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West Sacramento Man Sues Police For Wrongful Shooting

police-shooting.jpgA West Sacramento attorney and his wife are suing the West Sacramento Police Department in the United States District Court in Sacramento for excessive use of force, unreasonable search and seizure, and a failure of municipality to train officers.

Kevin Hughey was shot by former West Sacramento Police Officer Christopher Wright on the evening of July 9, 2012, which left Mr. Hughey shot in the abdomen and in need of emergency surgery.

On the evening of July 9, 2012, a 911 call was placed regarding an alleged domestic disturbance.  Following the entry and the shooting by Officer Wright and Sgt. Gerrit Markus, Mr. Hughey was arrested, charged with injuring his wife, resisting an officer, attempting to remove a firearm from said officer, child abuse, and damage to power/telephone lines.

Judge David Rosenberg held Mr. Hughey to answer for those charges on March 11, 2013.  On December 3, 2013, Mr. Hughey pled no contest to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.  The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the other charges.

During discovery in the criminal case, Mr, Hughey, represented by law partner Christopher Moenig and associate Jarred Lieber in the civil suit, obtained a video recording of the July 9 incident.

On Friday, the Vanguard was allowed to view this video recording.  According to the complaint, “a security guard for the local homeowners association knocked on the front door of the Hughey household on the 800 block of Platinum Lane in West Sacramento” immediately following the 911 call.

The complaint notes, “Mr. Hughey opened the door to see the neighborhood security guard, who informed Mr. Hughey that the Hugheys’ garage door was open in the back alley and the security guard wanted to provide a courtesy notice in the event the Hugheys were unaware the door was open.  Mr. Hughey politely informed the security officer that all was well and closed the front door.  The security guard proceeded around the corner to the back alleyway.”

Visible to the recording, the West Sacramento police arrived in the alleyway in patrol cars.  “The security guard attempted to speak with them and informed Officer Markus that he had just spoken to the residents only moments before about the garage door being open.  The security guard did not report anything unusual such as violence or calls for help,” the complaint states.

Sgt. Markus can be heard stating that “they were therefore a different matter.”

The officers can be seen on the video walking past a fence where apparently they “had an unobstructed view inside the Hughey home through two glass sliding doors that lacked any blinds or curtains and proceeded to look into the open garage.”

At this point the video no longer captures Officer Wright; however, as Sgt. Markus runs toward the door, the audio captured what took place.

Mr. Moenig provided the Vanguard with a written transcript of the recording.  While the recording had distortions and was difficult to hear, using noise reducing headphones, the Vanguard able to verify the accuracy of the transcript.

audio-log-hughey

Mr. Hughey would file a formal complaint against the West Sacramento Police Department.  Two months after his preliminary hearing, Lt. David Delaini of the West Sacramento Police Department, working at the time in the professional standards  unit, would write Mr. Moenig on May 10, 2013.

“The letter is being sent to inform you that a thorough investigation into the complaint you filed on behalf of your client Mr. Hughey has been completed by Lieutenant Delaini,” the letter stated.  “The finding for the allegation of excessive force has been SUSTAINED.”

He added, “I am not at liberty to discuss any details of the investigations with anyone due to laws related to the confidentiality of peace officer personnel records.”

The Vanguard also received a copy of a letter from former Police Chief Dan Drummond to District Attorney Jeff Reisig, dated May 23, 2013.

Chief Drummond wrote, “On the evening of July 9, 2012 at approximately 2241 hours Officer Christopher Wright and Officer Gerrit Markus responded to a report domestic altercation at 804 Platinum Lane in which one of the parties was reported to have been attacked.”

“During the course of this incident one of the residents, Kevin Hughey, suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen when Officer Wright’s handgun discharged. This incident was documented and forwarded to your office  for review under West Sacramento Police Department case number WSP-12-03216,” the letter continued.

Mr. Drummond concluded, “The West Sacramento Police Department would like to request that your office specifically review the actions of Officer Christopher Wright in order to determine if his conduct of that evening was criminal in nature.”

According to Mr. Moenig, that investigation is still ongoing.  The Vanguard has confirmed that Officer Wright, who is also named a lawsuit against Former West Sacramento Police Officer Sergio Alvarez, has been terminated from his position.

In their complaint, they note he was eventually “released from probation,” which they write “is a veiled, administrative response for ‘fired,’ on April 17, 2013.”  The Vanguard has received documents from the city of West Sacramento that confirm this.

The complaint alleges, “At the time WSPD arrived at the Hughey residence and Officer Wright approaching the front the door, Mr. Hughey and Mrs. Hughey were discussing personal relationship issues within their home.  Mrs. Hughey was sitting on the loveseat in the living room while Mr. Hughey was standing across the room.”

“Without warning there was a very loud bang on the door, which sounded like someone had kicked the door,” the complaint continues.

After about three to four kicks, Mrs. Hughey heard a man’s voice yell, “Open the door, Police!”  Mrs. Hughey was trying to get a hold of the deadbolt, but because of the forceful kicks and jarring of the door, Mrs. Hughey was unable to get a good grasp, so she called out, “I’m unlocking the door, hold on! I’m unlocking the door!”

“Standing several feet inside the residence entryway, the door flung open and Mr. Hughey immediately saw a police officer with handgun drawn and pointed and instantly began to raise his hands in a common surrender position.  At the same instant, Wright’s service weapon fires a single shot,” the complaint alleges.

“Very confused and uncertain what just happened, Mr. Hughey immediately felt excruciating pain in his abdomen and spine.  He grabbed at his abdomen, looked down and saw blood gushing from his left side.  Shocked and terrified, Mr. Hughey realized Officer Wright had just shot him,” it continues.

Officer Wright, yelled, “Get on the ground!  Get the fuck down!”    Ms. Hughey was nine months pregnant at the time and struggled to get on the floor.

The plaintiffs allege that at this point Sgt. Markus inquired as to why a shot had been fired.  According to the complaint, “Officer Wright immediately lied and stated that Mr. Hughey reached for his gun in an effort to cover up Wright’s wrongful act.”

 However, they argue, “Officer Wright’s immediate statement failed to explain why he proceeded to kick the door in, why his gun was out of its holster and why he would pull the trigger instantly and near-fatally shooting Mr. Hughey.”

According to their recording, Officer Wright continued to make false statements as police officers attended to Mr. Hughey’s wounds.  The bullet went through Mr. Hughey, ricocheted off his pelvis and continued up to Mr. Hughey’s spine fracturing vertebrae (with the bullet ultimately resting and lodging onto Mr. Hughey’s spine); officers pinned Mr. Hughey to the floor and handcuffed him before he was rushed for emergency, life-saving surgery.

The plaintiffs note, “After recovering consciousness from surgery, doctors informed Mr. Hughey that he was incredibly fortunate that the bullet did not pierce any vital organs and he would not require lifelong treatment for intestinal damage.  Doctors also informed Mr. Hughey that the bullet was resting too closely to his spinal cord and they were therefore unable to remove the bullet from his spine.  Doctors informed Mr. Hughey that had the bullet traveled less than an inch farther he would be paralyzed.”

The plaintiffs alleged, “Because of Wright’s false and fabricated statements and Markus’ failure to discredit Wright after witnessing Wright’s wrongful shooting and falsified recounting of events, amounting to collusion and conspiracy, Mr. Hughey was intentionally and excessively roughed-up and wrongfully treated prior to being rushed to the hospital.”

Kenneth Fellows was appointed as lead detective.  The plaintiffs allege at this point, “Officer Wright fabricated a more detailed statement that alleged he somehow feared for the life and safety of Mrs. Hughey.  He falsely claimed seeing Mrs. Hughey lying motionless on the ground and thought her to be dead.  Officer Wright then invented an attack by Mr. Hughey upon himself and an elaborate struggle for his holstered firearm outside of the home.”

According to his personnel record obtained by the plaintiffs, Officer Wright was only six months into his 18-month probationary period.

The plaintiffs argue that West Sacramento Police were negligent into their investigation into Officer Wright’s conduct and they note a number of contradictions between Officer Wright’s account and the evidence.

Sgt. Markus observed a muzzle flash with no altercation.  Four neighbors confirmed there was no struggle but that Wright simply shot Mr. Hughey immediately on sight.  There was a broken lock on the door which would confirm forced entry “even though Wright stated he did not force entry into the Hughey residence.”

There were no weapons found on Mr. Hughey or at the scene.  There were no fingerprints on Officer Wright’s firearm despite his claims that “Mr. Hughey actually had both his hands on Wright’s weapon.”

There was no gunpowder residue on Mr. Hughey despite Officer Wright’s claim that Mr. Hughey was shot at close range during a struggle.  There was no trace of Officer Wright’s DNA found on Mr. Hughey ”even though Wright stated there was some kind of elaborate struggle between the two and Wright alleged that Mr. Hughey caused the long scratch marks on the inside of both of his forearms – the scratch wounds were actually self-inflicted by Wright after the shooting in an effort to falsely corroborate his fabricated statement.”

“Blood spatter located over six feet within the home and no trace of blood elsewhere” they plaintiffs argue “even though Wright stated there was some kind of elaborate struggle outside the home and that he shot Mr. Hughey outside the home.”

Moreover, we have the audio file that confirms the chain of events is not as Officer Wright claimed.

The plaintiffs argue, “Wright discharged his firearm while mid-sentence.  The time elapsed was less than two seconds after demanding the door be opened.  It’s clear and far beyond dispute that Wright shot Mr. Hughey instantly upon Wright’s kicking in the Hugheys’ front door and there was no struggle whatsoever or other act of any kind by Mr. Hughey prior to Wright wrongfully shooting Mr. Hughey.”

The department permitted Officer Wright’s return to active duty within days of the wrongful shooting.   The plaintiffs claim, “This was a direct violation of WSPD policy 1020.4 that provides administrative leave ‘pending completion of the investigation or the filing of administrative charges.’”

Officer Wright would remain on active duty during the preliminary hearing, however, he “failed to appear at Mr. Hughey’s preliminary hearing and avoided any issue with further perjuring himself. “

The plaintiffs allege that Deputy District Attorney Deanna Hayes “was aware of the issue with Wright and informed Mr. Hughey’s counsel that she simply was not going to put Wright on the witness stand, but instead she would ask Fellows to read Wright’s false statements to the court.”

Detective Fellows took the stand and “repeated verbatim Officer Wright’s fabricated version of events while knowing in good conscious the statements were actually false.”

The Vanguard a few weeks ago covered a lawsuit filed against Officer Alvarez.  Officer Alvarez first assaulted a woman in October 2011 and the final incident occurred before September 24, 2012.

 One of the Alvarez victims, Ms. Wilson, specifically attempted to complain to WSPD authorities.  As Ms. Wilson’s civil suit alleges, “While walking on West Capitol Boulevard she came into contact with two West Sacramento police officers, Officers Jason Mahaffey and Chris Wright, who were in separate, marked patrol cars. Ms. Wilson alleges that neither of these officers took any steps to address her complaint until after Officer Alvarez was arrested.”

Ms. Wilson’s two reports were ignored and she believes “Officer Alvarez’s conduct was of such a persistent and ongoing nature that it must already be known of and condoned by Alvarez’s supervisors and the department.”

While the department ultimately sustained a finding against Officer Wright for excessive force, the plaintiffs allege that there was no effort by the department to investigate allegations of fabrication of evidence by Officer Wright.

The family has also filed a second suit that alleges that on November 9, 2013, Mr. Hughey suffered serious injuries from a fall down the stairs at his residence.  Mr. Hughey, badly injured, would then be ordered outside of his home and surrounded by eight officers with service weapons drawn.

The Vanguard will have a follow-up article on the second incident.

The Vanguard made numerous efforts to speak with officials from the West Sacramento Police Department to get their side of the story; however, at this point the Vanguard has not received an official response or statement.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

ATTACHMENTS:

Complaint Hughey v. WSPD

5-10-13 LTR Delaini to Moenig – SUSTAINED Excessive Force

5-23-2013 Ltr WSPD to Yolo DA to Investigate Wright

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About David Greenwald

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

43 comments

  1. David

    Do you believe that you would get an official response given that there are more than just the official personnel issues involving Officer Wright’s actions at play here ?

  2. Davis Progressive

    this is a troubling case… i hope people on this site give it the attention it deserves

    so we have a police officer who enters a resident with his gun drawn? what is the justification for that?

    he immediately claims that the victim reached for his gun, but the audio recording and the neighbors appear to refute that possibility

    so he lied and attempted to fabricate the story.

    despite being in an officer involved shooting, he continued to work on active duty. the wspd finally investigate the matter, find for excessive force, and terminate him, forward the matter to the da’s office where it goes nowhere

    what interests me here is what evidence there was that the woman here was injured?

  3. I would like to read a transcript of the 9-1-1 call that summoned police to this address. The shooting victim evidently did not deny the domestic violence and on that count, was convicted. Domestic Violence calls are widely regarded by law enforcement as the most dangerous for responding officers. The wife acknowledges not immediately opening the door. The officer involved, six months into his probationary period, was a rookie cop. There has been a subsequent incident involving the man who was shot? Very interested to read part 2.

    • “Domestic Violence calls are widely regarded by law enforcement as the most dangerous for responding officers.”
      Not really, Prisoner transport and robbery in progress. You can look it up.

      “The wife acknowledges not immediately opening the door. ”

      This sort of explains that, to me:

      “Mrs. Hughey was trying to get a hold of the deadbolt, but because of the forceful kicks and jarring of the door, Mrs. Hughey was unable to get a good grasp, so she called out, ‘I’m unlocking the door, hold on! I’m unlocking the door!’”

      “The officer involved, six months into his probationary period, was a rookie cop. ”

      Relevance? Implications?

      Biddlin ;>)/

    • The officer may have been new to the West Sac. Police department but was no rookie. He had been an officer for more than five years with another department and had received many commendations. He wanted to make the change to The City of West Sac. to serve in his home town. He also served our county in the military. I too would like to hear the initial call to 911 that was placed by Mrs. Hughey. My understanding is it was not the first and I’m sure wont be the last.

      • How do we know who placed the 911 call? Such information would not be available from the police, as complainants are generally given anonymity. I have read all of the reports available and cannot find a source, other than you, for this claim. Were you listening on a scanner when the call was dispatched?
        Biddlin ;>)/

  4. Lets not forget this is just one side of the story. Written by the person who basically pleaded guilty to domestic abuse (while his wife was 9 months pregnant) and another child was in the home. And has additional non-related law suites pending…..Please. There is more here than meets the eye. All the facts will come out eventually.

  5. I wanted to address points raised by Mr. Green and Ms. McNeil

    I agree that this is in a way one side of the story, but I think there are some established facts that validate part of it.

    First, we have the sustained complaint of excessive force by Officer Wright and the subsequent forwarding of the case to the DA’s office.

    Second, we know that shortly thereafter West Sacramento ended Officer Wright’s employment.

    It’s obviously easier to lay off a probationary employee, but my experience is that departments do not light sustain complaints – it makes them liable for lawsuits like this one.

    Third, I saw the video and heard the audio. You can hear what happened and there is no evidence of a struggle and Officer Wright’s account appears to be false.

    Fourth, to me this about the conduct of police officers under the color of authority, but the criminal matter was resolved. Mr. Hughey faced seven felonies and took a deal for a single misdemeanor.

    I agree, there is more than meets the eye here. I still have a lot of questions as to why that gun was in officer’s hands to begin with, but I think the facts that we know look very bad for officer Wright.

    Just my opinion based on the evidence I have seen.

    • Officer safety training tactics regarding when to pull your weapon can differ from agency to agency. I’ll give a brief history on the distinction and evolution. Historically, the adage was, “Don’t pull your gun unless you legally can use it. Otherwise, you’ve just become a one-armed cop.” Holding your worthless gun on a misdemeanor or non-violent felony was not only forbidden, but scorned and mocked by fellow officers should it ever happen. A “cold” burglary scene at night is a good example. Bad guys usually run away when a burglar alarm goes off. Responding officers would always enter holding a flashlight, not a gun.

      When auto theft essentially became a glorified misdemeanor, officers in many agencies ceased pulling their weapon when approaching a vehicle stop of a stolen car. Auto thieves are rarely violent to the point of mortal danger to a police officer, and this is a property crime. The car thief is often a juvenile. (Note: the counterpoint often raised is that the auto thief “may” be a serial pedophile and has kidnapped child in the trunk.)

      Of particular note, an officer cannot justify arming him/herself because of a perceived fearful situation, there has to be tangible circumstances present and verifiable, not just naked fear. Law enforcement is, by definition, often fraught with great personal risk and an officer simply can’t go everywhere holding a gun.

      Beginning 4 decades ago, firearms training philosophy changed, prompted by a spike in law enforcement fatalities nationwide. Officers in many departments were being trained to arm themselves when entering the scene of a recent burglary. Even prowler calls, a misdemeanor trespassing violation in appearance, found officers entering back yards, gun in hand. Firearms policy vary to this day and is an emotion charged issue between advocates of maximizing officer safety and conflicting concerns about public image, liability, and accidental discharges of firearms.

      Point of clarification: Being terminated from employment while on probationary status is not the same as being laid off. Layoffs are conditional releases from employment, with the ability to re-hire a person without entry processing. Release while on probationary status is the same as termination for cause, except that the employee has no administrative appeal rights afforded permanent employees.

  6. ” My understanding is it was not the first and I’m sure wont be the last.”

    ESP, long distance viewing or do you know something?
    Biddlin ;>)/

  7. Food For Thought

    Fact: “Sgt” Markus has never been a Sergeant in his career.

    What else is completely false, or at least inaccurate in this reporting?

    Take it with a grain of salt…

    • Davis Progressive

      it’s a trivial point. the title probably came from the transcript where he called him “sarg” but the complaint calls him “Officer” markus consistently, so i think you’re pointing out semantics.

      • Food For Thought

        I pointed out poor journalism, which does beg the question “what details are not true.”

        If this was a court case and an Officer made such a “semantic” mistake, you’d cry “reasonable doubt!”.

        You’re basing your opinions of this case on reporting that is, at least in this instance, “doubtful” in it’s credibility.

        • I documented this case with the available evidence – the complaint and two letters. I fail to see how misidentifying the officer’s rank – not even the officer involved in the shooting – invalidates the crux of the report.

          • Food For Thought

            If you truly fail to see how some information being incorrect does not also allow for other information to be incorrect, then you should not be a journalist. I did not say that everything you wrote was a lie. But if you got one thing wrong, any reasonable person should assume that your “evidence” is fallible.

            In addition, you clearly painted this story from one perspective (that of the poor victim who was shot by the big bad police) and not one from an unbiased or even logical point of view. Like “Just Saying” mentioned, nobody kicks down doors and shoots people for “no reason.” Your reasoning is “they are police, they are bad.” Similar perspective in all of your “reporting”.

            • If you look at the complaint which is linked, you will see that it refers to Markus as officer, not Sargent. It was my error typing Sgt.

              ” Like “Just Saying” mentioned, nobody kicks down doors and shoots people for “no reason.” ”

              If you listen to the tape, it appears the door opening when the Officer’s hand was on his gun is why the gun fired. There is a reason why he was found for excessive force and fired – documents above verify that.

              • Food For Thought

                I won’t Monday Morning because I wasn’t there. I certainly make room for the possibility/probability of excessive force and even an Officer going crazy and doing “bad” things.

                Similarly, people reporting and in comments, should probably reserve opinions for the entirety of the facts. Not solely on the self-serving story of a multiple time DV abuser who is trying to get paid.

                • Davis Progressive

                  which part of this story is based on the claims of mr. hughey? the facts laid out here are all verified in separate documents, they are linked below the article.

  8. Just saying…. According to the audio posted, Mr. Hughes was told numerous times to “get down”. He did not. No one knows what the officers saw when they had “an unobstructed view” as stated. Perhaps they witnessed enough to feel the wife was in immediate danger. We just don’t know. Nothing about this story would convince me that an officer would just break down a door and shoot for no reason. Unfortunately the one eye witness to it all is the person that made the 911 call in the first place and may be scared to go against a man who was accused of beating her up. The police however undoubtedly have her original testimony from that night. Domestic abuse is a terrible thing. We just all need to restrict judgement and let the court decide what the truth is.

    • Food For Thought

      Scared? More like “payday”! “I shut my mouth and get $1M in the divorce.”

      The least credible witness in a DV is the victim. Especially with 7 figures on the line.

    • “According to the audio posted, Mr. Hughes was told numerous times to “get down”. ”

      Mr. Hughes was on the ground bleeding with a bullet lodged near his spine.

      • Or perhaps the command to “get down” was actually being addressed to the nine month pregnant wife. At nine months pregnant, I can vouch for the challenges inherent in “getting down to floor level”.

      • If you read it again, even AFTER officer Wright says a shot was fired,…..he tells him once again “to get down”.

        • To cover his butt on the recording. Do you think Hughey was hit with a 9mm slug, resting near his spine and still put up a fight? What about sustaining the excessive force charge don’t you get?

          • Except the officer did not know there was a recording. Don’t you get it? Adrenalin can make people do crazy things… Just trying to point out both sides and all possibilities unlike the author of this article. The case was just filed and has not even gone to court.

            • Really? I’m pretty sure the other officer was carrying the recorder.David?

              • Officer Markus had the recording.

                What you cannot tell from the transcript is that Officer Wright was frantic and yelling during the exchange. Officer Markus was calm and under control. You’ll note it was Officer Wright telling him to stay down, all Markus did was indicate to keep his hands where he could see them.

    • It certainly doesn’t look good for the WSPD, at least from the story developed by The Vanguard from the information leaked to it by the plaintiff/attorney. It’ll be interesting to see how this case plays out and whether it even goes to trial.

      As David and others have noted, this is just one side of things–and purposely written to aggressively emphasize the worst of any possible actions, motives, etc. As interesting and accurate as David’s summary, it’s worth taking the time to follow his link to the entire filing, if only to consider the tone and the hyperbole involved. It even contends that the police had no authority to enter the house in the first place, to collect evidence, to charge crimes, etc.

      Notwithstanding the horror of getting seriously shot, the most disconcerting part of this complaint is the alleged cavalier actions of the WSPD when it supposedly engaged in an investigation afterwards.

      It’s really difficult to look at this situation without much more critical information, however. How can we make much of a judgment about how the officers behaved without knowing why they were there in the first place? The recording transcription, as compelling as it appears, is but one minute in an obviously long episode.

      As CAROL BOGART suggested, knowing the 9-1-1 complaint would give us some idea of what the wife told police they would be facing when they were met with the locked door. David responds that “…this about the conduct of police officers under the color of authority, but the criminal matter was resolved.” But, the police conduct directly resulted from the alleged criminal actions and we cannot just kiss off the value of knowing why the police were summoned.

      In fact, it’s impossible to know from this story what the case was with its many charges. David notes that the defendent pleaded nolo to one charge and the DA dropped the others.

      However, the complaint itself paints a different picture:

      “Formal Dismissal of all Claims that Stem from False Statements by Wright:
      The grossly exaggerated and inflamed criminal case against Mr. Hughey resolved completely on December 4, 2013. All the charges stemming from Wright’s false statement and fabricated evidence were dismissed with prejudice.”

      The suit also gives the impression that the couple was surprised that the police showed up as they were having a nice chat about “marital affairs” while she was sitting on the couch and he was across the room in his drawers. This obviously wasn’t the picture the officers had in mind as they demanded entry–what did they think justified breaking in?

      On top of this, we have the November 2013 incident with yet another suit against police. What were a bunch of officers doing back at the house? The second installment (and more detail about the first one, like the 9-1-1 call and the initial charges as filed) can’t show up in The Vanguard too soon.

      - – - – -

      OFFICIAL PUBLIC NOTICE–The afore-posting “Just Saying” (4:39 p.m.) is no relation to undersigned. I have posted for several years as “JustSaying” and pretty well have have withdrawn from commenting on Court Watch stories out of frustration. I kept looking for complete reporting without fear or favor–unbiased by preconcieved notions that the DA is a crook, that the system always is wrong, that prosecutor and police are just other words for “liar” and so on. I’m pleased to say that, over the years, The Vanguard’s court reporting continues to improve and, during the same period, my acceptance of actions made “under color of authority” has become more guarded.

      Since “Just Saying” moved so quickly to establish intellectual property rights on the new Vanguard website, this is to withdraw the “JustSaying” non de plume to avoid any future confusion. I also want to keep him or her from embarrassment caused by any of my comments. Finally, I am not responsible for his or her debts.

      JustSaying

      • Appreciate the clarification on the name.

      • To : the original ” JustSaying”…….. My apologies for posting under that name. I was not aware another person used that ID. I have never read or posted anything written by this paper before. The article was forwarded to me by a friend and I felt compelled to give an opinion. If I ever feel the need to post again, I will not use that name.

  9. Editorials should be based on facts not opinions, assumptions or political nonsense, this story is a giant assumption. This story has taken bits and pieces of information and put together an assumed timeline without factual basis to make a person of guilt look innocent of wrong doing. It would be like me saying David Greenwald supports domestic violence because his story says you can get away with it. Is that a true statement? Factually I could never make that leap nor would I say that is true. However by the authors own admission he is supporting lawyered up wife beater (Plead NO CONTEST Dec, 2013), instead of police officers because his opinion is the police abuse privilege under a guise of authority, “….to me this about the conduct of police officers under the color of authority, but the criminal matter was resolved. Mr. Hughey faced seven felonies and took a deal for a single misdemeanor.” This is a huge generalized statement towards all law enforcement.

    Greenwald’s admitted assumptions to make his story work for him.

    1. “It’s obviously easier to lay off a probationary employee, but my experience is that departments do not light sustain complaints – it makes them liable for lawsuits like this one.”

    Any statement with “my experience” is assumptive statement and a leading statement to push an idea a certain way. How many police departments has Greenwald worked for by the way that gives him that “experience”?

    2. “You can hear what happened and there is no evidence of a struggle and Officer Wright’s account appears to be false.”

    Three people were in that room and David Greenwald was not one of them. With the yelling going on how would anyone be able to tell what happened? By saying, “Officer Wright’s account appears to be false.” he is leading an audience in direction of assumed guilt.

    Fabrication of facts to fit your story falls under Defamation of Character which is not protected by the First Amendment. As a matter of fact I would recommend Officer Wright seek out a good lawyer as there is plenty of evidence in this story to support defamation. Statement of Fact – I am not a cop, never had a criminal infraction or supported wife beaters.

    • This was not an editorial. I made comments in the article based on the questions.

      My article was based on the complaint with again the five planks that I verified:

      1. the sustained complaint
      2. the termination of employment
      3. the forwarding of the matter to the DA’s office
      4. the plea agreement where all of the resisting charges were dropped
      5. the audio/ video recording and the verified transcript

      1. “How many police departments has Greenwald worked for by the way that gives him that “experience”?”

      I have never worked for a police department. My experience lies in dealing with citizen complaints and reporting on police misconduct. It is rare to have a sustained complaint. I would estimate in my experience less than ten percent are sustained.

      2. “Three people were in that room and David Greenwald was not one of them. With the yelling going on how would anyone be able to tell what happened? ”

      here’s what you can hear – the original knock on the door where the door apparently comes open and the shot is fired before he completes his sentence. That seems to match up with the account by Ms. Hughey that she was attempting to open the door when it flew open and the shot was fired.

      Officer Wright claims there was a struggle but that doesn’t appear consistent with the audio recording. Nor is it considered with eyewitness testimony.

      Based on that, I have reached the conclusion that Wright’s account is false.

      “Fabrication of facts to fit your story falls under Defamation of Character which is not protected by the First Amendment.”

      What is fabricated?

      • Just a thought. Perhaps the officer fired his gun “mid sentence” because he felt threatened at that moment. Otherwise he would have finished his sentence. Perhaps he did enter the home too aggressively but once inside the plaintiff could have very well moved quickly in the officer’s direction. Unfortunately in situations like this officers only have a split second to make a determination if their lives are in danger. One could argue if the officer had not entered the home this would not have happened. Another could argue if the plaintiff was not assaulting his 9 months pregnant spouse she would have not dialed 911 and this would not have happened.

        I grew up with 3 family members in law enforcement and know first hand that many times charges were dropped or pleaded out against suspects NOT because they did not happen but because for one reason or another the DA felt they could not get a conviction and did not want to waste tax payer’s. money. Not saying what did or did not happen because I was not there, I am just stating that just because charges were dropped or pleaded putout against this person does not mean they were not valid charges. Furthermore, I agree with one other posting. How do we know these witnesses exist, how do know for a fact about the DNA (or lack of). These are statements made bythe plaintiff and his attorney.

        • “On the evening of July 9, 2012, a 911 call was placed regarding an alleged domestic disturbance. ”
          ” Another could argue if the plaintiff was not assaulting his 9 months pregnant spouse she would have not dialed 911…”
          How do you know who placed the call? Is there so much prescience on this board or did I miss something?
          Biddlin ;>)/

  10. 1. “It’s obviously easier to lay off a probationary employee, but my experience is that departments do not (like to) sustain complaints – it makes them liable for lawsuits like this one.”

    Did you intend to overlook the other possible view, just as logical as yours? “Formal investigations find that 90% of complaints are unfounded–most police actions, however unpleasant to complainants, are conducted within the law and approved procedures.”

    It doesn’t take a sustained complaint to make departments “liable for lawsuits like this one.” And, just because a suit like this is filed doesn’t it’s going to be a winner.

    I’m also not sure I’d give much weight to what it means not to convert a probationary employee to a permanent position. We always were told that our most expensive decision supervisors could be approving a probationary worker for permanent work–considering the many costs of dealing with a permanent problem employee for decades to come. A worker who “just didn’t fit in to the organization” wouldn’t be converted. No shortcoming or guilt even implied.

    Who are these “witnesses,” the four neighbors who supposedly were in a position to see what happened inside the house as the place was broken into? Seems like a really dangerous place to near. How close were they to the action?

    • “Did you intend to overlook the other possible view, just as logical as yours? “Formal investigations find that 90% of complaints are unfounded–most police actions, however unpleasant to complainants, are conducted within the law and approved procedures.””

      No, I believe you are correct. My purpose was only to suggest that police departments do not sustain complaints unless there is good cause.

      “It doesn’t take a sustained complaint to make departments “liable for lawsuits like this one.” ”

      No, but a sustained complaint is an acknowledgement of wrongdoing.

      “I’m also not sure I’d give much weight to what it means not to convert a probationary employee to a permanent position. We always were told that our most expensive decision supervisors could be approving a probationary worker for permanent work–considering the many costs of dealing with a permanent problem employee for decades to come. A worker who “just didn’t fit in to the organization” wouldn’t be converted. No shortcoming or guilt even implied.”

      Also true, but it will be a difficult case to make to a jury assuming this suit gets to one.

      • “No, I believe you are correct. My purpose was only to suggest that police departments do not sustain complaints unless there is good cause.”

        No need to qualify this remark with the qualifying “suggest.”

        “Good cause” is the legally required standard for sustaining any complaint or allegation by a governmental agency or employer. In this venue, no such constraints are imposed, giving rise to speculations, key omissions, distortions, insertion of personal and political bias, assignment of guilt by association or circumstance, presentiing tangential stories of questionable relevance, fun stuff!

        But an official governmental agency, including the executive and judicial branches, are all held to a standard of “good cause” showing (or “Due Process”) supported by verifiable facts and data.

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