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Henry County settles lawsuit with family of Clinton officer killed

chris morton clinton
Clinton Police Department
Officer Christopher Ryan Morton died in a shooting in March 2018. His parents settled a lawsuit with the Henry County 911 center and its software providers on Dec. 21, 2021.


A Cass County judge has approved a settlement over the death of a Clinton police officer in 2018.

Judge William Collins signed off Tuesday on the $1.625 million settlement between the parents of Officer Christopher Morton and several government officials and companies they sued in 2019. Darrel and Tara Morton will receive $926,443.17 from the settlement, while lawyers Bernard Schmitt and Melody Roberts of the Schmitt Law Firm in Kansas City will collect $691,647.06 for fees and expenses.

The couple sued Henry County's 911 dispatch center and the software companies Caliber Public Safety and Interact Public Safety Systems, which provide the dispatch center's technology. The two claimed dispatchers mistakenly sent Morton and three other officers to an address on West Grandriver Street in Clinton on March 6, 2018 for a domestic dispute. The call for the dispute, though, came from Windsor, a town 20 miles away. The dispatchers allegedly gave officers the Grandriver address because of a previous call to serve papers to someone there.

The four officers went into the home on Grandriver to investigate the reported fight. There, James Waters ambushed the officers and shot them. Morton would die and another officer would be seriously wounded in the gunfight that would also kill Waters.

Another woman in the home, Tammy Widger, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and possession of a controlled substance for Morton's death.

The settlement said that all defendants in the case maintain that they did nothing wrong.

Morton was a reserve officer for the Clinton Police Department until Sept. 2017. He became a full-time officer following the death of Officer Gary Michael, who was shot and killed during a traffic stop.

Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


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