Lawsuit alleges law enforcement caused death in 2019; City, county call for dismissal, call it frivolous


WILMINGTON — The family of a man who died in police custody in 2019 is suing 11 agencies and departments in Clinton County and the City of Wilmington, among others, and 37 people associated with those entities — for a total of $27 million – alleging his death was caused by law enforcement and that the incident and investigations were ‘whitewashed’.

Many of those being sued have filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming it is “frivolous” among many other reasons.

Plaintiffs allege Marvin Andrew Napier Jr., 60, died as a result of treatment by law enforcement on November 25, 2019 at approximately 1:47 a.m.

Plaintiffs are suing a combination of entities and individuals – some directly involved in the initial incident, some involved in the subsequent investigation and autopsy, and others whose only apparent direct or indirect involvement in incident or investigation is that they were contacted by the complainant(s) to request further investigation into the incident and investigation.

The plaintiffs in the 167-page lawsuit filed in December in the Clinton County Court of Common Pleas are Faith Mclemore, Mary Napier, Devin Napier and “Marvin Andrew Napier, Jr. (Deceased Involuntary Plaintiff).”

The 11 defendants listed are: Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton County District Attorney’s Office, Clinton County Commissioners, Wilmington City Attorney, Wilmington (sic; “Clinton County”), Coroner’s Office, Wilmington Police Department, Wilmington Fire Department, Wilmington City Mayor’s Office, Montgomery. County Coroner’s Office, Wilmington City Council and The Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center of Powell, Ohio.

The lawsuit also lists the names of 37 individuals who are part of the aforementioned entities, from all city council members to the Clinton County Coroner’s Office investigator, to the Montgomery County pathologist who performed the autopsy. , a victims’ rights lawyer and two victims. ‘ rights defenders.

The City of Wilmington and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office each filed motions to dismiss in December for a variety of reasons, including:

• The city calls it a “frivolous lawsuit” that “does not allege a civil rights violation or connect any violation to the City of Wilmington parties.” These parties include the mayor, every member of the city council and a total of 15 people associated with the city – even though the alleged incident took place out of town – apparently because one or more private individuals took them. contacted stating that the case should be investigated further.

• The county asks the court to “strike out the Complaint and Amended Complaint as false and false filings.”

• The nonprofit Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, on behalf of three employees – a victims’ rights attorney and two victims’ rights advocates – filed its motion that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit “does not allege a only valid claim against these defendants”. It says victims’ rights attorney Morgan Keilholz reviewed 121 pages of public documents – including autopsy reports and the report from the forensic company hired by the plaintiffs – and she “determined that there was insufficient evidence to determine that a violation of victims’ rights had occurred.” .”

Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck recused himself from the case in December. In January, the Ohio Supreme Court assigned the case to Judge J. Patrick Foley III of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.

The lawsuit is being defended by Ohio County Risk Sharing Authority (CORSA) retained firm Isaac Wiles in Columbus and attorney Jeffrey Stankunas.

The News Journal reported in September 2021 that the Ohio Attorney General’s office had agreed to review Napier’s death – at the request of Clinton County Attorney Andrew T. McCoy.

In a letter dated Sept. 27, 2021, to Napier’s daughter regarding the referral of the matter to the Ohio AG office, McCoy said, “I must advise you that you should not derive from this reference that I have found evidence of criminal conduct. I believe Mr. Moyer’s review of the case was fair and impartial. I made this referral so that you, as Mr. Napier’s daughter, and his family can trust that any decision on the matter is being made by a professional and experienced office outside of Clinton County.

“Mr. Moyer” refers to former Clinton County District Attorney Richard Moyer, who passed away in September 2020.

The lawsuit states, “Plaintiffs in this lawsuit seek compensatory damages in the amount of $1,000,000 and punitive damages in the amount of $26,000,000 for damages and death that occurred in the wrongful killing in custody of Marvin ‘Andy’ Napier. The sum was set up by the outcome of a similar death in custody case that occurred in Minnesota, George Floyd (next of kin) vs. Derek Chauvin/City of Minneapolis. … We, the plaintiffs, the next of kin of Marvin ‘Andy Napier’, are now demanding justice and appropriate consequences for all those responsible for the whitewashed wrongful murder of our father and loved one, Marvin ‘Andy’ Napier.

The lawsuit says the lawsuit was filed “after receiving an unbiased report from renowned forensic scientist Erich Speckin of which contradicts [sic] the stories told by the officers who were at the scene that night of 11/25/2019” and that the plaintiffs allege that the defendants committed “a dereliction of duty, failure to follow proper procedure, tampering with police reports, tampering, tampering with evidence, complicity, coercion, excessive force, obstruction of justice, etc.

The family and some members of the community asked for the case to be reopened because they believed Napier’s death was suspicious, that is, caused directly by law enforcement.

In a March 17, 2020 letter to the sheriff’s office, Moyer wrote, “I recently reviewed the aforementioned criminal file. I will close the file in our office based on the Montgomery County Coroner’s report. The report says Mr Napier died [due] to multiple drug intoxication (methamphetamine and amphetamine) with contribution to cardiomegaly.

The News Journal reported on Nov. 15, 2019 — 10 days before his death — that Napier was indicted by a Clinton County grand jury and charged with meth trafficking and meth possession.

Clinton County Sheriff’s Office Col. Brian Prickett told the News Journal last year, “We’ll let our investigative findings as well as the Attorney General’s investigative findings speak for themselves, because we certainly support this review by an outside agency.

According to a report from the Clinton County Coroner’s Office, a sheriff’s deputy reported that Napier, of Reeder Road near Blanchester, was a passenger in a vehicle a deputy was trying to stop for a code violation. of the road in the early morning of November 25. 2019. The report states information from the CCSO that the vehicle stopped in a driveway on State Route 350 and Napier jumped out and began to run, and that “Napier became unresponsive while in custody “.

Deputies reported they attempted CPR, 911 was called, and Wilmington EMS arrived, but Napier could not be revived. Napier was pronounced dead at Clinton Memorial Hospital. Clinton County Coroner Ronald Seaman, MD was notified and ordered an autopsy. Napier’s body was taken to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.


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