By Caroline Pierce
SACRAMENTO – In a probable cause hearing at Sacramento County Superior Court Thursday, lawyers for the defense and prosecution grilled three police officers for hours.
Defendant Daniel Toney’s defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Kimberli Miller, and Deputy District Attorney Sylvia La Rosa spent several hours questioning police officers on several events that occurred throughout the past year which resulted in Daniel Toney being in custody.
The events in question occurred on three different dates in which Toney was observed screaming, assaulting, and threatening his neighbors (the alleged victims) and also resisting arrest. Toney was placed in custody with two misdemeanor cases and a felony case involving events that occurred in December of 2019 and May of 2020.
Prior to being placed in custody, Toney had reportedly called the police on several occasions because he thought he was being hacked and that the hackers were obtaining illegal surveillance of him. The events in this hearing were not the first time police officers contacted Toney, both as the victim and as an offender.
The first several minutes of this hearing were dedicated to shedding light on Toney’s status after being reported incompetent. Toney requested another doctor after claiming he was completely competent, and Judge Geoffrey Goodman explained that Toney could request another evaluation at a different time, as it would not pertain to this hearing.
The first case in question was made clear through the testimony of officer Michelle Beattie, who has been an officer for 24 years. DDA La Rosa began questioning Beattie about the events she observed, and her role in aiding the victim who called 911.
On the morning of Dec. 9, 2019 Toney was reported screaming inappropriate and threatening messages, while standing in front of his neighbor’s door swinging a kid’s scooter. Officer Beattie testified, from what she was told by the victim, that Toney had damaged the security door and the exterior camera to his neighbor’s apartment.
The following day, Dec. 10, Toney was reported again, screaming at the victims, attempting to contact them. Speaking on this incident, Beattie explained, “[the victim] met me outside. She was visibly shaken and upset. She was still on the phone and said she just couldn’t take the stress of this anymore.”
In the cross-examination by PD Miller, Officer Beattie explained her knowledge of Toney’s potential motive—Toney apparently believed his internet was being hacked by three persons who previously lived in the apartment of the victims. Miller also wanted to make it clear that Toney never stated a name in his laments against the victims, and simply used general pronouns.
During the cross, Beattie was also asked to recall whether or not Toney was swinging the scooter at the door of the victim’s apartment on purpose, or if he was just swinging it. Beattie could not speak for Toney’s actions and Miller made it clear that it was not known whether the defendant was purposefully attempting to damage the building, or if he was simply swinging the scooter.
In the redirect following Miller’s cross-examination, DDA La Rosa asked several questions of Beattie who made it clear that the victim was concerned with an escalation of Toney’s actions and the protection of his family. Beattie explained that the victim “expressed he was afraid to leave his family home alone.”
At this point in the hearing, Judge Goodman interrupted to inquire about the main victim’s status. The wife of the victim who was home during this Dec. 9 incident was reported as the main victim, however the judge was confused as to why the main victim was not present during the event.
DDA La Rosa later explained that the main victim was the wife because the other victim’s main concern was his family and possible future events that could occur if he was not home.
The second witness, Officer Wesley Davis, spoke to an incident in May, several months after Toney was observed verbally assaulting the victims. On May 16, Toney was cited for a DUI and was later arrested for violating a restraining order issued for the victim of the December 9 and 10 incidents.
Toney was charged with a felony for resisting arrest and attempting to take a firearm from a police officer. Davis testified that Toney was slightly agitated when she arrived and when she began telling him why he was being arrested, he resisted the handcuffs from another officer.
The third witness, Officer Rickey Jones, was the other officer present at the scene, attempting to detain Toney.
Officer Jones was also asked to speak to his knowledge of Toney’s DUI earlier that day, and explained, “I didn’t assume he was intoxicated [upon arriving at the scene] but based on my observations of him I was able to tell quickly that he was still intoxicated.”
The court decided he should be held until his next hearing.
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