By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Whatchamacolumn: Another chapter in Cashman shootout

We weren’t surprised that Dillan and Sarah Cashman filed a tort claim notice to protect their rights to sue McMinnville Police Department and Yamhill County over the July 2022 exchange of gunfire at their McMinnville Home. After all, lawsuits against police have become common, even when plaintiffs have been convicted of serious crimes.

In June, Dillan Cashman was sentenced to five years in prison for unlawful use of a weapon, after being acquitted of attempted aggravated murder and attempted first-degree murder. A psychologist testified that he suffered from Bipolar 1, with delusions and hallucinations.

It was, however, surprising when two McMinnville police officers filed a $12 million lawsuit against the Cashmans, claiming that the shootout caused them to suffer “anxiety, emotional distress, a sense of helplessness, loss of control, personal violation, emotional upset, anger, humiliation, embarrassment, fear, loss of reputation, and a heightened sense of vulnerability.”

Such lawsuits are rare, but not unknown. They can be filed against people who intentionally seek to harm a police officer through negligence or acts of violence that intend to inflict physical harm or emotional distress.

Initial online reader response to the lawsuit was not sympathetic. One reader suggested the officers step down temporarily, writing, “The last thing the public needs is a peace officer on the street that is not mentally there.” Others, writing anonymously, were disrespectful toward the officers and their suit, but one named reader said such civil actions are needed for police and criminal perpetrators alike to “understand consequences of behavior.”

The lawsuit claims assault and negligence by Dillan Cashman for his “intentional act of shooting a firearm at both plaintiffs”; it claims negligence by Sarah Cashman for telling law enforcement there were no firearms in the house.

Many people will resist taking a clear side in this lawsuit. They may want to encourage serious civil court consequences for criminal violence, but might hesitate before supporting a $12 million claim in this particular case.

Could the lawsuit be a warning to the Cashmans about their threatened legal action against MPD and the county? We see that the officers’ attorney in this case also represents three Newberg School Board members who, in a 2021 case, were accused by a group of teachers and parents of filing a SLAPP — Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation — to deter their advocacy activities.

Public interest no doubt will remain high as this latest chapter of the Cashman shooting case plays out.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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