Former Police Chief Testifies in Police Killing Trial of Darell Richards

Matsui Federal courtroom downtown in Sacramento (Robert J Hansen)

By Robert J Hansen

Sacramento, CA – Former Sacramento Chief of Police Daniel Hahn testified Wednesday as the trial of the civil lawsuit shooting of 19-year-old Darell Richards continues.

Sergeant Todd Edgerton, one of the officers who shot Richards, also took the stand.

In 2018, Richards led police on a four-hour manhunt from Broadway and 16th Street to 20th Street and First Avenue.

Shortly before midnight, Richards dropped his backpack and ran when he was spotted by police, eventually climbing over the fence of a home on 20th Street.

In the backpack, officers found a receipt from Big 5 for the pellet gun.

He was shot by Edgerton and Patrick Cox who said Richards pointed a handgun at another officer that later turned out to be a pellet gun he had purchased the same day from a sporting goods store.

Edgerton shared with the courtroom that his body-worn camera did not record what happened because it got turned off accidentally.

Patrick Buelna, one of the attorneys for Richards’ parents, questioned how the bullets struck the side of his torso and not in the front.

“You said that he was squared up with you as he pointed the gun,” Buelna said. “Then how did they hit his side?”

Edgerton did not have a clear explanation.

“He was rolling up from his side like he was rolling over from the fetus position,” Edgerton said.

Hahn, who was not present in Senior U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez’s courtroom last Thursday, answered questions regarding hostage and barricaded subject situations.

“Initial response of officers is mandatory to call for SWAT and negotiations team,” the Hostage Manual said.

Hahn said that sounded right.

Attorneys for Richards’ family said officers violated department policy by using the SWAT team to apprehend  Richards yet failed to include the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT).

Roger Clark, a police procedures consultant, identified several failures by the Sacramento officers.

The body camera not working, not calling CIT, and not waiting until daylight to engage Richards were all failures according to Clark.

What he thought most concerning was Lt. Sameer Sood, the watch commander that night, making no mention of the receipt for a pellet gun to his officers.

“Nothing in the discovery mentioned the receipt of a pellet gun, something police knew and could have easily known what Richards was armed with,” Clark said.

Clark said that an incident commander must find out as much as they can, like harvesting whatever they can from the backpack.

“These are basic things that a patrol officer would have in his car and be able to find out,” Clark said.

Hearings for the trial will resume next week.

About The Author

Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Robert is covering the Yolo County DA's race for the Vanguard.

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3 Comments

  1. PhillipColeman

    ” . . . . not waiting until daylight to engage Richards were all failures according to Clark.”

    Of all the many, many policies and procedures I’ve read and written on the proper method to conduct searches in urban neighborhoods, never have I seen a requirement where the search team is to remain place until daylight. In this instance, since the climax of this pursuit was shortly after midnight, that would have been 5 to 6 hours. Cross-examination of this expert witness is omitted in this summation, it would have been interesting to hear Richards’ response to the question: “Name one law enforcement agency that has a policy that requires that potentially an entire shift of patrol officers to remain in place for potentially an entire 8-hour tour of duty.”

    For those of us who choose to sit in judgment of this incident now, it would have been helpful to remind us what alleged crime was committed that caused multitudes of police officers to pursue this man for four hours.

     

  2. Keith Olson

    Cross-examination of this expert witness is omitted in this summation, it would have been interesting to hear Richards’ response to the question: “Name one law enforcement agency that has a policy that requires that potentially an entire shift of patrol officers to remain in place for potentially an entire 8-hour tour of duty.”
    For those of us who choose to sit in judgment of this incident now, it would have been helpful to remind us what alleged crime was committed that caused multitudes of police officers to pursue this man for four hours.

    Yes Phil, one would think that in the name of fully reporting the story that those things would’ve been included.  Here’s the reason the police were searching for Richards:

    But, Richmond said, police had been searching for Richards for hours after receiving reports of an armed man pointing a weapon at people downtown, and that when confronted and ordered to show his hands he pointed the handgun at Officer Barry Tiner. That threat required Cox and Edgerton to fire to protect Tiner, Richmond said. Richmond showed jurors a photo of the pellet gun Richards was carrying, and noted that it is manufactured to “look precisely” like an authentic Sig Sauer handgun.

     

    Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article267232292.html#storylink=cpy

  3. Bill Marshall

    Both Phil and Keith O’s comments sound true, and resonate with me…

    I give both a 95% credibility…

    The “static” regarding ‘timing’ of the search in the article does not… easy to “Monday morning quarterback”, but in the real world, things enfold in ‘real time’…

    Old expression:  “When you’re up to your @$$ in alligators, it’s hard to remember your objective was to drain the swamp”… the timing of the search seems very reasonable, given the facts known in ‘real time’, by the “boots on the ground”, as have been reported.

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