WASHINGTON – The attorney for the family of Miriam Carey, the unarmed suburban mother shot dead by federal officers in the shadow of the Capitol, is using every available tool to keep his quest for justice alive.
WND has learned Eric Sanders will file a $200 million conspiracy claim against the Department of Justice, the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Capitol Police.
This, after a wrongful death claim of $150 million was denied.
These federal tort claims are the first legal steps toward filing a pair of lawsuits, totaling $350 million, against the same defendants for the shooting death of Carey on Oct. 3, 2013. WND has covered the case in extensive detail.
Sanders said the conspiracy claim is that authorities are trying to cover up the wrongful death of Carey.
Sanders told WND the new claim is necessary because authorities “are actively blocking” attempts to gain the information needed to file a successful lawsuit, and are “covering up details.”
“They denied the first claim but gave no information why,” said Sanders.
The second claim, he said, will also help to keep statute of limitations from expiring. Technically, he said, there is no time limit in constitutional cases, but in practice, there is generally a 3-to-4 year window.
The new claim seeks:
- $50 million for the estate of Miriam Carey;
- $50 million for her mother, Idella Carey;
- $50 million for Miriam’s infant daughter;
- $50 million for Miriam’s sister, Valarie.
Carey was shot to death by Secret Service agents and Capitol Police. The official investigation into the shooting death of Carey was conducted by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department and reviewed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Washington, D.C., a branch of the U.S. Justice Department.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced on July 10, 2014, that no criminal charges would be filed against any of the officers or agents involved in the shooting.
However, the official report was never released. WND has filed a FOIA, or Freedom of Information Act, request to obtain that report.
Sanders said, without that report, the only thing known for sure about the shooting is the Capitol Police and the Secret Service were involved.
The attorney believes Carey did little more than make a wrong turn into a White House entry gate, then immediately try to leave.
Uniformed Secret Service agents and Capitol Police officers then chased her down and shot her to death.
Sanders said the purpose of this new conspiracy claim is to show the authorities are attempting to conceal the facts of the case.
WND and Judicial Watch filed suit against the Justice Department last week, seeking to compel the release of the official investigation into the shooting and Carey’s death.
“Given the Obama Justice Department’s habit of second-guessing police officers in shooting incidents, it is the height of hypocrisy for Eric Holder’s DOJ to violate FOIA law to keep secret details about the controversial shooting of Miriam Carey, who also happens to be black, by federal law enforcement,” said Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president.
“The illegal secrecy by the Justice Department has forced our journalist client, WND, to go to federal court to get its simple questions answered.”
WND Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah said, “It’s time for the Justice Department to live up to its name and bring justice, openness and closure to the Miriam Carey tragedy.
“It’s time to come clean with the American people to ensure no other innocent women are gunned down in the nation’s capital like this for no justifiable reason. If we can’t trust government to hold law enforcement accountable for inexcusable violent behavior that ends in death, then it’s time to clean house in government.”
WND has covered the Carey case extensively for 18 months with scores of reports, filing FOIA requests and now a lawsuit against the Department of Justice.
The lawsuit documents how WND’s repeated attempts to use a FOIA to obtain the Carey report have been stonewalled by the DOJ.
WND filed the FOIA request on Aug. 4, 2014.
By law, the DOJ had 20 days to fulfill or deny the request.
After a series of inquiries from WND on the status of its FOIA request, the most recent response from the DOJ, received on March 19, 2015, was that the request was waiting to be assigned and processed by a paralegal.
The DOJ said WND was “welcome to check on the status within a few weeks.”
Instead, WND enlisted the help of Judicial Watch to sue the DOJ to comply.
Judicial Watch has become a big-time power player in Washington politics, often obtaining materials from the Obama administration that even Congress has been unable to secure.
It is because of the efforts of Judicial Watch that a series of incriminating emails from Lois Lerner became public. Lerner is the central figure in the IRS scandal, as the former head of the tax-exempt division who targeted conservative groups for extraordinary, and possibly illegal, scrutiny.
Judicial Watch has also uncovered critical information on the Benghazi attack, Obama’s executive orders granting immigration amnesty, the Fast and Furious gun-running scheme, the swap of five top Taliban leaders for Bowe Bergdahl (now being charged with desertion) and is working to obtain former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Judicial Watch lends a powerful voice to WND’s year-and-a half long inquiry into the death of Carey, beginning with eye-witness accounts filed moments after the shooting.
WND has published 70 stories on Carey; half of those were investigative pieces.
Informed of the facts of the case, famed civil libertarian Nat Hentoff told WND, “[T]his is a classic case of police out of control and, therefore, guilty of plain murder.” Other civil libertarians and law enforcement experts have echoed similar sentiments.
Carey was chased and killed by Capitol Police officers and uniformed Secret Service agents after she apparently did little more than mistakenly turn into a White House entry gate, then immediately try to leave.
Mainstream media outlets mistakenly reported Carey had rammed a White House barrier, triggering a chase.
Actually, Carey made an immediate U-turn after apparently driving into the entry post by mistake, when an off-duty Secret Service agent threw a bike rack-type gate in front of her car.
The initial police report filed on the day of the shooting said an officer “attempted to block the vehicle with a bicycle rack, however, the vehicle pushed over the bike rack, knocking the officer to the ground.” The U.S. Attorney’s statement on July 10, 2014, changed “pushed” to “struck.”
Carey wasn’t trying to enter the White House; she was trying to leave when the agent tried to stop her, as shown in the photograph above.
Police claimed she posed a danger because, they said, she then led officers on a high-speed chase reaching speeds of 80 mph, weaving through traffic and ignoring red lights.
However, as the Washington Post reported, if it took Carey the four minutes authorities claimed it took to reach Garfield Circle (near where the chase ended) from the White House, “her average speed was 19.5 mph in a 25-mph zone.”
Miriam’s sister, Valarie Carey, is trying to raise $300,000 to cover legal fees. Donations can be made here.
She told WND, “My family has patiently waited for the authorities to answer the most fundamental questions in connection to my sister Miriam’s death. Questions like, who were the officers involved in the shooting death of Miriam Carey? The blatant disregard and disrespect has prompted me to take certain legal actions to seek the answers the Carey family is rightfully due.
“The legal fees in association with my sister’s death are beginning to take a financial toll, which is why I created the GoFundMe account to assist my family in the pursuit of Justice for Miriam Carey. Any donation would go directly toward legal expenses.”
More than once, the Carey family has told WND it is much more interested in justice for Miriam than lawsuits.
But, Sanders told WND, a lawsuit may be what it takes to get the government to reveal what really happened to Miriam, and how a simple trip from her home in Stamford, Connecticut, to the nation’s capital ended up costing the 34-year-old her life.
“You will never, ever hear them discuss the Miriam Carey case unless the courts allow the case to move forward,” Sanders told WND in January.
Sanders said the suit would be to compensate the family for their “great loss of a daughter, mother, friend and confidant.” But he insists the case is about more than the death of just one woman. He says it represents a threat to the rights of all Americans.
“Somehow, the Bill of Rights did not apply to Miriam. Miriam’s life did not seem to be so important. Thus far, Miriam’s death is being treated as simple collateral damage in the government’s zeal to protect itself from terrorism,” said Sanders.
He said that zeal should not eclipse the importance of human life.
“The framers of the United States Constitution fought for, died for and demanded it. We should expect no different in today’s society, either,” he said.
Follow Garth Kant @DCgarth