A Yolo County defendant, Chase Tinsley, was arrested in August of 2013 for possession of 0.06 grams of meth by Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Hoyt. The defendant alleges that Deputy Hoyt conducted an illegal search, and surveillance shows the deputy slamming an apparently compliant subject into the side of a bus stop.
In a motion to suppress evidence on Tuesday, attorney for Mr. Tinsley, Patrick Holstine, argues that the “Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputy in this action, Charles Hoyt, asked Mr. Tinsley for consent to conduct a pat down search for weapons and Mr. Tinsley did not consent. However, in the Incident Report, Deputy Hoyt reports that Mr. Tinsley consented to the pat down.”
It was during that pat down that Deputy Hoyt discovered “the small red plastic container containing methamphetamine as well as packaged Etizolam tablets.”
Mr. Holstine argues, “Any consent Mr. Tinsley appeared to give to the pat down by not resisting it was involuntary and therefore the contents of the small red plastic container must be suppressed. Since the pat down was unlawful, so was the discovery of the small red plastic container and its contents, the packaged Etizolam tablets, and so was Mr. Tinsley’s resulting arrest.”
On August 25, 2013, Cache Creek Casino security contacted Deputy Hoyt to report two male subjects standing at a bus stop in a casino parking lot. Deputy Hoyt arrived at the scene and found Mr. Tinsley and his former boyfriend, Julian Lopez, by the bus stop. Mr. Lopez was subsequently arrested for Penal Code §647(f), regarding a positive blood test result, while Mr. Tinsley sat at the bus stop and cooperated.
The surveillance video shows an apparently agitated and intoxicated Mr. Lopez in an animated discussion.
Mr. Tinsley told the Vanguard that he had spent the previous two hours attempting to calm down Mr. Lopez until they got home.
“I told him repeatedly I feared the cops were coming and they’d be taking him to jail and there wasn’t anything I could do once they got there,” Mr. Tinsley said. He explained that he waited around, “the sheriff may need to know something important, especially after it was made clear by the deputy that Mr. Lopez needed medical attention that he never received.”
As Mr. Holstine explains, “After Mr. Lopez was handcuffed, arrested and placed in the back of the patrol car, Deputy Hoyt approached the bus stop area and asked Mr. Tinsley to stand up and Mr. Tinsley cooperated.”
He continued, “Deputy Hoyt asked for consent to do a pat down for weapons, and Mr. Tinsley refused consent but cooperated under duress when Deputy Hoyt asked him to turn around and put his hands on his head.”
His attorney describes his clothing as fitted rather than loose or baggy. Mr. Tinsley was at least a foot shorter than the deputy. He has no history or record of violence, and no history or record of the use or possession of weapons.
“Mr. Tinsley was also cooperative throughout as noted by Deputy Hoyt in his report. However, despite wearing clothing not amenable to hiding weapons, despite offering unwavering cooperation while Deputy Hoyt handcuffed and arrested his former boyfriend Mr. Lopez, despite his peaceful nature and lack of any history or record of violence, use or possession of weapons, and despite being surrounded by a sheriff’s deputy, two security officers and a physical barrier and with his only companion already arrested and handcuffed in the back of the patrol car, Deputy Hoyt apparently still found probable cause to conduct a pat down for weapons without consent,” Mr. Holstine wrote.
Deputy Hoyt claims that “Mr. Tinsley pulled his hand away and attempted to swing away in a rapid manner, requiring Deputy Hoyt to ‘secure’ Mr. Tinsley against the glass portion of the bus stop wall.”
However, the video evidence shows that Mr. Tinsley made “a slight movement when the deputy was patting him down near his left shoulder or armpit, and then appears to show the deputy (who appears to be approximately a foot taller and perhaps a hundred pounds heavier than Mr. Tinsley) grabbing hold of Mr. Tinsley and after moving him several feet proceeding to body slam the diminutive, cooperative, unarmed defendant into the glass of the bus stop.”
At that point, Deputy Hoyt asked Mr. Tinsley if he had a weapon and Mr. Tinsley replied that he did not.
Mr. Holstine writes, “At that point, Deputy Hoyt removed a small red plastic container about the size of a quarter from Mr. Tinsley’s front left pants pocket, something so small that it even if visible through Mr. Tinsley’s fitted clothing that no reasonable person would mistake it for a weapon.”
Mr. Tinsley told the Vanguard, “I’ve been taught my rights for quite some time.” He said that, while he was caught off guard by the Deputy’s treatment of him, he “still knew enough to clearly tell him no.”
Deputy Hoyt asked why and Mr. Tinsley explained about his Fifth Amendment rights.
Mr. Tinsley stated, “He proceeded with telling me stand up and put my hands on my head as he felt his life was in danger and even if I didn’t want to be searched he had the right to frisk me for weapons.”
The surveillance appears to be from the casino, and the patrol dash cam footage was never turned on with audio.
However, a recording from dispatch informed Deputy Hoyt, “He is on informal, non-searchable probation for a DUI.” It is difficult to hear exactly what Deputy Hoyt said, but it was something along the lines of “10-4 that, he’ll be mine in a second.”
Mr. Tinsley told the Vanguard, “Even when I was handcuffed after my face and body being torpedoed into that bus stop, the deputy led me to believe I was not and would not be going to jail that night, as long as I cooperated.”
Mr. Tinsley’s hearing to suppress the evidence will be heard at 10 am on Tuesday in Department 8. The base crime is possession of meth and he would be eligible for PC §1000 alternative sentencing.
—David M. Greenwald reporting