Militarization of Police

Husband of Sunday School Teacher Killed by Culpeper Cop Files $5 Million Wrongful Death Lawsuit


Gary Cook, the husband of a retired Sunday school teacher who was shot and killed by a Culpeper police officer who then apparently lied about what caused him to shoot, has filed a $5 million wrongful death lawsuit against Det. Daniel W. Harmon-Wright and the city of Culpeper, Virginia: 

The suit, which was filed on behalf of Gary Cook on May 11 in Culpeper County Circuit Court, seeks $5 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages from the detective who shot and killed Patricia Cook on Feb. 9.

For the first time since the shooting, the suit identifies the officer involved in the shooting as Daniel W. Harmon-Wright, aka Daniel W. Sullivan. Cook and his legal team claim in the suite that the detective's actions "constituted an utter disregard of caution amounting to a complete neglect of the safety of another person."

The lawsuit alleges: "When Harmon-Wright drew his gun and fired, Mrs. Cook was not endangering his life…or any other person." Cook did not have a weapon.

Previously: Why Did a Culpeper Cop Kill a Retired Sunday School Teacher in a Church Parking Lot? 

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle on the Declining Standards of Jihadi Terrorists

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  1. WTF? Is he in witness protection or something?

    Daniel W. Harmon-Wright, aka Daniel W. Sullivan

    1. Yes. This is puzzling.

    2. A hyphenated name for a male who isn’t Hispanic? Huh?

      1. No, two totally different names for one guy. It’s not like it’s “Daniel W. Sullivan aka ‘Sully’ ” – it’s two completely different last names. It just struck me as odd.

    3. From yesterblog:

      Moreover, the newspaper reports that the 33-year-old Harmon-Wright has previously used other names. On Facebook, he goes by “Dan Wayne,” a graduate of James Madison High School in Vienna, the paper reports. More curiously, the five-year veteran of the Culpeper P.D., also a veteran of the U.S. Marines, previously lived in Fauquier where he was known as Daniel Sullivan.

      1. See? Isn’t that weird?

  2. Hope he wins, but why 5mil? Why not like 50mil. Make it hurt?

    1. The $5 million is compensatory damages. I’m sure there was a formula that was used to calculate his wife’s potential earning capacity and household contributions over the projected span of her life had she been given the opportunity to complete it without interference from the trigger happy officer. The $350,000 in punitive damages may be the result of legal limits set within that particular state. I’m sure if Mr. Cook had his way, he would be suing for billions and demanding a few hours alone in a locked room with Officer Douchebag.

    2. Hurts who? The only people who usually suffer from these lawsuits are taxpayers.

      1. Then the people of Culpeper should take it out on their elected officials. They put these people in a position of public trust, and now there was a breach of that trust.

      2. if the city or state or whatever jurisdiction it is in gets sued for piles of money everytime a cop exceeds his authority, maybe at some mythical time in the future they will restrain restrain their cops from killing people or will hire people who won’t needlessly kill people. One can dream, can’t one?

        1. Pie in the sky dreams #7.

      3. Yeah, 5 MegaDollars would probably bankrupt a little county like that. Maybe that’s the actual goal… Bankrupt the county and force out everyone in power.

    3. Why not like 50mil. Make it hurt.

      Like MP said, a fat settlement like that will hurt only the taxpayers.

      Instead, take it from the cops’ pension fund. Sure the amount will be considerably less, but the hurt will by much more concentrated, and focused on the correct target.

      1. Good idea. Or from the guy himself. And yes, the guy is not forking over 5mil, probably not 10% of that.

      2. Philosophically, the taxpayers should pay. A government is legitimate when it has the consent of the governed. Voters have a responsibility to ensure that their officials do not breach the public trust. When they do, the voters have to pay. There isn’t any other workable way.

        1. This here. As long as voters keep electing statist fucksticks and their cronies, the voters haven’t learned.

          And yes, I know that many voters voted against the fucksticks in charge, and many taxpayers don’t vote.

          Too bad. While our crypto-aristocracy bears the brunt of the blame for statist fuckstickery, that won’t change until the voters who asked for it, start asking for something else.

    4. That was my first thought when I saw the headline. These days $5 mil is warm coffee in the lap compensation. They would be fools to fight it. Just snicker while they sign the check.

  3. How is her having been a Sunday school teacher relevant?

    1. It makes it a bit less likely that she initiated a shoot out with a cop.

      1. Obviously she wasn’t a Sunday School Teacher in Florida.

    2. Other than the fact that she was killed in a church’s parking lot?

  4. Amazing how a truck load of cash can suddenly make everything all ok.

  5. Obviously she was resisting.

  6. Is there any doubt that this would have been a capital case if the situation had been reversed? After all, cop killers must fry, and them dumb libertard fascists just don’t git it, dang it!

    1. See: Ryan Frederick

      1. Ryan David Frederick is a prisoner in Virginia. On February 4, 2009, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment following conviction for voluntary manslaughter for the January 17, 2008 shooting death of police officer Jarrod Shivers. The shooting occurred at Frederick’s home in Chesapeake, Virginia during the execution of an no-knock warrant/exigent circumstances police raid serving a warrant to search for a marijuana grow operation.[1] The case is notable for the magnitude of support the defendant received from his community,[2] the press,[3] and blogs,[4] as well as for the relative leniency of the charge the jury chose for conviction in the death of an on-duty police officer.[5]

        Three days before police attempted a raid, the defendant’s residence was broken into by a police informant who riffled through the defendant’s belongings, reporting to the police that he found Frederick was growing marijuana in his garage and that several marijuana plants, growing lights, irrigation equipment and other gardening supplies had been seen on his property. Based on this information, law enforcement officials secured a no-knock warrant to enter Frederick’s home.

        Yeah. I’m extremely surprised that he wasn’t drawn and quartered on the spot. Obviously, it was his fault somehow that the entire thing was the cops’ fault. I know it is because prohibitionist fucks told me so on the evening news.

        1. The reason Frederick didn’t get a life sentence or the chair was at least in part due to the amount of attention the case got. If it hadn’t been under such scrutiny (from the local media as well as reason/Balko), I would be willing to bet the prosecutors, in collusion with the cops, would have tried to fry the kid.

        2. Never mind that the informant was related to Frederick and was pissed at him over a previous altercation. None of the things listed on the informant’s report were found other than a single joint. No conflict of interest whatsoever, nor was the informant brought up on charges.

          1. Sorry I hadn’t been paying attention to the Frederick case, but are you fucking kidding me?

            The cops can induce someone to commit a crime, use information from that crime to get a warrant, and have that stand? Is that what I am reading?

      2. And a terrific nugget from the same page:

        “According to critics, the Frederick case mirrors another shooting which occurred in New Hanover County, N.C., where college student Peyton Strickland was shot when a police officer participating in a raid on the student’s residence mistook the sound of a SWAT battering ram for a gunshot. The officer discharged his weapon several times into the home as Strickland came to answer the door, striking and killing both the student and his dog. The department paid $4.25 million to the parents in restitution, but no charges were filed against the officer.”

        No double standards. Move along.

        1. killing both the student and his dog

          Now that’s New Professionalism.

  7. Let’s hope there aren’t any cop-loving jury nullifiers on the panel…

  8. I believe “cop-loving jury nullifiers” is a null set.

    Of course, I would have thought “libertarian Obama voter” was a null set at one time.

    1. One born every minute.

    2. Was and is, labels aren’t always accurate.

    3. See if there are any left in 2012. I’m thinking one or the other of those descriptors will have fallen by the wayside.

    4. I believe “cop-loving jury nullifiers” is a null set.

      I don’t see why.

      Justification: When a cop is on duty, he can’t be held accountable for unfortunate, human mistakes. She probably had it coming.

      1. I doubt that anyone willing to let this guy get away with murder because he’s a cop would self-identify as a jury nullifier. They would probably be tuff-on-crime lawr n’ udder types.

        It’s just that laws don’t apply to the people who put their lives on the line to enforce them etc etc.

  9. The article says witnesses, not just a lone whacko witness, gives an account that conflicts with the police report. That’s the first time I’ve seen the plural used. Sounds like the cop is fucked.

    1. Sounds like the cop is fucked.

      Wait…but that means there is a god…and I am still too damn lazy to go to church.

    2. Nah. There’s no video evidence against the cop, so its just the cop’s word against the serf’s peasant’s “civilian’s”.

  10. Meanwhile in Mississippi…

    1. “Authorities are asking citizens to be careful if they are pulled over and feel uneasy. They advise drivers to call 911 and verify that a legitimate officer is pulling them over or drive to a well-lit, crowded place before stopping, actions permitted under Mississippi state law”

      Wonder if the run of the mill police know that their superiors are advising this?

  11. OT, sort of: Didn’t we used to have a concept called “Double Jeopardy” in American jurisprudence? What the fuck ever happened to that?

    Nevermind. I just looked at a calendar and realized it’s an election year.

    1. I hope they do charge him. They’ll get no conviction. But of course the real reason why they’d charge him is because the War against women and gays isn’t playing too good.

    2. Dual sovereign doctrine.

      1. N/A here because the feds are talking about a federal murder charge here, not a conspiracy to commit same. If he faces murder in state court, he cannot face murder charges in federal court. If they wanted to charge him with some civil rights violation, I think they could get away with it (even though I think it’s bullshit), but to say he will face federal murder charges after facing state murder charges not being double jeopardy flies in the face of common sense.

        1. It’s applicable because the state isn’t charging the hate crime, but the FedGov is (or would be).

    3. Holy crap, the comments on that article are just depressing.

  12. OT: Justin Amash on his amendment of the NDAA

    This is what we’re up against. The big-government backers of the NDAA say that if we adopt the Smith-Amash Amendment to ensure that persons on U.S. soil – including Americans – get full constitutional due process, we are “rewarding terrorists.” I guess we’re all terrorists now, as long as Big Brother says so.”

    1. He needs to name names on those who are bashing his proposal. Leadership on both sides of the aisle and the WH need to be called out for their willingness to sacrifice the 4A for no tangible reason.

  13. By the way, there was a dashcam that conveniently wasn’t working at the time. Oh, and the cop’s radio wasn’t recording either.

    Gee, that’s convenient, isn’t it? Now there are just the eyewitnesses to worry about, and the Culpeper PD was sure to start impugning their reputations from the minute they started talking about what they saw. But they don’t protect their own at the expense of justice.

    Where has dunphy been, btw. The whole story reminds me of him and his foul stench of apologia. Yet his absence on these threads has been conspicuous lately. Maybe we finally made him realize he’s an apologist fuck and he ran off to PoliceOne where he belongs.

    1. We can only hope. Although I keep making sacrifices to the mighty Cthulu to burn that piece of shit and his progeny in a fire of righteous vengeance. Maybe it worked? That would be teh awesome.

      1. Shouldn’t you be calling upon Cthugha for that?

  14. A little over a month ago, I created the Facebook page and petition, calling for full transparency in this case. The city has made it clear that they side with the officer and will protect themselves from the lawsuit, which Mr Cook has filed, by using their insurance to provide the officer with a civil attorney, even before criminal charges have been filed. We’ve received nearly 1,000 signatures on our petition and helped to shine a light on the behind closed doors approach that has been the standard since Feb 9. I’ve been publicly insulted and criticized by some for “not keeping this local”. Well, I am local, and I was the only one willing to take a stand and say “When a police officer shoots an unarmed woman, in the back, while she driving away in sheer terror, isn’t it reasonable to expect a fair and open trial?” This should make all decent people stand up and say “Enough is enough.” If the Special Grand Jury decides to acquit the officer, and seal the evidence, instead of sending the case to trial, in open court, then people should be outraged. If you agree that this case warrants its day in court, please go today and sign our petition. Mrs Cook was a decent and kind lady, and she can’t speak for herself. Please join me in speaking for her.…..ricia-cook…..9186116293

  15. that the way the cops are you people really surprized there the reall terrioist on the street they been terrorizzing the american people for the last 30 years just watch tv or do some internet searches on crooked cop cop that lie ect youll find millions of cop terroist do you really think that poor guy is going to get any just them out of there scumy courts 5 million thats bull crap when it cumes to my family members i say fry that cold blooded lieing nazi pig will that ever bring that mans wife back when are you people going to wake up looks like that town got areall taste of there pillards of the commuity you people think its just one bad cop in that department there all guilty they let there brother in blue coldly blooded kill that school trecher what next yout kids it will be the things i have seen cops do with my own eyes is really the worst from the head crook cop down to the child molesting police that s to bad because the good cop uselly dont stick around to long if that was that guy that shot his wife were do you think he be ???? you people of the community need to make a exsample out of that police comunist department hang em all by ther neck till there dead dead dead hope you people wake up

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