THIS TIME: AN UPDATE ON THE EVIN YADEGAR CASE:

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).

 TO DATE:

 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.

2 comments

  1. “Long form journalism” should also mean accurate journalism — and yet for a couple of reasons this attempt to describe a horrific — and fatal — shooting of an unarmed woman by a sheriff’s deputy is inaccurate. First off, there was no “glitch” as the writer of the article (a retired attorney) claims; the truth is that immediately after learning that Deputy Wall — the only law enforcement officer who fired a shot at or near Mrs. Yadegar — was claiming that he shot at Mrs. Yadegar out of his concern for the safety of officers who had placed themselves in an area immediately behind the Yadegar vehicle, it was then legally required that the police agency for which those other officers worked (Ripon Police Department) be added to the civil lawsuit. Not instead of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, but in addition to it — since Deputy Wall was now offering as his “excuse” for shooting at Mrs. Yadegar the recently-learned fact that the officers chose to stand in a position which created the very danger Wall claims to have existed. Since the DA’s office has still not released any of the video, photographs or reports concerning the shooting, there has been very little information upon which any of us — reporters, lawyers or the public — have been able to rely.

    Second, it is misleading for the article have stated the following: “That Deputy Wall was forced to shoot because one of the Ripon officers got out of position, was in danger when Mrs. Yadegar moved her car, and this prompted his shooting.” Wrong, and the journalist should have know better than to inaccurately state that I ever contended that Deputy Wall was “forced to shoot”. He was not forced, but rather he chose to shoot — and he either knew or should have known that he was shooting to kill. That he somehow feared for the safety of the Ripon Police officers who placed themselves in a zone known to be contrary to acceptable police procedures is what now improperly supplies Wall with his claimed excuse. If Ripon Police Department were not to have been added to the case, then no doubt the County’s legal team would be contending that those Ripon officers should not have been there and that they contributed to the mishandled situation. Regardless, Deputy Wall was never “forced to shoot” and the writer of the article was wrong to suggest that to the readers. In reality, that suggestion was the only “glitch.”

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  2. It should be noted that, after I submitted my “Comments” which are displayed above, I have learned that the writer of the original article made changes to his piece so as to conform to my comments. For example, his original article contained the exact sentence that I quoted in my comments: “That Deputy Wall was forced to shoot because one of the Ripon officers got out of position, was in danger when Mrs. Yadegar moved her car, and this prompted his shooting.” However, after I submitted my comments regarding the writer’s use of the word “forced” (with which I still strongly disagree) he changed that word to “decided” — which is indeed accurate since Deputy made the conscious and deliberate decision to use deadly force on an unarmed woman sitting in the driver’s seat of her car. Having edited his original writing by using the word “decided”, that sentence is now accurate.

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