Man shot by officer in 2011 sues Tacoma police

Plaintiff argues adequate training would have prevented an incident in which he was shot 10 times

Staff writerOctober 21, 2013 

A 34-year-old Tacoma man who says he was shot and permanently disabled by an overzealous police officer at the end of a slow-speed pursuit is suing the Tacoma Police Department and the officer for damages.

Than Orn filed suit Oct. 10, contending the department failed to properly train officer Kristopher Clark, leading to the officer using excessive force outside Orn’s apartment complex Oct. 12, 2011.

Officers tried to pull over Orn’s vehicle in South Tacoma for allegedly driving without lights, but Orn did not stop. Instead, he continued driving about 30 miles per hour toward the apartment complex where he lived. Several officers had blocked off one entrance and were waiting for Orn.

The lawsuit contends Clark defied his supervisor’s order not to get out of his patrol car and opened fire as Orn drove away from him.

Police dispute that, saying Orn drove directly at officers, grazing Clark and continuing on until his car hit a dumpster and caught fire.

Orn was shot 10 times in the neck, back and right shoulder and is paralyzed below the waist, according to the lawsuit.

“The systematic failures of the Tacoma Police Department … resulted in an unnecessary and unlawfully excessive use of force which has left Than Orn permanently disabled, in constant physical pain and mentally and emotionally devastated,” according to the suit.

Orn is seeking unspecified damages for loss of income and mental and emotional distress.

Police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said she cannot comment on lawsuits.

She also declined to say whether the shooting prompted additional department-wide training, as Orn’s attorneys contend. The suit says a police review of the incident prompted extra training for all officers in improved radio communications, how many patrol cars should respond to an incident and improved supervisory directions.

It also contends Clark needed additional training in tactical positioning, environmental awareness and officer safety.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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