Everett officer charged in fatal shooting

Everett officer charged in fatal shooting »Play Video
Niles Meservey
SEATTLE (AP) - A police officer was charged Monday with manslaughter in the shooting of a man after his car was boxed in by police responding to reports of a drunken driver in a restaurant parking lot.

Everett police officer Troy Meade, 41, was charged in Snohomish County Superior Court with unjustified use of deadly force and recklessness in the death of Niles Leo Meservey, 51, of Stanwood.

It's the first time a police officer in the county has faced prosecution for a shooting in the line of duty.

Meade, an 11½-year veteran, was placed on paid leave after the shooting, returned to desk work for a time but is now back on paid leave, according to the newspaper.

His lawyer, David Allen, said he had not read a 900-page investigative report that preceded the charges but added, "I strongly believe that he acted legally" based on the court filing.

"Officer Meade is a dedicated police officer. He was faced with a very difficult and dangerous situation in which the lives of police and the lives of bystanders were in danger," Allen said.

Everett city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said police and other municipal officials would not comment because of a civil damage claim for $5 million to $15 million that was filed last month by Meservey's daughter, Tanda Louden of Holdingford, Minn.

"While my family takes some measure of comfort in knowing this man will be held accountable for his actions, nothing the city can do will bring my father back to me and my family," Louden said in a prepared statement.

"Obviously we're pleased that the prosecuting attorney has done what we think is the right thing," her lawyer, Paul N. Luvera, said in a telephone interview. "We still are disappointed that the investigation took four months before even the name of the police officer was released."

Meservey was shot seven times in the back June 10 as he sat at the wheel of his idling white Chevrolet Corvette, boxed in by three police cruisers in the parking lot of Chuckwagon Inn after officers responded to reports of a drunken driver.

According to the court filing, another officer at the scene told investigators Meade used a Taser stun gun to try to stop Meservey from moving the car, then opened fire with his service handgun, saying, "Time to end this. Enough is enough."

According to an affidavit filed in court, another officer at the scene, Steven Klocker, "told investigators that he perceived no immediate or imminent threat to the defendant (Meade), any civilians or himself when the defendant opened fire."

Witnesses said the car lurched forward over a parking curb and away from Meade, possibly from an involuntary reflex after Meservey was jolted with the Taser, and lodged against a fence and a parking curb before the officer began shooting.

A witness told investigators Meservey was reciting the Lord's Prayer when he was pulled from the car and died shortly afterward as he lay on the pavement.

An autopsy determined that his blood alcohol level was .26 percent, more than three times the .08 legal threshold for intoxication. No other drugs or medications were found.

A probe by state police and local police, as well as witness accounts and other evidence, showed that the shooting "does not appear to have been justified under the law," Deputy Prosecutor Mark K. Roe wrote to detectives in a letter cited by The Herald.

Following Roe's letter, the case was assigned to two other deputy prosecutors who filed the charge against Meade.

The damage claim filed on Sept. 22 accused Everett police of recklessness and gross negligence. If the claim is not be resolved within 90 days from the date of filing, it can be refiled as a lawsuit.

Luvera said there had been no settlement talks.

"We're primarily after the facts," he said.