By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A settlement has been reached in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the mother of a Laramie man shot to death in 2018 by an Albany County Sheriff’s deputy.
Court documents showed that the federal court was notified on May 2 that a settlement was reached between in the lawsuit filed by Debra Hinkel, the mother of Robert “Robbie” Ramirez, who was shot and killed by Deputy Derek Colling, who has since resigned as a deputy, in November 2018.
No details were given about the settlement, but in her complaint against Colling, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office and Albany County Commissioners, Hinkel was seeking up to $20 million for her son’s death, as she called it a “miscarriage of justice.”
Albany County for Proper Policing, a nonprofit organization headed by state Rep. Karlee Provenza, R-Laramie, praised the news of the settlement on Tuesday.
“We don’t know the terms of the settlement, but we know that it is an important step on the way to justice for Robbie,” the organization wrote on Facebook. “Justice for Robbie is transparency and accountability of law enforcement. Justice for Robbie is mental health professionals responding to calls involving people in crisis. Justice for Robbie is a federal indictment and investigation of Derek Colling and the good ol’ boys who protected him by destroying evidence.”
Colling previously argued that he was exempt from the wrongful death lawsuit due to “qualified immunity,” meaning that government officials cannot be sued for performing their jobs.
Colling shot Ramirez three times after a traffic stop in Laramie in November of 2018. Ramirez was shot after being tasered by Colling, who argued that Ramirez attacked him.
Colling was ultimately cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, but resigned from his position at the sheriff’s department in 2021 after almost nine years with the department. He is a Laramie native and his father is a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper.
Colling had previously shot and killed a 15-year-old boy while working as a police officer in Las Vegas, a shooting that led to a lengthy lawsuit. He was later fired from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for an alleged assault of a videographer trying to film police work.