Brickbat: Running Out the Clock


A Custer County, S.D., woman has sued Sheriff Marty Mechaley, Deputy Matthew Tramp and other members of the sheriff's office for violating her civil rights through their negligence in protecting her from a known threat. Harry David Evans was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year for kidnapping and raping the woman in 2017. Before that, he'd been arrested for violating a restraining order forbidding him from contacting the woman. On the night of the rape, he sent her threatening messages. She called the sheriff's office but hung up after being on hold for 10 minutes, according to the lawsuit. She then called the Hermosa town marshal, but a dispatcher told the marshal the sheriff's office was handling the call and called him off. The woman called the sheriff's office again but was once more placed and hung up. Finally, Tramp, who was on duty, called the woman. But after she complained that no one was coming to help her, "Tramp simply ran out his shift and returned home," according to the lawsuit. A couple of hours later, Evans broke into the woman's home and raped her.

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  1. Police have no duty to protect. See Warren v. District of Columbia and other case law.

    1. She, on the other hand, has an obligation to fund their salaries.

      1. See “misprision”… She also has a duty to “say something” when she “sees something”. AKA, it is her duty to serve as unpaid snitch to the state.

        Yet if is is “merely” you, yourself, who needs some protection, and you have no dog to shoot, to be offered up as sacrifice… Then you might as well not bother. Although… Had she NOT made all these calls, would she be held accountable for her misprision? You can’t win!

        Also, criminal was… “…was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year for kidnapping and raping the woman in 2017.”

        So “life” really means “2 years” now?

        1. No, everything happened in 2017.

        2. re: ‘“life” really means “2 years” now’

          I think you’re misreading the case. She is suing because the police did nothing to prevent that 2017 rape. The fact that the rapist was convicted (2 years later) says nothing about whether the police had a legal obligation in 2017 before the rape to follow up on his violation of the restraining order and/or his verbal threats.

          Which raises a couple of follow-up questions:
          1. If her rights were violated in 2017 by the failure of actions before the rape, why did she wait until now to sue? Don’t know.
          2. Does she have any hope of winning? Per Warren v. District of Columbia and others, probably not.

          1. 1. My understanding is that the general statute of limits for most torts is 3 years. 2 years then is not an unreasonable delay.

            She likely had other priorities earlier in the aftermath of the rape.

            A lawsuit may take time to prepare before filing.

            It may have taken her a while to find a lawyer willing to take the case.

  2. I have a feeling that if either the woman or the rapist had had some very valuable civil assets for forfeiture, the sheriff’s office would have acted swiftly and decisively—and would likely have used an APC or some other ex-military hardware to boot.

    At the very least, she should have provided a dog or other pet for the deputies to shoot. The lesson here is that if you want a response, you have to make it worth their while.

    1. Everybody knows in case of emergency you don’t yell “Rape!”, you yell “Fire!”. Should have called the fire department.

      1. No, you just say “He threatened to kill cops”.

      2. Should have called the fire department.

        Or CPS.

  3. I saw that movie on Lifetime Channel about 25 years ago.

  4. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    1. Her first call, after 2017, should have been to Mr. Glock.

  5. Had that woman been my sister, cousin, or friend, and I knew that asshole had threatened her, I would have at least made sure she had something to protect herself with. Even if it was my bird gun, I’d give her my .410 just to make sure she could protect herself. Even still, fuck those guys – give her every penny.

  6. Hopefully this gets thrown out. She should’ve owned a gun.

  7. From the article – “The lawsuit alleges that Custer County authorities advised the woman not to use a firearm to protect herself.”


    1. Don’t take advice from anyone named Custer.

  8. Simply taking this case is blatant malpractice. This lawyer is obviously defrauding this idiot lady into thinking she has a chance.

  9. I’m sorry. With the benefit of hindsight, we know the threats were real and imminent. However, that might not be the case every time.

    The police have other responsibilities that have to be triaged. In this, evidence and resources have to be weighed. They cannot be held criminally liable for not arresting someone who violated their parole within a matter of hours. You just cannot run a police department with that kind of liability.

    Does the sheriff need to be voted out? That’s a different story, as this calls the competence of the department into question.

  10. At the risk of blaming the victim why did she stay at home?

  11. I guess she learned the hard way that she needs to depend on herself (and Smith & Wesson) for her defense.

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