Lawsuit filed against Sedgwick County deputy in shooting death of woman following chase

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Attorneys representing the family of an Andover woman filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday morning against the sheriff’s deputy who allegedly shot and killed her.

On Dec. 30, 2019, a Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office deputy, identified in the lawsuit as Kaleb Dailey, allegedly shot and killed 51-year-old Debra Arbuckle. The sheriff’s office said the pursuit started around 3:15 a.m. and lasted about 19 minutes. A tactical vehicle intervention was attempted three times according to the sheriff’s office. The pursuit ended on Webb Road just south of Harry.

“The suspect placed the vehicle in reverse and accelerated toward the deputies,” Sheriff’s Office Col. Brian White said following the shooting in 2019. “Fearing for his life and the other deputies, the deputy fired several rounds striking the suspect.”

Arbuckle was pronounced dead.

Debra Arbuckle

“This was an excessive use of deadly force and a completely unnecessary loss of life,” said attorney Michael Kuckelman with Overland Park law firm Kuckelman Torline Kirkland. “Deputy Dailey could not have feared for his safety, as he had nearly two car widths separating him from the driver. She wasn’t driving in his direction, and she wasn’t driving in the direction of any officers that night. She didn’t have a weapon, and her car was disabled. But Deputy Dailey decided to shoot and kill her anyway.”

The sheriff’s office said Arbuckle had active felony arrest warrants in Sedgwick County at the time of the pursuit. The warrants were issued for failing to appear in court on criminal charges of possession of opiates, possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, criminal possession of a weapon by a felon, and traffic charges. Arbuckle had been arrested over 30 times.

Debra Arbuckle (Courtesy: Kuckelman Torline Kirkland)

“They wanted reporters and the public to think they had chased down a dangerous criminal and shot her dead to protect Wichita,” said Kuckelman. “The truth is that they had absolutely no idea who Debra Arbuckle was when they shot and killed her. She was an addict who only harmed herself – never anyone else – and she certainly didn’t deserve the death penalty for having the wrong license plate on her car.”

“I would like to see the officer held accountable. I would like him fired from the force. Really some accountability to be shown in this situation,” explained Alek Hansen, Arbuckle’s son and the plaintiff in the lawsuit. “My mother wasn’t a violent criminal. She was a woman who was obviously in extreme distress, just like so many Americans who are shot and killed by law enforcement every year.”

The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case.

KSN News has reached out to the sheriff’s office. They responded that they are not commenting on the allegations in the complaint at this time and deputy Dailey is employed. 

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