Sheriff’s Officer Claims Lawmaker Defamed Him

SPOKANE, Wash. (CN) — In a long-running feud, a Spokane County sheriff’s officer sued a state lawmaker, claiming the state House member defamed him by claiming a weapon used in a triple homicide could be traced back to the deputy.

Sheriff’s Officer Travis Pendell claims that state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane, an attorney, published on a blog and podcast this year that a gun used by a man named Roy Murray in a murder could be traced back to Pendell. He sued Shea on March 1 in Spokane County Superior Court.

Pendell also sued a blogger, John Maclay, claiming Maclay and Shea “coordinated their efforts to spread provably false, provocative and defamatory information and to malign members of the Sheriff’s Office for the sole purpose of satisfying their own personal gratification and benefit.”

Pendell claims that Maclay, using the Facebook name Rattlesnakes Motorcycle Club, published statements on the internet “that Deputy Pendell played a ‘role in the murder and cover-up of Lt. Terry Canfield,’” and was “a party to Canfield’s murder.”

Pendell says in the complaint that Maclay “has a long history of engaging in similar harmful, dishonest and negligent conduct” that cost Maclay his real estate license and got him fined for contempt of court.

It’s not the first spat between Shea and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department. Shea and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich have whaled each other in the press, with Knezovich, a Republican, calling on the party to censure Shea, also a Republican, for his remarks about Pendell.

Maclay sued Sheriff Knezovich, the Sheriff’s Office and the Spokane County Jail in 2014, claiming he was not given medication while he was in jail for four days in February 2011 after being arrested on a civil bench warrant. That case was dismissed later that year.

Shea could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Pendell’s attorney Thomas Jarrard declined comment.

Pendell seeks damages for defamation, invasion of privacy, false light, emotional distress and outrage.

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