Ridgefield woman seeking $10M from city, county

She was shot two years ago by Vancouver police officer

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A woman shot by police two years ago in her home outside Ridgefield is seeking $10 million from the city of Vancouver and Clark County.

Mary Lee Andison and her husband, Bruce, a physician, filed claims for damages against the jurisdictions last week.

Andison was “shot in the head with a semi-automatic assault rifle and in the leg with a less-lethal round. The tactics used, procedures followed and force deployed by law enforcement were unreasonable, excessive, negligent and unconstitutional,” according to paperwork filed by Portland attorney Jeffrey Street.

Andison, 63, suffered damage to her eyesight and hearing, as well as disfigurement. She will continue to need medical care and counseling, according to the damage claim.

The shooting occurred on June 24, 2011, after Clark County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call to check on a suicidal woman. The responding deputy radioed that the woman inside the house was armed with a handgun, so additional officers were dispatched.

Sheriff’s deputies, as well as officers from the Vancouver Police Department, Southwest Washington Regional SWAT Team, Emergency Response Team and Hostage Negotiation Team surrounded and entered the Andison home, according to the damage claim.

The officers prevented Andison’s family from communicating with her, according to the claim.

After a four-hour standoff, Vancouver Officer Ryan Junker shot Andison.

“Law enforcement knew or should have known that she was unarmed, save for a starter pistol which was incapable of causing significant injury to anyone,” the claim states. “They failed to communicate essential, pertinent information amongst themselves. And they grossly overreacted to an otherwise nonviolent incident, escalating it into a full-fledged SWAT operation involving armored vehicles, robots, hostage negotiators, loudspeakers, and snipers with semi-automatic rifles. It ended with the completely needless use of deadly force against an intoxicated, unarmed woman with possible mental health issues who posed no realistic threat to anyone.”

The city and the county have 60 days to respond to the damage claims. If the grievance is not settled within that time, Andison could file a lawsuit in federal court.

Erin Middlewood: 360-735-4516; erin.middlewood@columbian.com.