The family of 15-year-old Ryan Holyk, who was killed in an incident involving a Spokane County sheriff’s deputy last year, has demanded that a local motorcycle club stop using their son’s name and photos in a political campaign against Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.
Holyk was crossing Sprague Avenue on his bicycle at Vista Road when Deputy Joseph Bodman sped by in his patrol SUV. Bodman was going more than 70 mph in a 35 mph zone without his emergency lights on. Holyk was crossing against a red light at about 10:30 p.m. May 23, 2014.
Officials initially said Holyk was struck by Bodman’s cruiser. But in January, investigators said they determined through three separate investigations that Bodman missed Holyk and he died as a result of flipping over his handlebars and landing on his head.
The family filed a lawsuit in March against the Sheriff’s Office and Bodman.
Rattlesnakes Motorcycle Club President Scott Maclay has accused Knezovich of a cover-up and called for a new investigation, frequently using graphic photos of Holyk’s injuries to make his point.
The family’s attorney, Mike Maurer of Lukins and Annis, sent Knezovich a letter today to notify him that the family does not agree with Maclay’s views. Holyk’s mother, Carrie Thomson, has told Maclay to stop using her son’s name and photos, the letter says.
“While obviously the Holyk family and Spokane County are adverse in the pending lawsuit, it is unfortunate that third parties have attempted to utilize Ryan Holyk’s name and legacy to support their own agendas,” Maurer wrote.
Maclay maintains a Rattlesnakes Motorcycle Club Facebook page that is filled with personal attacks against Knezovich, claiming he is “Mormonizing” the Sheriff’s Office.
In one post, Maclay calls for people to bring their guns to protest against Knezovich at a town hall meeting planned for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Central Valley High School to ask “the only Terrorist in Spokane County for his resignation.”
Knezovich said he is aware of the planned protest, which calls for people to gather on the sidewalk outside Central Valley High School while openly carrying guns. He noted that federal law bans all firearms within 1,000 feet of school property, which ends right next to the sidewalk.
Maclay said Thursday that he hasn’t received an email or letter from Maurer or the family and has no plans to stop using Holyk’s name and photo. He denies Thomson has ever told him to stop using photos of her son.
“I have not received any request,” he said. “I don’t even know if it’s real.”
He met with the family months ago, Maclay said.
“I asked them if they wanted us to become involved in the matter,” he said. “I received their blessing and I continue to have conversations with the family.”
But Maclay said even if Holyk’s family no longer approves, he will continue what he’s doing because he can’t hold the sheriff accountable without using the teenager’s name and photo.
The family’s interest is in receiving a settlement from the Sheriff’s Office, Maclay said.
“Our interest is exposing the cover-up and holding law enforcement accountable,” he said.
Maclay said he has received economic support from the Holyk family.
Maurer said Thomson and her husband met with Maclay several months ago, where Maclay talked about his idea to promote “justice for Ryan.”
“At Scott’s request, a small donation was given,” Maurer said. “After providing that donation and learning of the political dispute between Mr. Maclay and his club and the Sheriff’s Office, the family chose to disassociate with that entity.”
Knezovich said it’s unusual for an attorney suing the Sheriff’s Office to send such a letter. He said the family has been drawn into Maclay’s personal vendetta against him.
“The bottom line is this family does not deserve what Scott Maclay is doing to them,” Knezovich said. “Ryan’s memory should not be used in this way. This is the human side of life. I’m willing to stand up for that family. I could care less about lawsuits.”
Maurer said in an interview that the letter was sent in part because of what Maclay has been posting on his Facebook page.
“This individual utilized my photograph and made it appear like I was making some sort of statement,” Maurer said. “I wanted to make it clear to the Sheriff that that’s not me. Neither I, as the attorney, nor Carrie Thomson want to be in any way involved in whatever political agenda or dispute may be occurring.”
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