Family of Lakewood officer Griswold joins litigation against state

Aug 17, 2011

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The family of slain Lakewood police officer Tina Griswold has filed a notice to sue the state of Washington over its handling of Maurice Clemmons. He's the Arkansas parolee who gunned down Griswold and three of her fellow officers in a coffee shop in 2009. Clemmons was later shot dead by Seattle police.

Attorneys for Griswold's husband and two children quietly filed tort claims last month against the Washington Department of Corrections. The family doesn't ask for a specific dollar amount in damages, but does accuse the agency of "gross negligence" and "deliberate indifference" in how Washington handled Maurice Clemmons’ parole.

Specifically the claims allege the department never should have allowed Clemmons to come to Washington from Arkansas because his sponsor was a convicted felon. After Clemmons arrived, the family alleges the Department of Corrections failed to properly supervise him.

The Griswold family joins the families of the other slain officers who filed their own tort claims against the state back in June.

An agency spokesman says the department does not comment on pending lawsuits, but top officials have previously said their standards for supervising felons in the community have improved since Clemmons first came to Washington in 2004.

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