Tragic Results of IVC Laws in California

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Sat, 18 Jul 1998 13:27:02 -0700


Man resisted; canine stabbed
Jul. 17, 1998

By MIKE GENIELLA and ANDREW LAMAR
Press Democrat Bureau

UKIAH -- A police officer shot and killed a mental health patient Thursday
after the man threatened officers with a knife and stabbed a police dog,
authorities said.

In what officials believe is the city's first officer-involved shooting
death, the man was shot after he resisted police attempts to detain him at
the request of the county's Mental Health Department. Officers had been
told to bring him in for an evaluation.

Officer Sean Kaeser fired a single shot after the man knifed a police dog
that had cornered him in an enclosed stairwell leading to his apartment
above a local pet store. Police said the man "brandished'' the knife in a
threatening manner.

Authorities declined to release the man's name pending notification of
family members, but neighbors in the apartment complex where he lived knew
him as "Marvin.''

The confrontation between three officers and the man began about 1 p.m. in
a crowded Foster Freeze restaurant on State Street. Officers approached the
man, who was sitting in a booth eating.

"They told the guy to get up and he wouldn't,'' said witness Georgia
Portlock, who was in a nearby booth with her husband. The woman said an
officer drew a handgun as the confrontation escalated.

"Everybody was petrified. One little girl was crying her eyes out, she was
so scared. We expected bullets to be flying everywhere,'' said Portlock.

The Portlocks and other patrons were ordered to leave while officers tried
to convince the man to go with them. The man got up and walked out of the
restaurant with the knife in his hand, police said.

Officers said the man refused to stop, and began walking toward his
apartment, which is on the second floor of a retail building at State and
Gobbi streets.

After the man started up the stairs, officers released the police dog. They
said he stabbed and severely injured the dog before being shot by Kaeser.

"I heard a bunch of scuffling upstairs, and then the gunshot,'' said Mark
Casebir, who works at the pet store.

Immediately after the shooting, Kaeser was placed on administrative leave
in accordance with department policy.

Department spokesman Greg Heitcamp said the Mendocino County Sheriff's
Office will conduct an independent investigation into the shooting, and
there will be an internal review by police.

Use of deadly force by police has come under increasing scrutiny on the
North Coast, sparked by a series of shooting deaths over the past three
years in Sonoma County.

Seven people have been killed by law enforcement officers in Sonoma County
since April 1995 -- the most controversial last year in Rohnert Park, where
an Asian man wielding a six-foot pole in a drunken rage was shot and killed
in front of his house, igniting a storm of criticism and debate.

In 1994, Mendocino County sheriff's deputies shot and killed a Round Valley
man during a confrontation that ended in a deputy's death.

Ukiah police declined to discuss specifics of Thursday's shooting, a first
for the 27-officer department.

"All I can say is that from my point of view he (the shooting victim) could
have injured someone,'' said Heitcamp.

Police Chief John Williams was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

The man was a client of the county's Mental Health Department. Neighbors
described him as quiet and easy going. Rachel Land, who lives down the
hallway, said he was a "kind, gentle man. He mostly kept to himself.''



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