The Justice Department has cleared a former Walker River tribal officer of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of a Schurz teenager in 2004.
Department officials notified Walter Valline that they would not
be filing criminal charges against him in connection with the fatal
shooting of Manny Boney Jr., 17, of Schurz.
"After careful consideration, we concluded that the evidence
does not establish a prosecutable violation of the federal criminal
civil rights statute," wrote Albert N. Moskowitz, chief of the
criminal section in Washington, D.C. "Accordingly, we have closed
Valline shot Boney twice on July 15, 2004 in the yard of his
Schurz home. He was hit once in the neck and once in the right side
after his father, Norman Boney Sr., was shot with a Taser stun gun.
The FBI said Boney and his father confronted Valline while the
officer was investigating a report of drunken driving by the elder
Boney. The agency said after the father was shot with the Taser
device, the teen brought out a pit bull and charged Valline.
The family disputes that account, saying Manny's sister and
cousin witnessed the shooting. They have filed a civil lawsuit
Valline, who left the Walker River Tribal Police shortly after
the shooting and now lives in Reno, told the Lahontan Valley News
on Thursday he's glad the ordeal is over. A former Eureka County
Sheriff's deputy, he said he is testing with police agencies in
Washoe County and in Las Vegas.
"I want to get back into law enforcement and do what I love to
do," he said. "Any person who gets into law enforcement realizes
he might have to take a life and no officer wants to do that."
"If you do your training and pay attention, in the moment of
truth, it will pay off. You never think it's going to happen to
you, but fortunately my training paid off and probably saved my
life," he said.
Gail Boney, Manny's mother, has accused Valline of violating her
constitutional rights in the civil suit filed in U.S. District
Court in Reno. She said her son was killed unnecessarily.
"We are citizens of the United States even if we live on the
reservation," Boney told the newspaper.
"They are saying it's OK to kill someone who is not armed and
leave a hole in a family's life. The truth will eventually come out
and there will be a time for justice, whether it's here in this
life or the afterlife. I pray every day for justice for my baby,"
The lawsuit references a letter Gail Boney sent to the Walker
River tribal police chief just six weeks before her son was shot.
In the letter, she alleges Valline used excessive force against her
ex-husband and that she feared he was going to harm her son.
"His behavior was not justified in killing my baby. I just want
him to say he was wrong. They need to say he was wrong when he
pulled that trigger twice," she said.