The families of four Lakewood police officers slain in November have taken the first step toward suing Pierce County, preparing formal claims that seek $192 million in damages.
The claims on behalf of the estates of Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Ronald Owens, Greg Richards and Tina Griswold are expected to be filed today.
Relatives contend Pierce County law enforcement leaders could and should have done more to stop Arkansas parolee Maurice Clemmons before he shot the officers to death Nov. 29 in a Parkland coffee shop, according to copies of the claims obtained Thursday by The News Tribune.
The estates of Renninger, Richards and Griswold seek $58 million each for their spouses and children, predeath general damages and economic loss to their estates. The estate of Owens seeks $18 million for his daughter, predeath general damages and economic loss to the estate.
The claim is a bitter pill for the Sheriff's Department, which raised money on behalf of the slain officers, led the manhunt for Clemmons and arrested his alleged confederates. Prosecutors still are building the criminal case against those parties.
"It's really kind of a kick in the head," sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said Thursday. "We've done so much for these families, and we're going to continue to do things for these families — but at the same token we have a criminal case right now with seven defendants.
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