The key charge was a breach of privacy related to a personnel investigation and the allegation that the DA’s office had initiated this investigation in retaliation for Mr. Skaggs’ involvement in whistle-blowing in a case where he believed the DA’s office had failed to turn over exculpatory evidence.
“The Defendant have initiated retaliatory and frivolous administrative proceedings and actions against the Plaintiff, because he brought to the attention of the DA OFFICE, including the District Attorney, exculpatory evidence relating to other criminal investigations and prosecutions, and that thereafter the DA was forced to turn over evidence to defense counsel.”
According to the claim,
“Following these actions by the Plaintiff, the DA OFFICE began treating him selectively, placing him on administrative leave, proposing to terminate him from the department and initiating various administrative proceedings against him. These actions pretextual, wrongful and in violation of the public policies of the Untied States of America, and were in fact done to retaliate against Plaintiff, and in violation of his constitutional rights under 42 USC § 1983 II (Fourteenth Amendment) and other constitutional rights.”
Now District Attorney Jeff Reisig and his office have responded to these allegations with categorical denial of all allegations brought forth by Mr. Skaggs.
In a statement sent to the Woodland Daily Democrat, Mr. Reisig stated:
“The District Attorney’s Office has not been served with legal notice of any federal lawsuit filed by Mr. Randy Skaggs. However, as to the allegations previously reported by The Democrat, the District Attorney’s Office would categorically deny any wrongdoing in matters involving Mr. Skaggs.
While the confidentiality of personnel matters prevents this office from disclosing the facts in this matter, all actions taken by this office were lawful and done in order to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system and the District Attorney’s office in our service to the People of Yolo County. We welcome and look forward to review of these matters as authorized by law.”
In addition, the Daily Democrat also reports that Mr. Reisig claims that his office has not been served with any lawsuit.
The suit comes after a wave of high profile cases and events that have lead to increased scrutiny and criticism of the office. On Saturday, between 200 and 300 people descended upon Woodland to protest the alleged abuse of power by the District Attorney’s office. They called on a federal investigation into the nearly four month old shooting of Luis Guitierrez by Sheriff’s Deputies working in conjunction with the Yolo County Gang Task Force.
Friends and relatives of Ajay Dev protested the excessive prison sentence of Mr. Dev stemming from his conviction on 76 counts of sex with a minor and rape. They were calling for a new trial and argued that the original trial was wrongly decided on thin evidence.
On a related issue, a trial date has now been set for October 26, 2010 for the family of Ricardo Abrahams. Mr. Abrahams was killed on May 28, 2008 after officers used Taser stun guns and batons before wrestling him to the ground in an attempt to restrain him. Mr. Abrahams would die not from the Taser the Yolo County Coronoer’s office determined, but rather by positional asphyxiation. The Attorney General’s office determine that the officers involved had no criminal liability in the case.
The parents of Mr. Abrahams, Davis residents, have now sued the city of Woodland and Taser International for the death of their son.
—David M. Greenwald reporting