Las Vegas police will ask its fiscal affairs committee Wednesday to approve a $145,000 settlement for the wife and 8-year-old child of a local plumber who was fatally shot by officers in 1991.
The settlement was worked out last week between attorney Dan Marks, who is representing Chuck Walthers’ family and Walt Cannon, a lawyer for the Metropolitan Police Department.
Walthers, 44, was shot Nov. 11, 1991, after he answered the door to his 4800 E. Cheyenne Ave. mobile home with a .22-caliber handgun in his hand.
Two police officers – Gary Casper and Cindy Rodriquez-Carroll – had responded to the house to answer a domestic disturbance call. The suit claims the officers were negligent because they did not identify themselves after knocking on Walthers’ door. A coroner’s inquest jury later ruled the shooting as justifiable.
In 1993, Walthers’ relatives filed a lawsuit against the department saying the officers violated Walthers’ civil rights.
That claim was rejected in federal court on May 3, and a judge directed the remaining claims to be heard in state court.
"My client wants to protect her child’s future without going to trial," Marks said Tuesday of Debra Giles, mother and guardian of 8-year-old Charles Walthers Jr. "She really wants to get this behind her."
Judy Walthers, Charles Walthers’ estranged wife, also was named as a claimant in the suit and will benefit nominally from the settlement, Marks said.
It has not been decided if the family will take the lump sum payment in total or purchase an annuity that would substantially increase the settlement amount for the boy, who now lives in Lake Tahoe with his mother.
Cannon said the department decided the cost of defending itself against the suit would likely be more costly than an out-of-court settlement.
The case was the second settlement with relatives of a person who had been killed after a confrontation with Las Vegas police. In 1993, the department paid out $1.1 million to the mother, daughter and son of casino floorman Charles Bush to settle a wrongful death suit.
Bush, 39, died July 31, 1990, after three police officers entered his Paradise Road apartment without a warrant and engaged him in a struggle.