Monthly Archives: July 2018

Voters Cast Ballots August 7 in Kansas Primary Election

By REX ZIMMERMAN

Voters in Barber County and all of Kansas will head to the polls on Tuesday, August 7, for the state’s Primary Election. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Voters in Kiowa, Hardtner, Hazelton and surrounding rural areas will cast ballots at the Kiowa Community Building. Voters in Medicine Lodge, Sharon, Sun City and remaining areas of Barber County will vote at Barber County Courthouse Annex in Medicine Lodge.

Commissioner, State Rep Races

A seat on the Barber County Commission is up for election from District 1, which includes most of the City of Medicine Lodge and areas east. Incumbent Steve Garten and Mike Roe, both from Medicine Lodge, are running for the seat as Republicans.

The winner will face no opposition in the November 6 General Election.

Kyle D. Hoffman, Republican from Coldwater, is running unopposed for re-election to the Kansas House of Representatives from the 116th District. He will also face no competition in November from a Democratic candidate.

U.S. Representative

Kansas 4th District Congressman Ron Estes will face competition for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from another Ron Estes on the Republican ticket, while Laura Lombard and James A. Thompson are running on the Democratic ticket.

Many Running for State Offices

The race for Kansas Governor has a host of candidates. On the Republican side are candidates Jim Barnett, Jeff Colyer, Kris Kobach, Patrick Kucera, Tyler Ruzich, Ken Selzer and Joseph Tulera Jr., while Democrats running are Arden Anderson, Jack Bergeson, Carl Brewer, Laura Kelly and Joshua Svaty.

Republicans running for Secretary of State are Randy Duncan, Keith Esau, Craig McCullah, Scott Schwab and Dennis Taylor, and the winner will face Democrat Brian McClendon.

Derek Schmidt is running to keep his office of Attorney General on the Republican ticket and will face Sarah G. Swain, a Democrat, in November.

Republican Jake LaTurner and Democrat Marci Francisco are competing for the office of State Treasurer, while Vicki Schmidt and Clark Shultz are on the Republican ticket for Commissioner of Insurance and will face Democrat Nathaniel McLaughlin in the November General Election.

Township Clerks and Precinct Committeemen and Committeewomen will also be selected for all townships in Barber County. Most do not have candidates that have filed for those seats with the exception of Medicine Lodge Township (Richard Wortman, clerk), Moore Township (Shawn Simpson, clerk), Sun City Township (J. Paul Cox, clerk), Medicine Lodge One (Melvin E. Thompson and Carol A. Thompson, committeeman and committeewoman), and Medicine Lodge Three (Steve Garten and Amy Sill, committeeman and committeewoman.

Term Limits Will Remain

Kiowa voters voted 157-38 to keep term limits for the elected offices of Mayor and City Council in a special election on Tuesday.

The Kiowa City Council passed an ordinance earlier this year to eliminate term limits, but a public petition forced the ordinance to a vote in which voters rejected the ordinance. The city will now revert back to the previous ordinance that has been in effect for several years limiting elected officials to a maximum of two consecutive terms in office.

Sheriff Subject of Lawsuit Claiming Wrongful Death

MEDICINE LODGE- Barber County Sheriff Lonnie Small was the subject of a Petition for Damages lawsuit filed last week in Barber County District Court. The suit was filed by attorneys for Kristina Myers, on behalf of herself and three minor children.

The charges stem from an incident on October 6, 2017 when the sheriff and deputies responded to a call in Sun City in which witnesses state that Steven P. Myers had threatened patrons at Buster’s bar with a shotgun. Officers later found Myers, who the suit claims had returned home, put away his shotgun, and had taken his dog for a walk.

After being ordered out of a shed, the lawsuit states that Myers was standing in the middle of the back yard with his arms at his side, unarmed, and receiving conflicting orders from deputies. A few seconds later, Undersheriff Virgil “Dusty” Brewer shot Myers in the chest with a “less-lethal” bean bag round from a 12 gauge shotgun from an estimated 6-8 feet away, resulting in Myers’ death. A large portion of the incident was recorded on officer body cameras and had earlier been released to the courts and the public.

Under the “wrongful death” portion of the lawsuit, the filing states that:

Count I – Wrongful Death (K.S.A. § 60-1901 et seq.)

64. Without a reporting party, Defendant Sheriff Small and his employees did not have probable cause to arrest Steven Myers.

65. Even if the arrest of Steven Myers had been justified, Defendant Sheriff Small and his employees owed Steven Myers a duty to use only reasonable force, if any force was necessary at all, to effect his arrest.

66. Undersheriff Brewer breached that duty when, while acting within the scope of his employment, he shot and killed Steven Myers under circumstances where no reasonable officer would have done so.

67. Defendant Sheriff Small breached the duty owed to Steven Myers by failing to use appropriate force to affect his arrest, namely, deploying the K-9 if necessary rather than his Undersheriff armed with a 12-gauge shotgun.

68. Defendant Sheriff Small breached the duty owed to Steven Myers by failing to adequately train and supervise Defendant Undersheriff Brewer in the appropriate use of beanbag shotgun rounds, which failure proximately led to Steven Myers’s death.

69. Defendant Small knew or should have known that Undersheriff Brewer was not adequately familiar with the Policies and Procedures of the Barber County Sheriff’s Office, and that Undersheriff Brewer was not adequately trained or certified in the appropriate usage of beanbag shotgun rounds.

70. Defendant Small knew or should have known that, during the subject call on October 6, 2017, Undersheriff Brewer armed himself with a weapon and ammunition not procured by or owned by the Barber County Sheriff’s Office and failed to wear and activate his body camera, in violation of the Barber County Sheriff’s Office Policies and Procedures.

71. Defendant Small’s actions and omissions herein were done while acting within the scope of his employment.

72. Defendant Sheriff Small, by his actions and omissions alleged herein, proximately caused the death of Steven P. Myers.

73. Defendant’s conduct was with reckless or callous indifference to the consequences.

The lawsuit states the plaintiffs have suffered damages due to the death of their husband and father for, but not limited to:

a. Mental anguish, suffering, or bereavement;

b. loss of society, companionship, comfort, or protection;

c. loss of marital care, attention, advice, or counsel;

d. loss of parental care, training, guidance, or education; and

e. reasonable funeral expenses for the deceased.

Plaintiffs pray for relief against Defendant Lonnie Small as follows:

1. For general and non-economic damages in a sum to be determined at trial;

2. For special damages, including but not limited to lost income and Wentling damages, in a sum to be determined at trial;

3. For reasonable funeral and burial expenses;

4. For punitive and exemplary damages in amounts to be determined at trial;

5. For costs and interest as allowed by law;

6. And for such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

Plaintiffs hereby demand trial by jury on all claims so triable.

Undersheriff Brewer is currently the defendant in a lawsuit in federal court over the shooting death of Steven Myers, but Sheriff Small was released from that lawsuit with the judge allowing that the sheriff could face legal action in state court. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is also currently investigating whether a criminal act took place regarding Myers’ death.