Evin Olsen Yadegar was having a bi-polar episode; caused a disturbance at a Salida motel, was chased into Ripon where she was shot to death.
Questions were raised by Mrs. Yadegar’s husband, Hanibal, and others with regard to the necessity of the pursuit as well as the reason why only one of the nine law enforcement officers opened fire.
In the days following the February 26, 2017 episode, at a press conference, Sheriff Adam Christenson and others said there would be at least three “independent” investigations. One would be an internal one by the Sheriff’s office; one by the Ripon PD since the death occurred in its jurisdiction and one by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office (possibly with the help of the California Attorney General).
The Ripon PD and the DA have refused to make public any reports or the dash and body camera videos with which the Ripon officers were equipped.
Inquiries about any discipline imposed on Justin Wall have resulted in a refusal to say anything on the grounds that it would be a “personnel issue.” Deputy County Counsel Robert Taro refused to say even whether or not Deputy Wall was still a deputy. So, what happened to the Deputy?
We may be able to infer, from information not obtained directly from the Sheriff’s Office, that if any discipline was imposed on Deputy Wall it did not result in any financial loss. Such a loss would be expected if any significant suspension resulted.
Records now available for Deputy Walls earnings for the calendar year 2017 show no dip in earnings. For that year, he received $69,215.34 in regular pay and $36,892.01 in overtime pay, totaling $106,107.35. In 2016, his pay totaled $105, 013.25 and in 2015, $82,693.91
It is certainly possible he received some form of discipline such as a reprimand. Conceivably, an argument detailed in the next section might justify a lighter discipline than might otherwise be expected given the death of an unarmed middle-aged woman who committed no crime other than failing to stop her car.
A LITIGATION GLITCH: Before you can file a lawsuit against a public entity or employee you must first file a claim. This form must be sent to the potential defendants within six months of the incident.
If a claim has not been filed, a lawsuit may still be pursued if, within a year, the court grants leave based for certain specified reasons, including that the attorney’s failure to file was due to, among other reasons, mistake or excusable neglect.
Stewart Tabak, a Stockton attorney, filed a claim for Hanibal Yadegar and Antanous, the couple’s then 9-year old son, against the County of Stanislaus and Deputy Wall. However, no claim was filed against the City of Ripon or their officers within the six months following the shooting.
Mr. Tabak was quoted in the Bee as calling the shooting death an “execution” by Deputy Wall.
AN ALTERNATIVE THEORY:
In asking to be allowed to now sue Ripon, and its officers, Mr. Tabak offers an alternative to the “execution” theory: That Deputy Wall decided to shoot because one of the Ripon officers got out of position and, he claims, was in danger when Mrs. Yadegar moved her car.
Standard training calls for officers to avoid being in front of or behind a stopped car after a pursuit. A car cannot move sideways from a stop, so one will stay out of the danger zone should the car move forward or backward.
If a Ripon officer was in a dangerous position, and Deputy Wall felt he need to shoot to protect that officer, at least some of any fault could lie with the Ripon department.
Mr. Tabak argues that he had not be able to get any reliable information about the event during the six-month claim period and, therefore should be excused from the claim requirement. He says the DA refused requests for reports or other reliable information regarding the actions at the scene.
The City of Ripon is expected to oppose Mr. Tabak’s request. The hearing is set for June 21.
(Note: the claim problem applies only to Hanibal’s claim. A minor, like Antanous, is entitled to relief from the claim statute if relief is sought within a year, which it was).
SOURCES: Deputy Wall’s earnings are taken from Transparent California. Other information came from the San Joaquin County Court’s file including Mr. Tabak’s petition for relief from the claim requirement and supporting documents.