The Cady home in the aftermath of the standoff

DANBY, N.Y. — A notice of claim filed by the widow a man who died in a standoff in Danby alleges that the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for the death and the damage done to the family’s home.


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Bus To Nature: Route 22

The claim, filed by Melissa Cady, concerns the fatal 61-hour standoff between Cady’s husband, David Cady, and law enforcement, which ended in Cady’s self-inflicted death and severe damage done to the family’s home.

“The actions of the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department caused David M. Cady, Jr., to take his own life,” said Cady and her lawyer said in the notice of claim, which was delivered earlier this month.

See related: Wife in Tompkins barricade wonders if there was better way

The Cady home in the aftermath of the standoff
The Cady home in the aftermath of the standoff

The incident began, the Ithaca Voice reported earlier, when officers attempted to arrest Cady for violating a DWI warrant. Cady refused arrest and, armed with six firearms, barricaded himself within the home.

Negotiators worked unsuccessfully with Cady, and officers feared a violent conclusion to the standoff.

“Negotiations conducted by trained personnel seemed promising, but ultimately failed when Mr. Cady stopped responding to calls early into the first day of the standoff,” said a March “After Action Report,” submitted to lawmakers by the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office.

“Law enforcement followed a progression of non-lethal responses to try to bring the situation to a peaceful end,” the after action report stated. “Of paramount concern throughout the ordeal was the health and safety of all involved, including Mr. Cady and the law enforcement officers on the scene.”

Cady’s widow was not satisfied with the explanation given by the sheriff, citing what she perceived to be a disproportionate nature of the response, given the initial crime, and the physical damage done to the home.

“Estate of David M. Cady Jr.’s,” the claim reads, “damages include pain and suffering of the decedent (Cady), loss of wages, loss of comfort and society and loss of financial contribution of decedent to his family.”

A portion of the claim
A portion of the claim

The Voice reported earlier that over 100 police officers were called to the scene, equipped with full SWAT equipment, which Cady has said was an unreasonable response to a non-violent offender.

“It was a fucking DWI. He wasn’t a murderer. He wasn’t a bank robber,” Melissa Cady said in an earlier interview.

See related: ‘I think the police did what they were supposed to,’ cop expert says of Danby standoff

The suit also calls into question the damage that was done to the property.

“You’re trying to tell me 150 (men) from 19 (A figure that was called into question) different police forces couldn’t go in there and get one man without totally destroying my home?,” she said in January.

Criticism has not come solely from Cady. Jim Dennis, member of the Tompkins County Legislature also has questions for the Sheriff’s Office following the fatal incident.

“The big question the public had at our regular meeting was (…) there seemed to be an overabundance of people around and taking the house apart, and this was a felony DWI,” said Dennis in January.

The 4-page claim, which seeks monetary damages, was delivered the Tompkins County Attorney’s Office by lawyer Michael C Perehinec Jr., and is available to be viewed by the public.

Full Ithaca Voice coverage of Danby stand-off

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Rubin Danberg Biggs is an intern with the Ithaca Voice. He can be emailed at