Slain Army Ranger's Family Considers Legal Options

By Adam Ross, The County Times

James Emerick DeanThe grandmother of James Emerick Dean said a lawyer has placed the family “on a gag order.” This means the family could be pursuing a lawsuit. James Dean is the Army Ranger who was slain by a bullet from an unnamed Maryland State Trooper's rifle following a 14-hour stand off with state and local police that began late Christmas day in his father’s home in Hollywood.

Mary Dean, of Leonardtown, said she could not comment further on the case without clearance from the lawyer.

St. Mary’s County Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron said he has spoken with the family but could not comment on the content of the conversation.

Meanwhile, State’s Attorney Richard Fritz has begun a full in-vestigation on Dean’s death, which came about when a 46-year-old Maryland State Trooper with 13 years working with the special tactical assault team fired one shot.

Cameron said a Bureau of Criminal Investigations case manager, First Sgt. Jack Mc-Cauley from the Maryland State Police, was assigned to the investigation.

“All aspects of the case are put together with a timeline,” Cameron said. “And collaterally the State’s Attorney’s office determines if the taking of a life was justified or not. All this is done at the same time and it’s a huge undertaking, every detail is included.”

While discussing the investigation, Fritz expressed concerns over a police decision not to allow family members to speak with Dean during the standoff.

According to Cameron, the protocol behind that decision was to establish dialog and a relationship between the negotiator and Dean.

The County’s negotiators, assisted by negotiators from the state, decided it was not in the best interest of Dean to have family members introduced, although they did have recorded messages from family members at the scene, Cameron said.

Police cut off Dean’s cell phone service and disconnected the home’s landline.

Cameron said he would not “second guess the negotiators decision to try and make contact with [Dean].”

Cameron added that it was the Sheriff’s Office negotiators who did the actual talking with Dean. He said because the officers did not know the relationship between the family and Dean, the sheriff’s negotiators could not take a chance on having them talk with Dean.

“Protocols are a recommendation and not a hard and first rule,” Cameron added. “There are some protocols we adhere to for a reason, because history repeats itself.”

Instead, police attempted to shoot oleoresin capsicum, an ingredient used in pepper spray, and a combination of other gasses into the house to try and force Dean out, Cameron said.

After Dean fired several shots including one that hit an occupied police car Cameron said “the situation escalated.” Dean spent a year in Afghanistan and had recently received notice that he was going to be redeployed to Iraq.


Obituary for James Emerick Dean

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