Patrick Stiley Article:
Judge Dismisses Suit Against Spokane Police
Spokesman Review May 2, 2001
by Kevin Blocker
Gregory Rogers spent $12,000 in medical bills and attorneys fees in a
four-year attempt to prove his claim that Spokane police officers beat him
without provocation outside a local nightclub.
But his case disintegrated Tuesday when Superior Court Judge James Murphy
dismissed the lawsuit after Rogers' expert witness failed to show up in
"He just killed everything," said Rogers' attorney, Uche Umuolo. "We just
found out this morning he wouldn't be coming."
Rogers, 42, was seeking unspecified damages to pay for medical bills and what
he termed the "assault and battery" carried out by police in February 1997 at
the former Swackhammer's nightclub on North Division.
Interim City Attorney Mike Connelly said Rogers' accusations were without
Rogers claimed he was out of the dance club when a fight involving one of his
friends, Raymond Marks, began. Police arrived, and Rogers was identified as a
witness by a Swackhammer's employee.
Police detained Rogers and asked for his identification. A security video
showed Rogers gave his identification to officer Ron Tilley, then opened the
door to the club.
Video footage showed Tilley grabbed Rogers' arm, who then spun to push Tilley
away. Several officers swarmed Rogers, who was punched as he was being
handcuffed, the video shows.
According to court records, Rogers' suit pinpointed the conduct of Tilley and
former Spokane police officer Don Nelson, who has since been terminated from the
department for undisclosed reasons.
Rogers' first attorney, Pat Stiley, obtained a copy of the videotape and
released it to the media two weeks after the incident.
Stiley is now practicing law from his condo in Belize, about 90 miles south
of Cozumel, Mexico.
Stiley turned the case over to law partner Frank Cikutovich when Stiley moved
to Belize in 1999.
Rogers then decided to take his case to other attorneys. However, many told
him they didn't think he had a strong enough case against the police, he
Attorneys were concerned that Rogers' pushing Tilley would not play well with
the jury, Rogers said.
Striking an officer carries a charge of third-degree assault. Rogers was
booked into jail on that charge and posted $2,500 bond for his release.
Rogers said he suffered internal injuries, internal bleeding and a
But he needed the testimony of Jon Tippin, a former Spokane doctor now
practicing in Iowa, to substantiate his claim.
Umuolo said Tippin told him he forgot about a lecture series he had
previously committed to.
"This whole thing has been a comedy of errors," Umuolo said.
Connelly asked Murphy to dismiss the case after Umuolo told the court he
would not have an expert witness to testify.
"We're pleased with the ruling of the court," Connelly said.
Kacia McClain, Rogers' fiancee, wept outside the courthouse.
"We're left with a lot of bills and pain for the rest of our lives," McClain
Rogers said he plans no further action against the city. He said he pursued
the lawsuit because of something Stiley said four years ago.
"I remember Pat saying, `By the time this is over, you're going to be sitting
in a room full of paperwork and $50,000,'" Rogers said. "I thought, `Man, that's
a lot of money.'"
Copyright 2001 Cowles Publishing Company
Stiley and Cikutovich, PLLC.
1408 W. Broadway
Spokane, Wa. ,
Office Phone: (509) 323-9000