A Reno attorney representing a man whose son was shot and killed by a Walker River Tribal police officer two weeks ago claims his client's rights have been violated.
Mitchell Wright is asking that charges filed against Norman Boney Sr. be dismissed. Boney has been in the Lyon County Jail on a no-bail hold since July 15 when his son, Norman Boney Jr., 17, was shot twice by tribal officer Walter Valline outside the family's Schurz home.
The senior Boney is accused of intoxication, interfering with law enforcement and failure to obey a previous court order prohibiting him from drinking alcohol. None of the offenses are felonies.
Wright contends there is no legal reason Boney should be held without bail. Boney was arraigned July 23 in Walker River Tribal Court and pleaded not guilty, the attorney said. Wright says he found several irregularities in paperwork linked to the case, which was not provided to him until the day of the arraignment. Tribal prosecutor Roces Joaquin also did not receive paperwork in advance, Wright said.
"We couldn't get a single scrap of paper from them until the morning of the arraignment," he said. "Also, the irregularities were of deep concern."
Among the alleged discrepancies, Wright said a probable-cause sheet was blank at the bottom where a judge normally indicates there is adequate evidence to arrest a defendant. He said the police report shows the arresting officer as Valline, but Police Chief Dean Pennock signed off as the arresting officer rather than in an administrative function.
"Enough is enough. If you start ignoring the rights of the individual, you ignore the rights of the community," Wright said.
The FBI is handling the investigation into the shooting of Boney Jr. The agency alleges Boney and his son confronted Valline. An FBI agent said Boney's truck was outside his Lake Pasture Road home with the doors open. Valline used his stun gun on a combative Boney Sr., the FBI said, and shot the teen twice when he threatened to release a pit bull on the officer. The victim was shot once in the neck and once in the right side. He died at the scene.
In another development, the family's attorney said the dog, named Tank, was found dead Tuesday in his yard.
"The dog was killed, there's no doubt about it," Wright alleged. "How he died is under investigation."
He met with the FBI and Gail Boney, the dead boy's mother, Wednesday afternoon. Gail Boney had not previously been questioned by authorities. The FBI claims Mrs. Boney called police the night of the shooting to report her husband was driving drunk and "acting crazy." She denies that report, saying she simply asked that her truck not be impounded if her husband was stopped for drinking and driving.
Wright also said he will decide this week whether to file a wrongful-death lawsuit in the case.
"I'm evaluating the case. If there's an indication of any wrongful conduct on the part of the officer I'll be filing a wrongful death suit," he said.
Gail Boney had complained to the Walker River Tribal Police chief and the tribal council about Valline six weeks before her son was shot. In her letter, Mrs. Boney asks that Valline's prior contacts with her family be investigated. She wrote that she was concerned for the safety of her family, stating "I believe he may harm my son or other members of my family."