SPOKANE Wash, - After reviewing the 2010 shooting death of Scott Creach a judge ruled that Spokane County Deputy Brian Hirzel acted lawfully when he shot & killed Creach. The Spokane County Sheriff's Office released this statement Friday: Today, June 21, 2013, United States Federal Judge Rosanna Peterson dismissed Spokane County and the Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich from the federal law suit filed by the Creach family in regards to the death of Scott Creach. In response to the Creach family's claim that the Sheriff's Office was negligent for providing "ambush training", Judge Peterson stated in her ruling, "Based on the evidence introduced, no reasonable jury could find that Spokane County or Sheriff Knezovich made a deliberate choice to disregard the rights of its citizens by providing the ambush training."
As to the question of the Sheriff's Office use of unmarked cars and parking on private property, Judge Peterson ruled, "Plaintiffs have shown that Spokane County had such policies or customs, but have not produced any evidence to establish that these policies or customs were the cause of Mr. Creach's death. Plaintiffs have thus failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact under this theory of liability."
Judge Peterson's ruling stated, "Plaintiffs have not introduced evidence sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact showing that Spokane County or Sheriff Knezovich had a widespread and persistent practice of engaging in faulty investigations or failing to discipline officers…. Plaintiffs have not raised a genuine issue of fact as to whether Spokane County had a custom or practice of failing to properly investigate the actions of its deputies or failing to discipline errant deputies."
As a result of Spokane County and Sheriff Knezovich being dismissed from the federal lawsuit, the case has settled for $2 million dollars. Sheriff Knezovich stated, "I think it was irresponsible for the insurance company to offer such a large settlement, against the advice of Spokane County and our attorneys, prior to Judge Peterson's ruling. Doing so only opens Spokane County and the Sheriff's Office up to more unfounded lawsuits. It is important to note that Judge Peterson dismissed Spokane County and myself from this lawsuit and found that the Plaintiffs' claims against me and my Office were unfounded." With regard to the Creach family's attorney, Simeon Osborn's inflammatory comments concerning the case, Sheriff Knezovich stated, "I regret that Mr. Osborn chose to inaccurately portray the settlement knowing that the Judge ruled to dismiss the action against the Sheriff's Office and the County."