Attorneys Ada K. Wong and Jordan T. Wada of AKW Law, P.C., on behalf of Paul Barracliffe, are suing Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney, Deputy Sheriff Arthur Wallin, the County of Snohomish, and other officers in federal court for the vicious assault of Paul Barracliffe on September 26, 2018.
The lawsuit, filed in the Western District of Washington on July 1, 2020, alleges Snohomish County Sheriffs violated Mr. Barracliffe’s constitutional rights when they repeatedly tased him, beat him, and ordered their police canine to attack him after he was already handcuffed. Mr. Barracliffe was unarmed, did not resist, and has mental health problems.
Seven officers arrived at his house shortly after midnight after his mother called 911 for a mental health wellness check on her then 32-year old son. Snohomish County Sheriffs barged into Mr. Barracliffe’s home, yelling at Mr. Barracliffe to comply. Mr. Barracliffe immediately raised his hands and said that he was complying. The Snohomish County Sheriffs pulled him off of his couch and restrained him as they began their assault. Within a matter of 3 minutes, Mr. Barracliffe was beaten with fists on his head and neck by a total of 7 Sheriffs, and tased at least 6 times by 3 different Sheriffs, all while screaming in pain and holding his arms in front of his face attempting to protect his head as he was lying helpless on the floor. Mr. Barracliffe was then handcuffed and taken outside by the Sheriffs when Sheriff Wallin instructed his canine to attack Mr. Barracliffe’s leg.
This was the not first – or last – time that Sheriff Fortney and Deputy Wallin needlessly used excessive force against policies and protocol. Deputy Wallin shot and killed Nickolas Peters in October 2018, resulting in a lawsuit in 2019. In October 2019, Deputy Wallin was fired. Snohomish County settled with Peters’ estate for $1 million in early 2020. Immediately after Sheriff Fortney became the new Snohomish County Sheriff, he reinstated Deputy Wallin with backpay, saying he should have never been fired in the first place.
Attorney Ada K. Wong said, “What they did was beyond any bounds of decency and they need to be held accountable for their actions. What was a simple call for a mental health wellness check escalated into a young, helpless man being pinned to the floor, tased, and violently beaten by multiple officers. This is unacceptable.”
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About AKW Law, P.C.:
AKW LAW is a law firm based in Washington, with offices in Seattle, Tacoma, and Mountlake Terrace. We handle cases in California and Washington in state and federal courts. Our primary practice areas include civil rights, employment law, personal injury, and estate planning. We are committed to advocating for the underdog and those harmed because of unjust and illegal actions. We fight to the ends of the earth to obtain justice for our clients.