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Thursday, October 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Ex-dispatcher sues over Taser

Complaint alleges harassment led to resignation

It started with a Taser.

Soon, an Adams County Sheriff’s dispatcher was the target of relentless harassment that led to her resignation and still affects her today.

Those allegations are contained in a recent complaint against Adams County filed by Jeanette Ivan, a former dispatcher who claims a correction officer’s use of a Taser on her “became a widespread joke in the workplace.”

“Most prevalent and disturbing was the continued use of Tasers to frighten and intimidate plaintiff,” according to the complaint. “On a frequent basis, and occasionally several times in a day, Tasers were pointed at her as a threat.”

Adams County Sheriff Doug Barger said he “can’t make any statements” about the case and directed questions to Spokane lawyer Thomas Luciani. Luciani declined to discuss the case “other than a general denial of causing (Ivan) problems.”

Ivan resigned from her job as a dispatcher with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office in May 2009. That was more than two years after Corrections Officer Robert Reynolds allegedly deployed a Taser on Ivan. She reported the incident to her supervisor but “he thought it was humorous,” according to the complaint filed in Spokane County Superior Court by Seattle attorney Rebecca Roe. Roe did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The complaint alleges that after Reynolds stunned her with a Taser in January 2007, another employee, this time a jail commander, touched Ivan’s back with a Taser on several occasions “or fired one at her at close range.”

Ivan complained several times but said she suffered retailiation. In February 2009, Ivan put her complaints in a memo to her supervisor, but when asked later for specifics by Undersheriff John Hunt, she referred Hunt to the previous complaints she’d submitted rather than explaining them again.

Hunt interpreted that “as a refusal to cooperate and took no action,” according to the complaint.

The next month, Ivan received a note that her supervisor wrote to another employee that made a joking threat about the jail commander being ready to deploy a Taser if a certain task was not completed, according to the complaint. Ivan resigned on May 17.

Luciani said he received the complaint Thursday and was drafting a response.

The complaint seeks unspecified damages for mental health treatment bills, physical and emotional suffering and attorney’s fees.

Ivan, who lives in King County, could not be reached for comment.

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