving Plaintiff of his rights, privileges and immunities as guaranteed by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States; 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and Washington State statutory and common law.

IV. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

4.1 On or about the afternoon of March 7, 2016 Mr. Daniel Fowler was at his residence at 75 Tall Trees Trail, Eastsound, WA in the company of his then 16 year-old daughter, C.F., and Mr. Fowler’s housemate’s granddaughter, L.S.

4.2 At approximately 3PM Mr. Fowler heard a knock at his door.

4.3 Mr. Fowler opened the door and he saw two men who he recognized as Deputy Raymond Harvey and Deputy David Holland on the small porch of Mr. Fowler’s residence.

4.4 Mr. Fowler asked what their business was and Deputy Harvey explained to Mr. Fowler that he was in violation of a protective order that protected Mr. Fowler’s then girlfriend, Holly Dennis. 4.5 Mr. Fowler told Deputies Harvey and Holland that he had court orders that he wanted them to review that were in his bedroom downstairs from the residence’s entrance.

4.6 Mr. Fowler further explained to the officers that the court orders modified and revoked the no contact orders that had previously been in effect.

4.7 Mr. Fowler attempted to shut the door so that the Officers would wait on the small porch outside the residence while he went to retrieve the documents he wanted to show them.

4.8 Before the door shut completely, Deputy Harvey placed his foot in the door preventing the door from closing.

4.9 Deputy Harvey then pushed the door forcing it open and proceeded to enter Mr. Fowler’s residence.

4.10 At no time did Mr. Fowler invite the officers into his residence or otherwise manifest any consent to their entry into his residence.

4.11 Neither of the minors consented to the deputies’ entry into the residence.

4.12 No other persons besides Mr. Fowler, Deputy Harvey, Deputy Holland, and the two minors were present at the residence.

4.13 Inside the entryway, the officers forcibly took hold of Mr. Fowler’s arms and forced him to the floor.

4.14 The Deputies struck Mr. Fowler’s head against the wall and floor as they forced him down, breaking Mr. Fowler’s glasses that were on his face.

4.15 Mr. Fowler heard a “pop” in his shoulder as Deputy Harvey forced his arm up towards his shoulder blade as he was being forced to the floor.

4.16 Mr. Fowler’s daughter, C.F., witnessed the altercation in the residence and proceeded to become extremely upset and agitated at the sight of her father being forced to the floor by the deputies. 4.17 C.F. was crying and pleading with the officers to stop assaulting her father.

4.18 At no time was Mr. Fowler permitted to retrieve the paperwork that Mr. Fowler had told the officers would dispel their confusion as to whether or not he was in violation of any no contact order.

4.19 Deputy Harvey and Holland, with their knees on the small of Mr. Fowler’s back proceeded to place handcuffs on Mr. Fowler.

4.20 Deputy Harvey and Holland then removed Mr. Fowler from his residence and put him in the back of a departmental patrol vehicle.

4.21 Mr. Fowler then was driven several miles to the Orcas Island sheriff’s substation.

4.22 At no time was Mr. Fowler informed of his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966), or its progeny.

4.23 The deputies did not have a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Fowler.

4.24 The deputies did not have a warrant for the entry or search of Mr. Fowler’s residence.

4.25 The deputies did not have probable cause to arrest Mr. Fowler

4.26 There were no exigent circumstances that would authorize an arrest of Mr. Fowler in his residence absent a warrant.

4.27 Some time after arrival at the substation, the officers evidently realized that they did not have probable cause for the arrest of Mr. Fowler.

4.28 Deputy Holland then drove Mr. Fowler back to Mr. Fowler’s residence and released him.

4.29 Mr. Fowler was not given a citation, processed through booking, or taken before a judicial officer.

4.30 No arrest report, probable cause affidavit, search warrant, application for a search warrant, arrest warrant, application for arrest warrant or report on the use of force were produced by defendants.

4.31 The policies of San Juan County Sheriff’s department concerning arrest, search, seizure, applications for warrants are deficient and do not comply with accepted practice or constitutional law.

4.32 It has been the practice and custom of San Juan County Deputies and Sheriff to ignore the written and unwritten policies of San Juan County that were promulgated to ensure the constitutionality of arrests, search, seizure and use of force.

4.33 San Juan County and Sheriff Krebs have failed to train, institute policies, supervise, discipline and screen deputies so that their arrests, searches, and use of force conforms to constitutional standards.

4.34 San Juan County and Sheriff Krebs have failed to train, institute policies, supervise, discipline and screen employees.

4.35 It is true that previously, Ms. Dennis was referenced as a protected party in a no contact order entered in a criminal case where Mr. Fowler was the defendant in a misdemeanor matter in San Juan County District Court.

4.36 Ms. Dennis, however, had moved the Court on December 21, 2015 to dissolve the protective order so that she could be with Mr. Fowler

4.37 On February 24th 2016, the District Court terminated the no contact order and Ms. Dennis and Mr. Fowler were free to associate with each other.

4.38 Moreover, during the evening March 1, 2016 -- exactly one week prior to the night of the altercation between Mr. Fowler and Deputies Harvey and Holland -- Deputy Harvey approached Mr. Fowler and Ms. Dennis after he saw them together parked on a roadway.

4.39 According to the police report generated about that stop and his subsequent investigation, Deputy Harvey wrote:

I was aware that there was a DV Protection Order that had been in place listing DENNIS as the petitioner and FOWLER as the respondent. I questioned them about that order. DENNIS stated that she did not know the status of the order. FOWER claimed that the order had been quashed on 02/24/16.

I requested dispatch to check the order and see if it was still active. Dispatch confirmed the order was still in place and FOWLER was still restrained from contacting DENNIS.

* * * * *

FOWLER exited the vehicle on request. He retrieved some paperwork from the vehicle and handed it to me. It was a court document. The document suggested that the DV No Contact order had been terminated. Dispatch was unable to find any such document.

On 03/04/16 I looked into the confusion regarding the protection order. I found that Fowler’s district court no contact order had been terminated. This was consistent with the paperwork Fowler had provided from District Court. However I found that there was still an active protection order through Superior Court listing DENNIS as the petitioner and FOWLER as the respondent.

I left a voicemail for FOWLER advising him of what I had learned. On 03/5/16 he called and left a derogatory voice mail stating that the protection order had been dropped and that the sheriff’s department needed to do its homework. He continued by saying that “he was tired of the fucking bullshit that has gone on with this deal.” The audio recording has been added to the case file.

On 03/7/16 while investigating case # 16-001221, it was discovered that an [sic] modification had been imposed on the order. The order had been filed, but the computer records had not been updated. The modified order allows Fowler to have social contact with DENNIS. It prevents him from committing any criminal acts against Dennis. Due to the new information found, no criminal actions have occurred. 

4.40 On March 4, 2016, Deputy Harvey left a message on Mr. Fowler’s voice mail and stated that while the District Court protective order was no longer  in force, a Superior Court Order was in effect to restrain Mr. Fowler from being with Ms. Dennis.

4.41 It was not true that on March 4, 2016 either a District Court order or a Superior Court Order was in effect to restrain Mr. Fowler from being with Ms. Dennis.

4.42 The next day, Mr. Fowler called Deputy Harvey and left him a voice mail message in response. Mr. Fowler said:

Hey Raymond [Harvey] I got your message and once again the Sheriff’s department is flapping their upper lip when they don’t know what the hell they are talking about. That Superior Court one has also been quashed too so do your homework and figure it out man because I am tired of the fucking bullshit that has gone on with this deal. Got me? Thank you.

4.43 Mr. Fowler’s voicemail to Deputy Fowler, in fact, correctly communicated the state of affairs that there were no orders which prohibited him from being in contact with his girlfriend, Ms. Dennis.

4.44 Ms. Dennis had not complained to the Sheriff’s department that Mr. Fowler was bothering her or otherwise committing any criminal act.

4.45 There were simply no indicia of probable cause that would allow Deputies Harvey and Holland to forcibly enter Mr. Fowler’s home without his consent on the afternoon of March 7, 2016 and place him under arrest or conduct a search of Mr. Fowler’s person or premisis.

4.46 What actually occurred on the afternoon of March 7, 2016 was nothing short of “pay back” by Deputy Harvey for being shown up and told that he was incorrect in his understanding of the legalities of Mr. Fowler’s conduct with respect to Ms. Dennis.

4.47 To this day, Mr. Fowler is still in extreme pain from the shoulder injury he received when the Deputies Harvey and Holland assaulted him.

4.48 On March 22, 2016, Mr. Fowler went to his local clinic, Orcas Island Family Medicine and saw Dr. David Lee Russell for treatment for his shoulder.

4.49 Mr. Fowler described to Dr. Russell that his shoulder had been injured on March 7 in an altercation with the Sheriff’s Department.

4.50 Dr. Russell reported a reduced range of motion in Mr. Fowler’s left shoulder that was secondary to pain, that he had trouble reaching overhead or out to the side and that there was a grinding sensation in the movement of the shoulder. Dr. Russell then referred Mr. Fowler to University of Washington’s Harborview Hospital in Seattle for further care.

4.51 On April 18, 2016, Mr. Fowler saw the University of Washington’s Department of Orthopaedics Sports Medicine Shoulder and Elbow Service. The clinic’s chart describes Mr. Folwer’s shoulder condition as follows:

The pain has been present for about 40 days. The pain started after he had an event where police officers twisted his arm up behind his back, and he felt a pop. He had onset of pain since that time, which is located laterally and radiates down the arm. The patient had the left clavicle fracture to the affected side but no other injuries. For the affected side, the patient had no prior shoulder joint surgeries. The patient has not tried physical therapy and has had zero corticosteroid injections. The pain has not been worsening but has been stable. Sleep is affected negatively due to the pain. The patient is here to discuss treatments for the affected shoulder.

4.52 The shoulder specialist at the University of Washington ordered imaging and after review of the images advised Mr. Fowler that if the shoulder did not heal on its own surgical repair would be necessary.

4.53 A medical history taken at the clinic reflects that Mr. Fowler described his pain as a “7” on a scale of 1 to 10.

4.54 Mr. Fowler has been in physical pain constantly and suffering from the injuries he suffered during the assault on the afternoon of March 7, 2016.

4.55 Mr. Fowler has suffered emotional distress from his injuries and from the trauma of the assault that occurred on the afternoon of March 7, 2016.

4.56 Mr. Fowler’s daughter, C.F (who at the time was a minor but has since reached the age of majority) suffers from emotional distress from witnessing her father brutalized, injured, cuffed and taken away by Sheriff’s deputies on the afternoon of March 7, 2016.

4.57 In addition to pain and suffering, Mr. Fowler has suffered economic damages from the effects of the assault that took place on March 7, 2016 including past medical costs, expected future medical costs, lost earnings, lost future earnings, increased household expenses, and lost opportunities.

4.58 Mr. Fowler is a man of modest means and has earned his living throughout his life performing strenuous manual labor.

4.59 Mr. Fowler is a mechanic by trade and had worked his entire adult life repairing automobiles and other machinery. In addition Mr. Fowler had a business removing cars from Orcas Island and transporting them to recycling facilities on the mainland. Mr. Fowler also made money by felling trees, and cutting and delivering firewood to people on Orcas Island.

4.60 Mr. Fowler’s dominant arm is his left arm.

4.61 It was Mr. Fowler’s left shoulder was injured in the altercation with Deputies Harvey and Holland.

4.62 Mr. Fowler is unable to effectively work at his professions given the injury to his shoulder.

4.63 Deputy Harvey currently supplies firewood to residents of Orcas Island.

CAUSES OF ACTION

1. ARREST WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE (SAN JUAN COUNTY, KREBS AND HARVEY)

2. EXCESSIVE FORCE (SAN JUAN COUNTY, KREBS AND HARVEY)

3. TRESPASS (HARVEY)

4. NEGLIGENCE (SAN JUAN COUNTY, KREBS AND HARVEY)

5. OUTRAGE (SAN JUAN COUNTY, KREBS AND HARVEY)

6. VIOLATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS (SAN JUAN COUNTY, KREBS AND HARVEY)

7. ASSAULT (HARVEY)

8. BATTERY (HARVEY)

9. FALSE IMPRISONMENT (HARVEY)

Fowler is represented by Friday Harbor attorney Nicholas Power. He is asking for a jury trial.

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