Last year, Ryan Evarts gave Spokane police Chief Terry Mangan the finger.
In return, Mangan gave the 20-year-old Spokane man a royal chewing out.
Now Evarts wants the city to pay.
He filed a claim in Spokane County Superior Court this week that says Mangan caused him fear, humiliation and loss of reputation when he yelled at him for making the obscene gesture.
“Our police chief’s behavior was completely unacceptable,” said Evarts’ attorney, Russell Van Camp. “He knew better.”
The exchange happened in the Valley last summer, when Mangan was on his way home and passed Evarts, who extended his middle finger at the chief.
Mangan spun his unmarked police car around, turned on his lights and siren and pulled Evarts over. With his loudspeaker, he told the driver to put his hands up, drop his keys and step outside.
Evarts and a passenger said Mangan started cursing and yelling. The chief then pushed Evarts in the chest and threatened him, they said.
Mangan said he didn’t pull Evarts over for giving him the finger, but because Evarts was driving too fast. The chief was also suspicious because he knew a burglar had been spotted in the area.
He admitted, however, he used strong language inappropriate for an officer and suspended himself for two days. He denied threatening Evarts or pushing him.
Mangan refused to discuss the claim Wednesday but said he was unconcerned about it. “I get sued two or three times a week,” he said. “They can just get in line.”
Van Camp said his client, who has a criminal record that includes assault and malicious harassment, knows the gesture he made was wrong.
“Absolutely it was wrong, but two wrongs do not make a right,” Van Camp said. “Police officers are expected to keep their cool and (Mangan) unfortunately had more than just a passive reaction.”
He said Evarts will not seek “tens of thousands” of dollars in the claim, but he declined to discuss exact figures. The claim is not for revenge but to make a point, Van Camp said.
City attorneys will review the claim this week. If they reject it, Van Camp said he will file a lawsuit in Superior Court.
“The publicity from all this has caused my client a lot of difficulties,” Van Camp said without elaborating. “We need to get this settled.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo