Lawsuit dismissed in deputies’ forceful arrest of Everett man

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney, a sergeant at the time, was among the officers named in the lawsuit.

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney. (Sue Misao / Herald file)

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney. (Sue Misao / Herald file)

EVERETT — A U.S. District Court Judge in Seattle has dismissed a lawsuit alleging Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies violated an Everett man’s civil rights during an arrest.

According to the lawsuit and deputies’ reports, the arrest of Paul Barracliffe II in September 2018 was a chaotic and violent scene. The deputies repeatedly shocked him with a Taser, punched him numerous times and used a police dog to attack him, according to court papers. Photos from the scene show blood smeared on the kitchen floor and what looks like bloody fingerprints on a refrigerator.

In a complaint filed in July 2020, Barracliffe’s attorneys alleged unlawful arrest and detention, unreasonable use of force, assault and battery, negligence and failure to train. In an early press release, they argued Barracliffe was “unarmed, did not resist, and has mental health problems.” Barracliffe has bipolar disorder, diagnosed after a traumatic brain injury he suffered when he was assaulted 12 years ago in Seattle.

The claims drew a stark contrast with the deputies’ versions of events.

In their initial reports, the deputies described how Barracliffe, a 6-foot-2 and 215-pound man, resisted arrest “using every ounce of energy” and with “super human like strength.” While he never attacked deputies, reports say they worried an assault could be imminent and that he could get hold of a weapon if he broke free.

Seven deputies were named in the lawsuit, including Sheriff Adam Fortney, who was a sergeant at the time of the arrest. In the complaint, attorneys for the defense played up the fact that one of the involved deputies, Arthur Wallin, was fired for his involvement in shooting and killing a 24-year-old Edmonds man, after a brief and wild chase. The arrest of Barracliffe took place just a month before. After becoming top cop, Fortney reinstated Wallin, disagreeing with the previous sheriff’s findings that the deputy violated department policy.

Barracliffe was initially represented by attorneys Ada Wong and Jordan Wada of AKW Law in Mountlake Terrace. They withdrew as counsel in April.

Since then, Barracliffe “has failed to participate in the litigation in any meaningful manner,” U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik wrote. And when the judge granted the defendants’ motion to compel a psychological evaluation of Barracliffe, he failed to comply with the court order.

On Aug. 18, a year and a month after the lawsuit was filed, Lasnik signed the order of dismissal.

“We’re pleased with the court’s decision to dismiss the matter,” said Jason Cummings, chief civil deputy prosecutor for the county.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; Twitter: @zachariahtb.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Deena Jones gets a physical by Briana Brewer during one of her twice weekly checkups Thursday morning at UW Medicine in Seattle on September 30, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Her brother offered a kidney, and she got one, with a twist

Deena Jones’ nephew died in a random knife attack. His death could keep the Arlington pastor alive for decades.

Community Transit is preparing to shift commuter buses that go to the University of Washington in Seattle to connect with Link light rail in Northgate next year. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Union: Community Transit vaccine mandate puts jobs in ‘jeopardy’

Meanwhile, at King County Metro, a similar mandate has significantly boosted vaccination rates.

Man injured in Marysville gas station shooting

People in two vehicles reportedly opened fire Monday morning. Detectives were seeking suspect information.

Mukilteo asks for input on housing density, and it’s complicated

Here’s a guide to what voters should know about the advisory ballot measure. What does it actually do?

The concrete wall of the tennis courts at Clark Park in Everett was painted into a bright mural by people over two weekends. (Jay Austria)
Neighbors brighten Clark Park wall in Everett

People grabbed brushes and painted the concrete tennis court wall over two… Continue reading

An emergency responder uses a line to navigate the steep slope along a Forest Service road where seven people were injured Saturday when a vehicle went off the road near the Boulder River trailhead west of Darrington. (Darrington Fire District)
7 hurt in crash off cliff west of Darrington; 1 airlfited

A vehicle crashed on a forest service road near Boulder River, leading to a major rescue operation.

The aftermath of a fire that damaged a unit at the Villas at Lakewood apartment complex in Marysville on Saturday. (Marysville Fire District)
2 families displaced by Marysville apartment fire

Nobody was injured when the fire broke out Saturday morning on 27th Avenue NE.

Kevin Gallagher (from the Snohomish County Official Local Voters’ Pamphlet November 2, 2021 General Election)
Kevin Gallagher, a Marysville City Council candidate, dies

Kevin Gallagher, 52, died at home of natural causes. He was challenging incumbent Councilmember Tom King.

Clouds hover over the waters off Everett's western edge Monday morning. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Get ready for La Niña and a soggy winter in Snohomish County

After a hot, dry summer, Washington feels like Washington again. Damp. Gray. Normal.

Most Read