WEST VALLEY CITY — The federal civil rights lawsuit filed by former embattled West Valley police officer Shaun Cowley against the city may be near an end.
On Tuesday, a motion was filed by both West Valley City and Cowley to dismiss the final outstanding cause of action left in Cowley's lawsuit, stating an agreement has been reached. Cowley contended his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when police searched his locker at work. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
All that is left now is Cowley's motion for attorneys' fees.
"Once this issue has been resolved, the parties further stipulate and agree to submit to the court an approved order of dismissal of the defendants," according to the motion filed Tuesday.
In 2012, Cowley and former officer Kevin Salmon shot and killed Danielle Willard, 21, during an undercover drug operation. The Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office determined the shooting was not legally justified and charged Cowley with criminal manslaughter. In an extremely rare move, however, a judge dismissed the charge at the preliminary hearing stage, stating it did not meet the low probable cause standard.
West Valley City fired Cowley in September of 2013. But he appealed his termination, claiming he was only performing his duties as his police superiors had taught him. Cowley, who had no intention of working for the city again, was temporarily reinstated as an officer after West Valley City opted not to continue the drawn out fight in 2015, thus making Cowley eligible to receive back wages and benefits he said he was due. After an agreement on back pay was reached, Cowley "resigned" from the department three days later.1 comment on this story
In February of 2016, Cowley sued West Valley City, its police department, City Manager Wayne Pyle, then-Chief Lee Russo and former chiefs Thayle "Buzz" Nielsen and Anita Schwimmer, District Attorney Sim Gill and four other West Valley officers, claiming his rights to due process, unreasonable search and seizure, and equal protection were violated.
His orignal lawsuit included nine causes of action. That was reduced to six in an amended complaint filed a month later. In July of 2016, U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins dismissed three of Cowley's causes of action.
Cowley's attorney still has the option of appealing the dismissed counts to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.