Lakewood officers' widows file claim against Department of Corrections

MyNorthwest.com

June 29, 2011

The widows of two of four slain Lakewood police officers have filed a damages claim that accuses the Washington Department of Corrections of bungling its supervision of Maurice Clemmons.

"This was an offender from Arkansas who wanted to come to Washington. Washington agreed to take him, but as part of that agreement, Washington was supposed to supervise him and they didn't do that," attorney Jack Connelly told 97.3 KIRO FM's Ron and Don Show.

Listen to Jack Connelly's interview

Clemmons was eventually jailed and charged for raping a child and assaulting a police officer.

Connelly said while Clemmons was incarcerated, the state of Arkansas issued a warrant in October allowing him to be detained in jail until his trial.

"Unfortunately, the Department of Corrections didn't tell the Pierce County Jail that they had the warrant and they didn't do anything with the warrant other than type it in their [chronological records.]" said Connelly.

The court had no alternative, but to allow him to post bail on November 23, according to Connelly.

Clemmons killed Sgt. Mark Renninger, Officer Greg Richards, Tina Griswold, Officer Ronald Owens six days later at a coffee shop in Parkland. A Seattle police officer killed Clemmons on December 1.

"What they want is justice. They want the facts of what occurred to come out and not permit the DOC to hide this thing under the rug and point fingers in other directions," Connelly said of the lawsuit filed on behalf of Kim Renninger and Kelly Richards.

By STEPHANIE KLEIN, MyNorthwest.com Editor