Cameraman's lawyer said lawsuit to be filed

April 25, 2000

By Michael Patrick Carney

State Capital Bureau


JEFFERSON CITY - Larry Washington, the KTVI-TV cameraman shoved during an encounter with Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan and his bodyguard, will file a lawsuit Wednesday or Thursday, his attorney said.

The announcement came two days after Carnahan expressed regret for the incident in a letter to Washington and Elliott Davis, a reporter involved in the encounter.

"If you feel that any of my statements reflected poorly on you, I am sorry," Carnahan wrote in the letter, dated April 21.

"The letter of regret is obviously a far cry from an apology, and Larry Washington plans to file suit," said C. John Pleban, an attorney based in St. Louis.

Pleban said Washington suffered back injuries during the encounter. In addition, Washington will claim his reputation was damaged by comments attributed to Carnahan.

A spokesman for Carnahan did not respond to a request for comment.

Outside the civil arena, Pleban said he had asked the Public Safety Department to prepare a complaint that Washington could file with the Public Safety Department against Highway Patrol Sgt. Elbert Marshall, the bodyguard shown shoving him on videotape.

A previous review, conducted by Col. Weldon Wilhoit, the Patrol superintendent, was closed without interviewing Washington or reviewing his videotape.

The Patrol has refused to release a copy of Marshall's report, citing the possibility of a complaint about Marshall's conduct.

Pleban said the lawsuit will likely be filed in St. Louis.