Stockton Community, Family Members Demand Answers in the Killing of Shayne Sutherland by Police

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By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Stockton, CA – The mother of Shayne Sutherland as well other community members demand answers and accountability in the death of Shayne Sutherland at the hands of Stockton Police on the morning of October 8, 2020.

“The reason I’m out here today…  is because I have not gotten any transparency from Stockton PD or the DA’s office,” Shayne’s mother, Karen Sutherland, said on Monday.  “The only thing they’ve released to me and the public are the edited body cams.”

According to the account from the family, Sutherland, 29, died in a manner similar to George Floyd, prone, with a police officer on his back, handcuffed, while yelling, “I can’t breathe,” and calling out for his Momma.

He had called 911 the morning of October 8, 2020.  While being questioned in front of a store, Shayne jumped up after hearing a noise, only to be tackled by law enforcement. After close to three minutes of forceful pressure on Shayne’s back, while Shayne was lying face down on the concrete, unarmed, handcuffed, in the prone position, he was in distress and could no longer communicate.

Karen Sutherland

Family members have called for the release of the recordings and asked for the San Joaquin District Attorney’s office to hold the officers accountable.

The father of two, who also had three stepchildren, was described as hardworking and a family man, involved in the lives of his children and stepchildren.

“He was a very hard worker. He was a journeyman for the glaziers and glass workers union local 169, when he got laid off of that job because of COVID,” his mom explained.  “He went to Alaska and he was a commercial fishermen. And that wasn’t even a job to him because he loved it so much.”

His mother felt that the death was unnecessary.

“I feel that my son should have treated fairly and with respect and not belittled like he was that day and treated the way he was,” she explained.  “He surrendered to them. He was apologizing to them and he was telling them several times I can’t breathe. I can’t believe I’m dying.”

“Help, mama,” she said.  “Calling out for me.  But they ignored him. Why did they ignore him? How do you ignore somebody that’s begging for their life?”

She explained that he was very honest with police, that he acknowledged he was doing drugs, he asked for help but that the police overreacted to a sudden twitch and then failed to respond to him when he was in medical crisis.

“Things need to change,” she said.  “They need to be held accountable.  I’m asking that the police department and that DA Tory Verber Salazer, please be transparent.”

She wants to see the two officer from the Stockton Police Department be charged.

Marissa Barrera

Also speaking was Marissa Barrera, a woman from Woodland, whose brother Michael Barrera died at the hands of the Woodland Police in 2017, similarly complaining that he could not breathe, only to have police mock and ignore him until it was too late.

Barrera explained that she had founded the group, Voice of Strength, to allow families who have lost loved ones to police to be able to tell their stories and counter the false narratives by police.

Karen Sutherland was first contacted out in front of the police station protesting by herself when others found her and helped her organize.

Barrera was there with Michael Barrera’s daughter.  She was 10 when her father was killed, now she’s 15.

“He was killed in a very similar way to Shayne,” she said.  “Even the edited version (of the video of Shayne Sutherland) show murder.  They’re guilty and they should not be on the street.”

15-year-old Michelle Barrera lost her father in 2017

Michael Barrera’s daughter, Michelle, said,  “Murder is murder whether you have a badge or not, because of those cops, I have to live the rest of my life without my dad.  I still have to wake up every day saying like, is this real?  But it is.”

That’s all she could say before she broke down crying.

Karen Sutherland added, “That is Michael Barrera’s daughter.  You see the impact that it causes on these kids.”

Another of the mothers came up to speak about their own son’s killing at the hands of police.  Many of them also lenr support to Karen for the loss of Shayne Sutherland.

Darlene Ruiz calls for justice for her son Trevor Seever

Darlene Ruiz for example noted that her son, Trevor Seever, was shot and killed in Modesto.

“The DA works closely with the police. There’s a conflict of interest. You can’t depend on the DA to stand by you and get justice from a police officer. It doesn’t work,” she said.  “The DA needs to not handle these cases.  It needs to be the Attorney General.”

She said, “Cops should not be immune from the consequences of murdering our children. And for too long, we’ve allowed it, there’s way too many George Floyds out there.”

In that case, the Stanlislaus County DA charged the officer, Joseph Lamantia, with one count of voluntary manslaughter, meaning he is facing potentially 11 years in prison.

Ruiz said that her son was the fifth person that Lamantia had killed.

“He shot somebody six weeks before he shot Trevor.  He shot and killed three people in 2016.  He has since been fired.  He has been charged with manslaughter, but it should be murder,” she said.

Some of the speakers acknowledged that Tori Verber Salazar has a reputation for being reform minded.  But they remain frustrated at the slow pace of the investigation and the lack of transparency.

Roxanne Morales

Roxanne Morales’ son Augustine was killed by Sacramento Police.

According to media accounts, a police sergeant could be heard screaming, “Get down to the ground.” Morales later slid his gun toward the officer after he was ordered to.

“They got the wrong man,” Marysa Morales, the sister of Augustine, told ABC10. “There’s somebody still out there on the loose that actually shot.”

His mother told the media she believes her son stayed behind to protect people at the event.

“Because he would definitely be a protector,” Roxanne Morales said. “That’s is natural instinct.”

Karen Sutherland told the families and media that she has read the transcript but cannot bear to watch the video of her son’s death.  However, Roxanne Morales has watched the video.

“Shayne did nothing wrong,” she said, “nothing.

“He was calling the officers ‘sir,’” she said.  “He was transparent.  They asked him, are you on drugs?  He said yes, sir.  He did not lie.

“Something did spook him,” she said.  “You hear a click.  That is when Shayne gets up, because he was sitting in the position they told him to be in.”

He stands up when you hear this click.

She argued that he had a right to get up, he was not under arrest at that point.

“There’s no reason that shouldn’t be here today. None. He had every right to walk away every right. And I will stand behind this mother until I am no longer breathing,” she said.

Neither the police nor the DA’s office would comment to the Vanguard about the ongoing investigation.

Elisa Bubak, the PIO from the San Joaquin County DA’s office, issued a statement to the Vanguard: “The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office is dedicated to ensuring public safety, equitable justice for all, and advocating for victims. Transparency is a key component to strengthening trust with the community we are privileged to serve.”

She added, “Shayne Sutherland’s case is under investigation. Further inquiries regarding body worn camera footage should be directed to the Stockton Police Department.”

Meanwhile, Joseph Silva, the PIO for the Stockton Police stated, “This incident remains and open multi-agency protocol investigation and is still under review by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.  Pending anticipated litigation, we cannot discuss this matter any further.”

For Karen Sutherland this was as unnecessary as it was tragic.

“He wasn’t trying to run, something spooked him,” she said.  “He stood up and they slammed him to the ground.  It ultimately ended in his death after he kept telling them several times I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I’m dying and calling out for mama and they ignored him.”

“It’s absolutely just devastating,” Sutherland told media gathered at the press conference.  “My whole life has changed.”

About his children, “They have to go to the cemetery to visit their father. It’s horrible. I mean, this is, this is something that nobody, no parent, no child should ever have to go through.”

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About The Author

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.

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26 thoughts on “Stockton Community, Family Members Demand Answers in the Killing of Shayne Sutherland by Police”

  1. Keith Olsen

    He had called 911 the morning of October 8, 2020.

    Why did Sutherland call 911?  Nowhere in the article could I find what prompted the officers to confront Sutherland in the first place.

    1. Keith Olsen

      As often usual with this blog the reader has to do their own research to get to more of the facts:

      Police received a 911 call from Sutherland asking for a taxi cab to a local AM/PM on Trinity Parkway. Sutherland then said someone had robbed him, that he was an employee at the store.

      Police called the AM/PM and spoke with an employee who said Sutherland was actually in the store harassing customers.

      The employee called 911 again to report that Sutherland was holding a bottle of wine and threatening to throw it at the employee. Police arrived at the store shortly after.
      https://www.abc10.com/article/news/local/stockton/man-dies-in-police-custody-stockton/103-2e134a6b-4f39-4458-9540-a0e11efb4523

       

      1. Alan Miller

        KO, it seems the purpose of this blog isn’t to inform, but to advocate for a certain narrative.  I wonder when this blogger will learn:  those of us not inclined to believe a narrative because it aligns with a political ‘side’ are only going to take a side on an issue when we are given the context and facts!  If the blogger truly believes that this is a case where the police used inappropriate force, the facts/contexty should not be feared and left out.

      2. Bill Marshall

        KO… I echo what Alan M posted @ 10:32… and you both know we are not often in agreement…

        That said, there does appear to be “something rotten” in Stockton, and elsewhere…

        I’m not about to accept that it was a ‘justified’, legal, ethical, or moral outcome for Mr Sutherland…

        ‘Heads should roll’…

      3. Carlos Garcia

        Out of curiosity Keith, how does that information change the police response?  If you watch the video, they threw him to the ground, ignored pleas for medical attention and that he couldn’t breathe.  They failed to respond to those needs.  It was very similar to Floyd. It seems your purpose was toe indorduce something prejudicial to the decedent.

        1. Alan Miller

          The video?  Reference was given to video, but no link.

          Am I expected to search the web and watch a video before commenting, when no link is given?

        2. Keith Olsen

          Carlos, that doesn’t change what I posted.  This blog often doesn’t give the whole story when it comes to what initiated the police response in the first place or what crime the person in question committed.  As commenters we often have to dig deeper to get the whole story.  David knows that, we’ve called this out many times before.

          As for the police response being appropriate or not no where have I commented on that.  So what you posted here is coming from you, not me.

          Alan, the video is in the link above that I provided. You’re right though, the article didn’t provide one. Go figure.

        3. Carlos Garcia

          From a legal standpoint it doesn’t matter what triggered it (in law they decern probative versus prejudice). Just like it didn’t matter when Chauvin went to court why he was there. What mattered was how he handled the situation. You’re attempting to preojudice people (implicitly arguing he deserved to die because he did some bad things in the lead up) against the decedent.

        4. Keith Olsen

          You’re attempting to preojudice people (implicitly arguing he deserved to die because he did some bad things in the lead up) against the decedent.

          You’re full of it.  I didn’t attempt to implicitly prejudice anyone, that’s you projecting onto others what you think they mean.  Why don’t you go by actually what’s said, not what you project.  Your comment is way out of line.

        5. Carlos Garcia

          You still have yet to make a substantive comment that’s grounded in the law.

          My law professor once told me, when the facts are on your side, pound on the facts.  When the law is on your side pound on the law.  When neither is on your side, pound on the table.  You’re pounding on the table.

        6. Keith Olsen

          Carlos, now you’re bloviating, changing the subject.  Nothing you’ve said here has anything to do with what I’ve written.  I just asked why the cops were there in the first place because the article didn’t disclose that.  I came up with the facts of why they were called and why they responded.  Nothing more.  Why do you feel the need to interject all of your static into the conversation?

        7. Ron Oertel

          David knows that, we’ve called this out many times before.

          Where is he, anyway – in an article written by him?

          I “feel” his presence in this exchange, regardless.  In “spirit”, if you will.  🙂

        8. Carlos Garcia

          Not sure why this is so difficult Keith, what you wrote is not relevant to the issue of the police conduct.  I have repeatedly asked take on that and have gotten crickets.  I can only assume you have nothing to add to this conversation.

        9. Keith Olsen

          Where is he, anyway – in an article written by him?
          I “feel” his presence in this exchange, regardless.  In “spirit”, if you will.  

          I “feel” you Ron, I “feel” the same presence, in an echo sort of way.

      4. Alan Miller

        My law professor once told me, when the facts are on your side, pound on the facts.  When the law is on your side pound on the law.  When neither is on your side, pound on the table.  You’re pounding on the table.

        Why all the pounding?   “Can’t we just all get along?”

        Ghandi is rolling in his grave.

  2. Alan Miller

    I’ve got to agree with KO here, I don’t understand the circumstances of the situation that lead up to his death.  I’m certainly willing to listen; it’s just that these are all unique and just because someone dies doesn’t mean it was the cops at fault because the family says so.  Now, it may have been that the cops were indeed at fault – and I very much believe that some cops unnecessarily escalate and are too ready to use lethal force.  I was convinced about the Barrera case after reading about it from several sources.  So please, give us some context about the situation.  Great pictures, by the way.

  3. Ron Oertel

    KO, it seems the purpose of this blog isn’t to inform, but to advocate for a certain narrative.  I wonder when this blogger will learn:  those of us not inclined to believe a narrative because it aligns with a political ‘side’ are only going to take a side on an issue when we are given the context and facts! 

    What the locals/commenters think is increasingly unimportant to the Vanguard, especially in regard to criminal justice.  They are not the reason that such articles are published in the first place.

    The Vanguard is preaching to a larger choir, especially in regard to this type of issue. This is somewhat evidenced by the “subscriber” article that was distributed, yesterday. (Including the nearly $200K annual revenue. Look for that to grow.)

    1. Ron Oertel

      Correction – more than $200K/year.  (Just looked at the article, again.)

      When you tap into criminal justice issues, there’s money to be found – in more than one way.

      Questioning of narratives by local commenters is increasingly irrelevant to the Vanguard’s success.

    2. Alan Miller

      What the locals/commenters think is increasingly unimportant to the Vanguard, especially in regard to criminal justice.  They are not the reason that such articles are published in the first place.

      Oh that is clear!

      The Vanguard is preaching to a larger choir, especially in regard to this type of issue.

      And the choir is all in the same congregation, inside the church.  This approach is all fine for the minister, if stroking one’s own ego and that of the choir is the end-all goal.  But if you want to actually convince others to join the church, or at least help it run one campaign, this inside-baseball preaching with a set conclusion isn’t going to do it.

      1. Ron Oertel

        They don’t necessarily need more members in that church, to be successful.  Even if the majority of the population remains outside of that church.

        Joel Osteen, for example, also doesn’t need everyone to join.

        1. Alan Miller

          You guys realize you’ve become your own echo chamber.

          For someone who’s M.O. is to attempt to insult people for allegedly adding nothing to the conversation, you sure have nothing to add to the conversation.

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