News


Pleasanton police officer cleared of criminal charges in last summer's fatal shooting

DA's office completes final report into July incident at First Street classics car dealer

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office has determined a Pleasanton police officer acted in lawful self-defense when he shot and killed a San Jose teen during an altercation in downtown Pleasanton last summer, and the officer will not face criminal charges, the Pleasanton Police Department announced late Monday afternoon.

John Deming Jr., 19, was fatally shot by Officer Daniel Kunkel in the early morning hours of July 5 after Deming allegedly charged the officer, who was responding to a burglar alarm at Specialty Sales Classics car dealership at 4321 First St.

"The evidence shows that Officer Kunkel believed that lethal force was necessary because he believed he was about to lose consciousness as a result of Mr. Deming Jr.'s ongoing attacks," concluded deputy district attorney Kevin Wong, "which would lead to the loss of retention of his firearm and ultimately his death."

The full District Attorney's Office report, completed Feb. 17 and obtained by the Pleasanton Weekly late Monday, shows a picture of an incident that started when Deming tripped a burglary alarm at the dealership, acted erratically and violently, and ignored repeated demands to comply with officers, which ultimately lead to a fatal altercation with Kunkel outside.

The 45-page report includes interviews with Pleasanton and Livermore officers, a few bystanders who heard the fatal shots, a summary of body camera footage from some officers and an overview of an Alameda County Coroner's Bureau autopsy. The Pleasanton Weekly has also obtained and reviewed that full autopsy.

At 2:01 a.m. on July 5, Deming tripped the motion-detection alarm at Specialty Sales Classics and answered the phone when the alarm company called to check on the situation, according to the report.

Security footage allegedly showed him walking through the dealership with a bandana over his face and a guitar slung over his shoulder, rummaging through an office and a car before answering the phone.

Before Pleasanton police arrived on scene, security footage allegedly showed Deming driving a metal pole into the wall of the dealership. He then took a Sharpie and wrote "Confront me in peace. I have much to teach" on the roof of a car and "Hope & humanity has failed" on a bathroom mirror.

When police arrived, they saw a back window had been broken. Officers gathered outside the front of the business, where they could see Deming inside through the glass showroom windows.

Deming put up his middle fingers at the officers, who ordered Deming to show his hands.

Officers said he appeared "agitated" and said he was "a mountain lion," so officers started to get "the 'wrap' ready to detain him," referring to a straightjacket. One officer said they may have a "5150," police code for a mental health incident.

Deming then took a large car jack and threw it at the window toward officers, but it bounced away, according to officer interviews and a security footage summary. He then took a second jack and threw it at the window, which shattered, and the jack landed a few feet away from the officers.

Deming retreated to the roof of a pickup truck, and officers surrounded him. At one point, Deming hung from the showroom rafters above the car.

A Pleasanton police officer, holding a police dog, ordered Deming to get off the car "or you're going to get bit."

He told the officer, "I have nothing. I mean you no harm," according to the summary of one officer's body camera footage.

One officer tried to shoot him with a Taser, but it didn't shock him, and Deming picked up the charge and flicked it off his jacket. A second Taser was fired, and Deming grabbed his stomach but stood up. A beanbag round was fired as Deming jumped of the car and ran toward the back of the business.

The police dog was released, but it confused another officer for Deming and had to be commanded not to attack.

Outside, Deming stopped "three feet" away from Kunkel, who ordered him to stop.

Deming started running again, and Kunkel tried to fire his Taser, which was on safe mode. Kunkel got his Taser working again and fired a charge at Deming's back, shocking him, but he kept running.

While chasing Deming through the parking lot, Kunkel heard him say "are you going to Tase me?" or "don't Tase me."

Deming then ran at Kunkel and did a martial arts-style jump-kick, knocking Kunkel down, according to Kunkel's interview. Deming then punched Kunkel in the face several times. Kunkel said he felt he was losing consciousness and would be disarmed and killed by Deming.

Kunkel thrust his Taser into Deming's forehead, at which point Kunkel grabbed his gun and fired three rounds "at point-blank range," according to the report.

"He did not know if the gunshot was a contact shot or taken from a couple feet away," the report stated.

Two bullets hit Deming in the face and abdomen, and he rolled off Kunkel.

The shooting isn't recorded Kunkel didn't turn on his department-issued body camera, claiming he "was too busy focusing on the burglary" and "the device commonly doesn't work."

After the shooting, an officer tried to put Deming in handcuffs, but he resisted. Another officer had the police dog bite Deming so officers could restrain him, and EMTs took him to Eden Medical Center, where he died.

Kunkel said his hamstrings were injured was recorded saying "Sergeant, I tried, but why did he have to do that?" and said "I'm so happy I'm alive."

Two officers told Kunkel "not to say anything right now."

Ben Meiselas, of the Los Angeles-based law firm Geragos & Geragos hired by the Deming family, said the report leaves many questions unanswered.

"We consider this a deeply flawed and whitewashed report that is a recitation of police reports, rather than the thorough investigation that the Deming family and the community demanded," he said. "There are deeply alarming and troubling aspects of the report."

He pointed out that both a county autopsy and a third-party autopsy done by a pathologist hired by the Deming family found no drugs in Deming's system.

He also contested the distance at which Deming was shot, saying neither autopsy found gunpowder residue or tell-tale "tattooing" or skin puckering consistent with a contact shot.

Forensic anthropologist Michael Warren, of the University of Florida C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory, looked at the Alameda County autopsy at the request of the Pleasanton Weekly. He said gunpowder residue or skin stippling or "tattooing" would be expected if an individual was shot within a few feet.

"I don't see any description of that," said Warren, who often works with pathologists on cases and was an EMT for 15 years. "My guess is it's not a contact wound or a close range wound -- that he was shot from a distance of several feet."

The Geragos & Geragos firm planned to file a civil suit in Alameda County Superior Court later this week, Meiselas said.

Pleasanton police Lt. Jeff Bretzing stated in a press conference two days after the shooting that Kunkel acted "in fear for his life" because Deming, undeterred by Taser strikes, was beating the officer near unconsciousness.

"We respect the findings of the District Attorney's report, and I want to express our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Deming Jr. I also want to communicate support for Officer Kunkel and his family through this time," Pleasanton police chief Dave Spiller said in a statement.

Deming's family argued that fatal force wasn't necessary and disputed the version of events presented publicly by Pleasanton police, alleging there were inconsistencies about where police initially found Deming, whether Kunkel was wearing a body camera, the extent of Kunkel's injuries and other allegations.

The DA's Office, which took the lead on the incident investigation under the county's protocol for officer-involved shootings, determined case evidence supported the conclusion that Kunkel "acted under the actual and reasonable belief that Mr. Deming Jr. posed a threat of death or great bodily injury to him," according to Monday's statement from Pleasanton police.

Kunkel was diagnosed with a concussion, bruises to his face and muscle strain in both his legs. He remained on paid administrative leave during the length of the investigation.

Spiller said Kunkel will remain on leave related to a work-related injury but will return to the department once he's recovered.

He also said the department does not intend to release body camera or security footage.

"Some of it is graphic, and out of respect for the Deming family and our own officers, we're not intending to release it," he said.

DA's Office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick declined to provide comment aside from the report.

In their statement announcing the DA's findings Monday, Pleasanton police said, "We hope that with the investigation complete and the final report released, the healing process can begin for the Deming family, the officers involved in the incident, and our community."

The Deming family filed a wrongful death claim against the Pleasanton Police Department in August and asked at that time that the case be handed over to the U.S. Department of Justice for investigation.

The police union, the Pleasanton Police Officers' Association, did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Associate editor Jeremy Walsh contributed to this report.

Comments

128 people like this
Posted by Jesse
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 22, 2016 at 6:10 pm

I smell a rat!


149 people like this
Posted by Ed Liman
a resident of Charter Oaks
on Feb 22, 2016 at 6:17 pm

The system is designed to allow cops to kill without accountability. Even if they are in no danger they only havge to say they "felt their life was in danger."
Whites think they are safe from this kind of danger but they are just sheep. This is a sad day for Pleasanton.


165 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 22, 2016 at 6:30 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I would like to see all the evidence used for the DA to make this determination. Even if the conclusion is accurate, there is still a problem when a person loses their life, particularly after indication he was a possible 5150.

Is there support for the young man actually being shot at close range?
How close was close range?
What is the threshold used to determine the officer "feared losing consciousness during the fight with Deming, which would lead the officer to lose control of his firearm 'and ultimately his death.'"
We're there any witnesses to the "fight"?
What will PPD be doing--should be required to do--so this is unlikely to occur again?

As I said before, I am willing to accept this outcome. But I want to see how the conclusion was made and for obvious changes changes in protocols to be made at PPD.


133 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 22, 2016 at 6:32 pm

I hope Office Kunkle is not allowed back on our streets! This is tragic! The family will and deserves win in the civil suit.


78 people like this
Posted by ATam
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 22, 2016 at 6:39 pm

This was the inevitable outcome. Sadly Not the right or moral outcome.


113 people like this
Posted by reasontofear
a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm

All he needs to say is he was, "in fear for his life" and a cop can kill you and get away with it too.


105 people like this
Posted by GWB
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 22, 2016 at 7:16 pm

legally justifiable does not make it right! I am so sad for the family. Sure seems disingenuous to suggest the lack of accountability can help the family heal.


88 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 22, 2016 at 8:12 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Unfortunate the young man died as a result of his actions after being given several chances to adhere to several officers directions, non lethal warnings, ultimately choosing to resist arrest and attack a police officer.

The call for accountability is correct, the focus of that request should be directed towards those that were with him leading up to the events that night.


110 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 22, 2016 at 8:24 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

PP, I guess I can't say it enough times: we know three things for certain. (1) Deming had no drugs in his system according to both autopsies. (2) Deming was identified on the police audio as a possible 5150. (3) it is not likely you can respond to commands from anyone if you are suffering a possible break from reality.


97 people like this
Posted by Lou Stuhle
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 22, 2016 at 8:37 pm

Lou Stuhle is a registered user.

kathleen, please enlighten us and tell us what the obvious changes should be based on your vast law enforcement, mental health, and forensic expertise (among other areas of expertise). i'm sure PPD would love to hear your suggestions.

a couple things to keep in mind while you formulate your ground breaking policy changes...

1) a person who is deemed worthy of a 72 hour hold per 5150 W&I, can still commit a crime. john george is full of people who are on criminal holds.

2) for a person to be placed on a 5150 hold, a full investigation must be done. if the police use the term "5150" on the radio to describe erratic behavior, that does not qualify as an investigation. it's simply a quick way to describe behavior without taking up a lot of radio time. had the suspect ultimately complied, the police would have been able to make that assessment. instead he chose to attack the officer.

3) pleasanton police officers already receive the critically acclaimed crisis intervention training offered by the oakland police department and the alameda county behavioral health care services. this is the current model for all progressive police agencies. it's the cream of the crop available at the present. the problem is that no matter how much training, no matter how many police are on the street, if a suspect makes bad choices and puts an officer in the position to choose their own life or the life of the suspect, bad things happen.

no, john deming did not "deserve to die", but either did the police officer. fortunately the DA's office still sees that even police officers have the right to defend themselves.


60 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 22, 2016 at 8:52 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Kathleen,
My mind can be changed, I do consider myself a rational person, however you've provided nothing to show this officer wasn't defending himself and at the end of the day this individual attacked an officer - crazy or not.


54 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 22, 2016 at 9:04 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

PP, We have nothing yet to confirm or deny what happened to the officer. There are other things we know, but require the whole story to make it clear. I don't consider you irrational.

Lou, I'll get back to you.


98 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 22, 2016 at 9:04 pm

DJohns is a registered user.

Many PPD officers have recieved CIT training, this would have been the textbook opportunity to use CIT to save this unarmed teenage boy's life. Sadly they did not follow CIT training July 5th, as a result a boy in crisis died. While the system is rigged and we knew this would be the outcome, it is sad and disappointing.


94 people like this
Posted by Pete Malloy
a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 22, 2016 at 9:11 pm

Pete Malloy is a registered user.

This officer is a hero in this community. You people that make asinine comments about "Cops getting away with it" have never been in fear for your your cowardly lives. In fact, you have never been truly scared for your life because you can call a man of courage like Officer Kunkle to ease your fear and do the things you're too scared to do.

The Pleasanton Police Department conducted a transparent investigation and correctly turned it over to the Neutral ALCO District Attorney's office to investigate and review this case.

If you think for a second, in this politically correct time, when cops are assumed to be guilty for doing their jobs the right way, you're out of your mind. There is so much scrutiny placed on law enforcement to reveal impropriety that cover ups are things of conspiracy theorists.


86 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 22, 2016 at 9:37 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Lou, "He chose to attack". Again, I don't see how he *chose" if he was not capable of reason.

For you point 1, I'll refer you back to my post from the interview of Chief Kevin Murphy. Deming deserved his day in court for his infraction, not death.

For your point 3, I understand being in the midst of an event is different than the training. But clearly something didn't work. I believe I was told there are several hundred 5150s in Pleasanton. What went wrong in this case? Where was the canine officer? Why did the officer get too close to Deming? Why didn't he wait for backup? I'm sure there are answers. I also understand the threshold for an officer feeling threatened is a fairly low bar.

Solutions, at a minimum the officer is retrained. A review of protocols, such as not engaging the person so closely that you need to shoot them and waiting for your backup person (they were there).

So Lou, I am trying to understand and I'm not trying to be a jerk. Someone died. We should all be trying to get it right so it doesn't happen to any family again. Not even you or yours.


86 people like this
Posted by Lou Stuhle
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 22, 2016 at 9:50 pm

Lou Stuhle is a registered user.

this is a point you fail to get time and time again. deming wasn't shot because he broke into the dealership. yes, for that he should have gone to court had he not chosen to fight. he was shot because he attacked a police officer. an attack vicious enough that our district attorney determined the shooting was in self defense. so one more time....HE WASN'T GIVEN THE DEATH PENALTY BY THE OFFICER FOR BREAKING INTO THE CAR DEALERSHIP. HE WAS SHOT BY THE OFFICER IN DEFENSE OF HIS LIFE. don't know how much clearer i can make that.

as for the officer being re-trained, what would he need to be re-trained in? i haven't seen anyone with knowledge of the facts and expertise in the field, say the officer did anything "wrong".

i know in a perfect world nobody would die and we'd all live happily ever after. here in reality, we try to mitigate the worst case scenario outcomes the best we can given our resources. 99% of the time that works out just fine. when the 1% happens, the yahoos come out of the woodwork and proclaim the cops are doing it wrong.


68 people like this
Posted by Pete Malloy
a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 22, 2016 at 10:07 pm

Pete Malloy is a registered user.

Ms. Ruegsegger, You are clearly a concerned citizen, however your understanding of erratic and unpredictable people is lacking.

Why do you assume "at a minimum the officer is retrained." what makes you believe the officer did something wrong? Why do you not assume Mr. Deming made the error to attack Officer Kunkle? Is a mentally ill (Allegedly) person any less dangerous to the officer and the public than a rational person? At what point can the officer defend his life so that he can go home to his wife and children?

You're focusing on the wrong person, analyze Mr. Deming's ACTIONS. Remove his "Choice" from the discussion. Rational or not, his actions posed a direct threat to the officer's life. The officer behaved courageously and admirably.

You're assuming the officer got too close, and not assuming Mr. Deming charged the officer. You're assuming this was a fair fight with rules, but street fights are anything but fair. My guess is you have never been in a fight for your life. I assure you, it will haunt you.

Chief Kevin Murphy is irrelevant, he wasn't there.




82 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 22, 2016 at 10:33 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

We've only got PPD assertions at this point. I want to see what the DA considered in making the decision. Low threshold for threat. A youth who may be suffering a detachment for reality. Still no death sentence.

Was the officer too close; could he have avoided the confrontation; where was the back up; could the officer have waited. Someone is dead; it is a tragedy.. SHOUTING doesn't change my wanting to know and expecting change.


38 people like this
Posted by Pete Malloy
a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 23, 2016 at 2:20 am

Pete Malloy is a registered user.

Again, you fail to ask the right questions, which shows your lack of understanding. You only want change, but you don't know what change you want, and you don't know why you want it, only that someone on CNN (Sorry, don't mean to shout, cnn)tells you it's the police that are the problem. And no one is shouting at you. It's called emphasis.


83 people like this
Posted by mike
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2016 at 5:11 am

mike is a registered user.

As a former police officer and K9 handler in a city the same size as Pleasanton, and if the incident went down as PPD said it has, then the situation was handled correctly.

Kathleen, I dealt with people who were “5150.” Some were very corporative and others wanted to fight. An officer never knew what “5150” he/she was getting when responding to the scene. And remember, a “5150”s personality can change in an instant. Deming might have sounded corporative in the business, but when the fight or flight mode kicked in, he decided to fight.

When Deming ran out of the back of the business where Kunkle was positioned, Kunkles instinct and training kicked in and he chased Deming. Kunkle did the right thing by Tasing Deming in an attempt to stop the chase and safely bring the situation to an end. It sounds/reads as if Deming stopped, turned and attacked Kunkle. All this could take place in a second, leaving Kunkle no chance to retreat or wait for his back up to arrive to assist. Remember the other offices had to run through the business or from the front of the business to get to where the encounter took place.

Kathleen, from experience responding to calls like this, there was not much more the officers could have done, other then maybe place two officers in the back of the business, but they did not have enough officers on scene to do this. The officers correctly used escalation of force by using Tasers, bean bag and K-9 in an attempt to take Deming into custody.

Kathleen, I understand your concern as a resident of Pleasanton, but no further training will be needed as a result of this incident.

On a side note Kathleen, PPD probably has only five or maybe six officers working the street at 2am. Do we know if any officers were on another call at the time of the burglary, thus cutting into the amount of officers responding to the scene?


56 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2016 at 7:44 am

BobB is a registered user.

@mike,

Thank for your comments regarding the perspective of a former police officer.

I think it is important to remember that in any field, methods and training can get out of date.

"The officers correctly used escalation of force ..."

But many police forces are now training verbal de-escalation skills.

Web Link

Such training could save lives.

I hope the Pleasanton police department looks into getting this kind of training for its officers. It could potentially have saved this person's life


88 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 23, 2016 at 9:13 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Pete, *emphasis* SHOUTING CNN is an acronym. Something appears to have gone wrong here and a young man paid with his life. Why wouldn't any citizen want to know how that could be prevented? There are hundreds of 5150s in Pleasanton; no one should lose their life.

I have asked what needs to be done to prevent events like this. My intention is to keep both officers and the other party(ies) safe (BobB makes one such suggestion). That neither glorifies Deming nor damns Kunkle. As to Chief Kevin Murphy, watch the interview (link on other thread). You dismiss him because "he wasn't there"; were you?

Mike, I appreciate your explanations. If the young man indeed was detached (no drugs) and had been hit with bean bags, tasered, and bitten by the canine already and still was combative, waiting for backup seems the more sensible thing to do. In saying fight or flight, and when flight isn't an option, it seems obvious a young man (again potentially detached from reality) would fight. I believe an officer could keep his distance in that case. I can even see where an officer would then shoot if approached, but does have to be lethal?

Where was the canine officer? How many officers were there? None of that has been released as far as I know. We know Livermore was called and an officer asking "where do you want me" is on the audio.

It was the wee hours following July 4th with the County Fair bringing in people from who knows where. What if the solution is just to have many more officers on duty that night? My fear is that absent a loss in a lawsuit from the Deming family, nothing is what will happen. Nothing will change and we could be back here with the same questions in the future.


91 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 23, 2016 at 9:19 am

EBurke is a registered user.

This is a Pleasanton Police Department FAIL! The killing of this unarmed teenager and the cover up of lies is shameful! Legally does not make it right!


91 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 23, 2016 at 9:23 am

EBurke is a registered user.

Legally excusable does not make it right!


85 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Transplant
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 23, 2016 at 9:49 am

Pleasanton Transplant is a registered user.

I really should stay off these forums. I get so angry at the hatred for police, fire and teachers in these forums.

All you armchair police officers, fire personnel and teachers get off your high horses. Police officers comes up on a "crazy" situation and have to make split second, life changing decisions. It sounds like they tried talking to him, used non lethal force and the suspect still continued to destroy property, and not listen to commands of law enforcement. He then busted out the back and tried to run.

Is law enforcement supposed to turn it down a notch when someone is erratic? Try to reason with someone who is not rational? Give them the chance to harm them or some innocent bystander? What if that man (yes, he was a man) ran into the neighborhood and busted into some nearby house because the officer, who he rushed, allowed the man to beat him and not use deadly force? You all would be screaming about that! So law enforcement can't win with you people!

These men and women go out daily and put their lives on the line to protect this community. Do you really think this officer woke up that morning hoping or wanting kill someone? Do you think that he is ever going to be the same? He killed someone. That will be with him forever.

But for the actions of this one "teenager" all of this would not have happened. A "teenager" would not be dead and this officer would not have to live each day knowing that he took a life.


99 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 23, 2016 at 10:36 am

DJohns is a registered user.

Our police have a responsibility to, and should be trained to, preserve life. John was a beloved son in crisis. If this had been handled properly he did not have to die. Asking that PPD be better prepared to respond to a citizen in crisis, in the future, is not being a cop hater, it is being a responsible citizen.
There is police protocol that, if used, would have likely had a positive outcome.

CIT POST training
Crisis Intervention Training - Commission on POST
Web Link


24 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2016 at 10:38 am

BobB is a registered user.

@Pleasanton Transplant,

"Is law enforcement supposed to turn it down a notch when someone is erratic? Try to reason with someone who is not rational?"

Please read the link I provided above. It addresses those questions.


66 people like this
Posted by Mav1
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2016 at 10:43 am

Mav1 is a registered user.

Lou , Pete...nice common sense real life understanding of the issue, thank you.

Kathleen and all you others who live your lives based on theory thinking and bleeding hearts... one thing you must understand is that while you get the privilege of feeling nice and safe in your home while you sleep at night, it's the cops across america who allow you to have that warm cozy feeling...please understand that to be a fact, which can be easily backed up by statisical evidence.

So when you or your fellow citizens start to question what cops do during the wee hours of the night I will give you a little insight....there all lots of crazy lunatics out there wandering around like zombies looking to do the world harm. Many are on drugs or mentally ill. Some are just very bad people who enjoy living as a criminal thug.

They are not like you at all, yet in the bubble world that you live in you want to believe that they are. They do not have reasoning skills like you do. They are not nice like you are. They are the complete opposite. They are dangerous and will harm you. You want to believe they are like you and every other law abiding citizen, but they are not. Do not try to compare your logic to theirs. This is why you are having such a hard time understanding what this officer did and why he is a true hero.

It's the cops who take on these very bad people and either arrest them for various crimes or warrants, many are already on probation or parole, or send them a stern message that it would be in their best interest to leave because the cops will be keeping tabs on him (her) all night.

The majority of these bad elements bow down to an officer's presence and ultimately decide it is in their best interest to comply. These types of contacts happen several times durning an officer's shift and are handled without much incident. These contacts you will never hear about as you peacefully wake up in your nice home, eat your breakfast and go about your normal rountines. Not ever realizing or even thinking for a second that it was the cops who kept you safe so you can enjoy your life.

Every once in a while one of these crazies decides to take on a cop. Now don't get me wrong, cops are the most courageous people we have on this planet, but they are people who can get hurt just like you and me. Because the courts understand the true nature of what cops do, they empower cops with the law and allow them to legally use the necessary force to take on these very bad thugs.

Sometimes it can get pretty ugly out on the streets when cops have to put their lives on the line and fight these thugs who choose not to comply. These cops cannot afford to lose the fight so....wait for it....yes, even shooting unarmed people can be legally justified.

Cops can pretty much hold their own, but every once in a while a thug will get the upper hand and will start smashing a cop's head into the ground or a wall. When this happens the cop has very few precious seconds to make a decision before going unconscious or dying. These decisions are rapidly taking place in the officer's head all the while the thug is trying to kill the cop. The cop can't afford to go unconscious because the thug will ultimately have access to the cop's gun and will likely use that gun to murder the cop. This thug would now be running through a community on a crazed mission and armed with a cop's gun....all bad.

Please understand this Kathleen and all her likewise thinkers, if this officer did not do what he had to do and was legally allowed to do, this officer would have likely been killed, which would have allowed a crazed man to run loose in YOUR neighborhood, possibly breaking into YOUR house and terrorizing YOUR family.

So instead of your peaceful nights rest in your cozy bed, you are instead woken up to this terror of a demon kicking in your front door and greeting you and your family. Good luck with trying to get to a phone and being able to call 911 (yes the cops) to come rescue you before the thug harms or even kills you and your family. Yes, this is something that can really happen in any community so please don't think for one second this would never happen in a "safe" city.

If this officer allowed that to happen, if cops in general allowed this to happen, civilians would get a real taste of the type of bad people cops have to deal with on an on going basis just so you can live a life of peace.

Hopefully with this new found insight you will have more respect and appreciate for law enforcement and all that they stand for! They are the true barrier between your peaceful life and the crazies out there. So the next time you rest your head on your pillow, send out a prayer to keep these cops safe out there so in return you can enjoy a peaceful nights rest.


72 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 23, 2016 at 10:51 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Mav1, There is no disrespect for any of those professions. The question remains, what can be done differently to keep both the officer and the offenders safe? The answer cannot be, "we're good."


25 people like this
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 23, 2016 at 11:07 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

Good Night Kathleen R. You are getting tiresome.


25 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 23, 2016 at 11:14 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

moose, thanks just the same; no.


11 people like this
Posted by runningguy
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 23, 2016 at 11:27 am

runningguy is a registered user.

The District Attorney made the right call based on the evidence at hand. We can speculate all we want but the DA has to deal with the evidence.

PPD has two big questions to answer:

1. Why weren't the body cams on?
2. Is there credibility to the statement "the lack of gunpowder residue or skin stippling or "tattooing" would be expected if an individual was shot within a few feet."


72 people like this
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 23, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Billie is a registered user.

As a resident I like to think that each and every person in the PPD has been thoroughly trained and psychologically vetted to handle any situation appropriately. I'd like to think that anyone who chooses to join a police department does so because they feel the calling to "serve and protect". Unfortunately, with the advent of cell phones, body cams and police car videos, it's apparent neither of those two thoughts are always true. Conversely, body cams and police car videos have also shown when police use of force is justified.

In April 2015, Livermore PD outfitted *all* of their 87 police officers with body cams. According to Livermore police spokesman Officer Ryan Sanchez, "Livermore's use of the cameras, which began on April 13, will allow officers to document incidents and interactions and obtain evidence during investigations. He said the department will be able to review the video footage [which is automatically uploaded at the end of each shift] to analyze critical incidents and as a tool to keep officers well-trained and prepared. In addition, the footage can be used when complaints are filed against officers. The footage could help clear officers if they responded appropriately to incidents but could also sustain complaints if their actions were improper, Sanchez said." Web Link

Regrettably, an earlier PW article reported that "[Lt.] Bretzing said the department had recently purchased body cameras for officers, but [Officer] Kunkel hadn't received one as of the incident."

Do I think that the PPD has a systemic problem of its officers using unnecessary force? Or maybe just a few problem officers? Or no problem at all? Frankly, I don't know. Just like every other person living in a town where police officers have used excessive/fatal force, unless you're directly involved, you only become aware of the problem when someone dies. And then only if their death is captured on video, and the PD, City, or District Attorney has the guts to go after the truth and act accordingly.

Tragically, with the death of John Deming, we will probably never know what circumstances put him in the place where he was killed. Since *only* Officer Kunkel and John Deming were present when the fatal shots were fired, getting to the truth of what actually happend at that crucial moment is just that much harder without video evidence. According to the police tape, the officer who did have a body cam turned it off about 5 1/2 minutes after shots were reported.

Does that mean we should not ask questions? Or not look for ways to ensure our PPD has received and is using the *training* and *tools* that protect them, us, and those they interact with? Or ensure that the District Attorney's investigation is transparent and thorough, and their findings published?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing." Edmund Burke
~~~~
Originally posted by me to the thread "John Deming - who could have helped?". Minor updates with this posting.


13 people like this
Posted by paine
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 23, 2016 at 2:06 pm

paine is a registered user.

Kathleen you just don't get it. For example:

"In saying fight or flight, and when flight isn't an option, it seems obvious a young man (again potentially detached from reality) would fight. I believe an officer could keep his distance in that case. I can even see where an officer would then shoot if approached, but does have to be lethal?"

Numerous problems with this and many other of your comments show your lack of understanding, lack of knowledge and life experience in anything remotely close to dealing with a situation like this. Do you question your Doctor like this when you go for an appointment?


13 people like this
Posted by Rodger
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Rodger is a registered user.

@ Mav1 - Excellent, couldn't have said it better!!


42 people like this
Posted by SteveO
a resident of Country Fair
on Feb 23, 2016 at 2:43 pm

SteveO is a registered user.

My philosophy to avoid problems with police is to follow 3 simple rules:

1) Don't commit crimes,
2) Follow instructions given to you by a police officer,
3) Don't attack a police officer.

When those 3 rules are followed, it is extremely rare and unlikely to have a confrontation with police or a problem with police.

But when any 1 of those 3 simple rules is broken, and especially if 2 or 3 of them are broken, the chances then go from extremely rare and unlikely, to extremely high and probable, that someone will be seriously injured or killed.

When someone breaks those rules, and especially if someone breaks rule #3, it creates a life and death situation. And it creates a situation where life and death decisions need to be made in a split second. Even an "unarmed" person attacking a police officer is within a split second from disarming the police officer, and taking his or her weapon, and then the situation is that the attacker is armed and the police officer is unarmed.

In this particular case, the young person physically attacked the officer, and was therefore conceivably within a split second or a second or two of disarming the officer, and then killing the officer. When someone puts an officer in that situation, the officer will shoot the person 100 times out of 100. It's absolute self-defense, because the officer is within a second or two of being killed or at least disabled.

Society in general, and many families in particular, are failing young people by not teaching them these basics. Instead, too many young people are either brought up to think, or allowed to think, that it's macho and their right to attack a police officer.

The young person here might have had mental illness. That might have contributed to his actions, and his ultimate death. But that didn't give the officer any extra options.

The young man's parents and friends seem to be the people who could have done more and should have done more. They were the ones who could have had him committed, or made certain that he got, or stayed on, medication.

I am sorry that a young life was lost. Let's work at fixing the problem in ways that are going to work. Blaming the police is directing the hurt at the wrong place. It's in vogue to bash the police. But people need to take more responsibility for their families and friends, and mental health programs need to be more involved.


33 people like this
Posted by Zenmonkman
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Zenmonkman is a registered user.

Let let state my concern on two levels.

First, it's important for law enforcement to create new methods of detaining criminal suspect beyond the current "Stop! Stop! Shoot! Kill! I say this not in response of making law enforcement wrong, but in the implications that occur after the fact.

That leads me to the second point. What follows a death is civil action. In this case, I can't help but see the settlement in the 7-8 figures, meaning millions of dollars. The community of taxpayers end up paying the bill ... regardless if there is criminality or not. That means we end up on the losing end of the fight.

So, when I say we must find additional options to what I call "Zero to Death" actions, it's not so much for civil liberties (although I believe that also counts), but more from the cost incurred by the community. WE PAY ... so we must be concerned to have these types of incidents have a different ending than DEATH.

It's time to put on our collective thinking caps, and move from attempting to find out who's more to blame, and more on "what are the alternatives we're missing" to create a less life-threatening, and less civilly expensive outcome.


16 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 23, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Paine, yes, I do. "There's a reason they call it a practice." Not sure who said that originally.


42 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth M
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 23, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Elizabeth M is a registered user.

Interesting social experiment- say this man broke not into a business, but into one of your homes? Say it was not people's cars he was vandalizing, but your own property? Perhaps your life was in danger? Your children's lives being threatened?How about an elderly parent? Maybe this person threw the car jack at you while you tried to protect them? The police have not arrived yet- maybe you had no time to even call before you realized someone was in your home. Remember you had been asleep. That's okay though- you can fall back on your vast experience and law enforcement training from social media. What if though, during this fight for YOUR life, you end up alive and the person who broke in dead? But...what if- in the face of an enraged man, your "verbal de-escalation skills" and CIT training somehow did not work as it does on social media? Would it be "right?" Would it be "moral?" Then, God forbid, what if you did not have a second to get your cell camera rolling? What then? It's just your word that your life was in danger? Why should I believe your injuries, the suspects actions, your neighbors security video? Maybe I just assume you are lying. You should have tried harder to stop him without harming him. Surely you had adequate time to work things out? You could have talked him down right? Now it's you and your good name on the line. What says you now?

I had my say- I am sure the holier-than-thou second guessing, and the blind flinging of blame will go on for quite some time. I'll see my way out. It is good to see there are some people out there who were not raised in fairyland though. And I know there are many law abiding citizens who choose not to jump into the pit and start flinging mud themselves. So on behalf of those good people, and my family and I, let me shout out a hearty thank you to the officer who literally risked his life while we rested safe in our beds after celebrating America's birthday. Thank God there are those out there brave enough walk the walk instead of merely talking about it.


35 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 23, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

"1) Don't commit crimes,
2) Follow instructions given to you by a police officer,
3) Don't attack a police officer."

Those are three good rules if you are in a proper frame of mind. As to what the parents *should* have done, this could have been their son's initial mental break, meaning they never got the opportunity to help him.

This is not about blaming an officer. Rather this tragedy could repeat without, as Zenmonkman said, putting "on our collective thinking caps . . . to create a less life-threatening . . . outcome."


53 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 23, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Elizabeth, it has been stated many times that *no* life should be in danger--not Deming, not the officer, not the neighbors.

As I suspect is the case in many homes, there is more protection in place than just reliance on the police being able to arrive in time. I trust our police officers to protect our community, but I don't expect they will be able to respond at the exact moment someone breaches the walls of any home. Should someone break in, I would wholeheartedly support that family protecting itself.


67 people like this
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 23, 2016 at 4:14 pm

Billie is a registered user.

Unfortunately, after reading the District Attorney's report, I continue to have questions regarding what happened. At the very least, as Livermore police spokesman, Officer Ryan Sanchez, noted in the article re: their deployment and use of body cams, this report is PPD's opportunity "to analyze critical incidents and [use them] as a tool to keep officers well-trained and prepared."

So, on page 7, the description of Officer Kunkel at the beginning of his shift includes the statement: "Officer Kunkel had a "Scorpion" video recording device affixed to his shirt beneath his collar in the center of his chest."

- PPD spokesperson Lt. Bretzing originally stated that Officer Kunkel had not yet been issued a body cam. Interesting given Officer Kunkel's further statements in the DA report regarding his body cam.

Also on page 7: "Officer Kunkel was the only officer positioned on the rear perimeter . . . He estimated he was positioned here for approximately five to ten minutes before he saw the individual flee the business."

And on page 10: "Officer Kunkel stated that he did not activate [his video recording device] because he was too busy focusing on the burglary and the suspect inside the building."

- Sergeant Gora managed to turn his Taser video camera on while also directing the officers on scene. Officer Kunkel was in position "five to ten minutes before he saw the individual flee the business" and did not turn his on. Why? Read on.

Officer Kunkel stated on page 10 that "in his experience the device commonly doesn't work and he has to look down to confirm that it is on. In his opinion, this is an officer safety issue because he is taking his eyes off someone who can hurt him."

- Officer Kunkel made a conscious decision not to activate his body cam. If his body cam in fact "commonly doesn't work", had he reported it? If he reported the problem, what did/is the PPD doing about it? If he hadn't reported the problem, why?

- Officer Kunkel was in position "five to ten minutes" before he needed to keep an eye on Mr. Deming Jr. Why didn't he at least attempt to activate his body cam?

Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20. A video of the situation would have been better. Another officer on site, "Officer Palmquist never had his ["Scorpion" video-body camera] recorder on." [page 17]

- Is this a training issue, a personal/personnel issue, or equipment failure that may or may not have been addressed?

""Less lethal" bean bags were deployed at Mr. Deming Jr. but did not strike him." [page 2]

"There was initially a malfunction with the "less lethal" shotgun but eventually one shot was fired . . ." [page 12]

- Again, is this an equipment issue that needs to be addressed, a training issue, or a combination of the two?

It was noted in the "Autopsy Protocol" section of the report that neither of Mr. Deming Jr.'s wounds had any "deposition of smoke or powder or evidence of burning." [page 30] Officer Kunkel's deposition notes that he shot Mr. Deming Jr. twice "[w]ith Mr. Deming Jr. on top of him and still striking him. [page 39]

Other than noting the above, there was no analysis or evaluation by the two-person Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) Team as to the lack of "deposition of smoke or powder or evidence of burning". Why?

Do I think that the PPD has a systemic problem with its officers using unnecessary force? Or maybe just a problem officer? Is there a situational or equipment training issue? Or a problem with the equipment the PPD officers are issued? Or no problem at all? Frankly, I *still* don't know. I can only hope the PPD has moved, or will move, quickly to address the issues identified in the DA's report in order to ensure our PPD officers have received, and are using, the *training* and *tools* that protect them, us, and, as appropriate, those they interact with.


14 people like this
Posted by no user name
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 23, 2016 at 4:23 pm

no user name is a registered user.

@Elizebeth M, nicely said. I have posted before that I am armed (and well trained in the use of guns) and if that person, or any person, came into my home I would not shout a warning, there would be no beanbags, no taser, no dogs. I would sit in position and wait for him to walk into range and I would then unload 6 rounds into him. No regrets. If you come into my home uninvited the only way you leave is dead.

The real difference here is that the police officer will not only do everything to preserve his own life, he will first make certain to protect yours. While the officer may be willing give up his own life to protect people like Kathleen, rest assured I am not. You, lady, are on your own.


36 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2016 at 5:20 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@no user name,

This isn't about someone breaking into your house. This is a different matter. Why would you, or anyone else object to the kind of training I linked to above? In engineering, technology, medicine, and many other fields, people retrain and keep their skills up to date. Training police to deal with the mentally ill can save lives.


58 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 23, 2016 at 5:37 pm

EBurke is a registered user.

"no user brain" is the poster child for gun control.


56 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 23, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

"people like Kathleen . . . you, lady, are on your own." I certainly hope this isn't a threat, no name. The next people at your door could be the PPD.


76 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 23, 2016 at 5:52 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Billie,

Thank you for doing the heavy lifting. All are good questions and valid points.

I'm still confused how the perp did not have any gun powder residue or burns on his face despite being shot at what effectively might be close to point blank range?

And you're fleshing out the video cam info is even more perplexing??

Thanks again!

Dan


16 people like this
Posted by no user name
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 23, 2016 at 7:27 pm

no user name is a registered user.

Oh please Kathleen, curb your paranoia. How is it a threat to say that I would not give up my life to save yours? I may think it was karma that no police officer would assist you in a similar incident, but I know that they would because that's what they do. They protect even those who don't appreciate their effort and hardly deserve it.


26 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 23, 2016 at 7:58 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Why wouldn't they help me?


6 people like this
Posted by mike
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2016 at 8:19 pm

mike is a registered user.

DHHSK:

A response to your question about the lack of gun powder burns. First, let me preference this by saying during a life and death fighting situation, the human mind does things that "shirks" still do not understand. That being said: It is possible Deming attacked Kunkle (spelled the name wrong in my first post) and is striking him about the head and face. First reaction by anybody is to push the attacker off. Kunkle is able to push Deming off. It is possible from this point Deming stood up and started to make a second attack on Kunkle. At this point Kunkle sees the attack coming and fires his weapon. Police officers are trained to fire at the torso and then head if the torso shot had no affect. I can tell you based on my experience at the range, shooting a paper target at nine feet left no gun powder residue, even with a .40cal. It is possible this scenario played out, but Kunkle does not remember it happening this way.


59 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 23, 2016 at 8:47 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Hi Mike,

I guess what you say is possible, but unfortunately the Police departments own statement does not say anything even remotely similar to your hypothesis, which is why this is so perplexing.

Dan


41 people like this
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 24, 2016 at 6:44 am

Billie is a registered user.

Dan,
Thanks!

I have high expectations for our PPD. I expect each and every person in the PPD to be thoroughly trained and well-prepared to handle all aspects of their job. I expect them to be provided with dependable, working, and appropriate tools to do their job. That doesn't happen by chance, but by being unceasingly vigilant and through hard work. I don't believe my expectations are any different than those Chief Spiller has for his people.

From Chief Dave Spiller's 2013 Annual Report: "As we look to the future, we strive to continually improve in an effort to make us even more effective and more efficient in our service delivery." Web Link

In May 2015 When Chief Spiller introduced the brand platform for the PPD he said, "This is something that I really wanted to do. Branding, I think, is a promise we make to the community." Officer Ken McNeill went on to say regarding the input they had solicited from the community, "One of the hardest things was the negative comments. We had to step back and take a hard look at what they were saying ... and a lot of what they had said, there was a lot of truth." According to Chief Spiller, all the data received was of huge importance to him. "What people say, how people feel ... having that information is so powerful."
Web Link

A strong PPD organization won't back away from questions, but will embrace the opportunity to identify gaps, and work on ways to make their people even stronger in the critical jobs they've chosen to do.


44 people like this
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 24, 2016 at 7:12 am

Billie is a registered user.

"It is possible from this point Deming stood up and started to make a second attack on Kunkle. At this point Kunkle sees the attack coming and fires his weapon." "It is possible this scenario played out, but Kunkle does not remember it happening this way."

Mike,
Have you taken a look at the DA's report? Officer Kunkel's deposition regarding what happened on July 5 2015 is very detailed and specific as to his interactions with John Deming Jr., including the point at which he fired his weapon. The "Statement of Officer Kunkel" begins on page 6 and continues through page 10. "The Altercation" is again spelled out in the "Analysis" section of the DA's report on page 39.

From page 39:
"Officer Kunkel stated that the use of his Taser on Mr. Deming Jr.'s forehead created enough space so that Officer Kunkel could rock his body slightly and pull his firearm out of his holster with his left hand. With Mr. Deming Jr. on top of him and still striking him, Officer Kunkel raised his right arm up slightly and fired his gun once at Mr. Deming Jr.'s body. Mr. Deming Jr. was still above him and attacking him when Officer Kunkel raised his right arm up slightly more and fired a second gunshot at Mr. Deming Jr. Officer Kunkel stated that Mr. Deming Jr. hit the ground a short distance away from him and stopped attacking him."

It was noted both in the actual Autopsy Report and in the "Autopsy Protocol" section of the DA's report [page 30], that neither of Mr. Deming Jr.'s wounds had any "deposition of smoke or powder or evidence of burning."

At this point, those are the facts as documented and available. There was neither an attempt to correlate nor evaluate these facts as they might relate to each other by the two-person Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) Team. While suppositions about what "really" happened will undoubtedly continue, I think, given the autopsy findings and Officer Kunkel's statements, it's more appropriate to ask, Why?


83 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 24, 2016 at 10:38 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I finished reading the report last night. There were ten officers at the scene (Kunkel, Gora, Middleton, Cobler, Palmquist, Sheldon, Paulsen, Bennett, Pitti), including one from LPD (Horton). Kunkel and Cobler were at the back, but not in sight of each other. There are comments from the interviews noting Kunkel speculating Deming would flee through the place he entered (which he did), leaving Kunkel alone at that point.

As pointed out, some officers did not turn on (or have?) body cameras. Other equipment also seems to have malfunctioned (less-lethal shotgun—bean bags, tasers, radio transmissions {“so much radio traffic” p. 10}). Some of this was due to human error “taser was on ‘safe’” (p. 8).

One officer notes Deming was on the ground five feet from Kunkel (p. 20).

Also, the canine was deployed after Deming was down with a bullet to the brain and gut. It is “inhumanly” *possible* for this young man to still be struggling, but there are several officers there, enough to subdue him for cuffing (p.20).

They use an AED (automated external defibrillator) on Deming (p. 28).

One officer who started to comment at the end of the incident, then shuts off his camera, and then later turns it on again (p. 29).

The description of the bullet wound to the head (p. 30) states the shot was “from the posterior (back) to the anterior (front).” That is bothersome to me in conjunction with Deming being five feet away. I don’t know if the video is available and this description could make perfect sense to someone with expertise.

On p. 34 Kunkel indicates he did not lose consciousness or black out.

On p. 44 there is a comment about Deming: “may be indicative of his troubled state of mind before he encountered Officer Kunkel outside the store.”

Are there other obvious things to change? Yes. While I don’t know how to improve radio traffic at a scene like this, I hope PPD will look for some answers. I do think protocols for body camera use need to be enforced. “. . . in his experience the device commonly doesn’t work and he has to look down to confirm that it is on” just isn’t acceptable. Waste some footage while getting to the scene (the LPD officer actually did—p. 28). Turning off your camera to make additional comments also isn’t acceptable. I think any equipment malfunctions need to be reported and repaired immediately. Perhaps officers should (maybe they already do) check all their equipment prior to starting their shift. No officer should go on duty without fully functioning gear.

At one point I asked whether we did our best by this young man. I think the answer is no. But I also believe we did not do our best by Kunkel either. He should not have been alone; he indicated he needed backup, and it was available given the number of officers present.

Now, how do we ensure changes are made? Will the PPD report to the community what they are correcting/fixing in the wake of this death and injuries to one of their officers?



22 people like this
Posted by Flightops
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 24, 2016 at 9:02 pm

Flightops is a registered user.

Sounds to me like there are a few residents here that feel they could do a better job as a police officer and maybe should think about signing up!!! Obviously they have lived a privileged life with lots of blue skies and butterflies, try putting on a different pair of shoes and open your eyes to the real world-- thanks PPD for continuing to do a great job, after doing 6 years of military service I know what you guys are dealing with and I don't envy you having to deal with all the naysayers and cry babies! Just wondering who they call for help when they are attacked, or their house or business is broken into??


42 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2016 at 10:15 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Flightops,

As far as I can tell, all you are saying is that anyone who makes any suggestions for improvements, or raises any questions concerning the conduct of any public servant, is a "naysayer and cry baby"?


82 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 25, 2016 at 10:51 am

EBurke is a registered user.

Ten girl scouts could have done a better job.
One cop was running from the dog while another one was chasing them. Kunkel was tangled in his own tazer wire. Disregard for bodycams. And a kid is dead.
The procop intimidation toward citizens is unamerican, is this North Korea where people need be afaid?


7 people like this
Posted by mike
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2016 at 8:44 pm

mike is a registered user.

EBurke: Are you one of those Girl Scouts or are you too scared to do the job your self? I would bet on the second. A lot of you people don't understand an active crime scene is fluid, changing by the seconds and life and death calls have to be made in seconds.

I understand some of you people are making recommendations on training and procedure and that's fine. But you anti-cop people, like EBurke, who think you can do better or think the PPD is a bunch of Barny Fifes, why don't you join the Citizens Police Academy and do some ride along's, I know your prospective will change.

So until you have been working the streets as a cop, your comments lack class and clearly no understanding.


72 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 25, 2016 at 10:24 pm

EBurke is a registered user.

Pleasanton PD is a good department, they do far more good things than not. The job requires a high degree of responsibility, they are trusted with guns. Being a cop is not a profession that "win some, lose some" is good enough. There is no number of good things that makes the death of this kid okay.
I live in a country where responsible citizens call for accoutability and speak out when a wrong is done. Reading that investigative report it is clear that department accountability is needed.


8 people like this
Posted by mike
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2016 at 3:04 am

mike is a registered user.

Burke:
Thanks for back tracking on your Girl Scout comment. No the death of the fleeing felon is not ok but it is acceptable under current laws. If this fleeing felon had acted like the four felons in the gun shop burglary, two of which were driving away, in Milpitas the other day, he would still be alive.

Yes I do agree PPD did change their statements a few times, making them look like their covering something up, but in defense of them, this is the first officer involved shooting where someone died in I don’t know how long.


70 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 26, 2016 at 11:51 am

EBurke is a registered user.

PPD is a good department of good people, no one wanted that kid dead. In the same way a doctor can't save some lives and screw up on others, then call it even, it is wrong to move forward as though this death is incidental. This was not a good job and there are no heroes in this case.
"One officer says, "Hey, let's get the wrap up here because he is saying he is a mountain lion and sh*t, so..." Other officers are heard saying they'd get it later". This was the point that could have saved a life and created heroes.
This teenage kid was not a felon. Mens rea is a legal term that describes the mental state a person must be in while committing a crime for it to be intentional. The DA determined John was experiencing a "troubled state of mind". That is a guarded way of saying he was in psychosis. If John had gone to court he would not have been found guilty of a crime, he would have received medical help.
Cops are not drafted, they choose their job. We want them to have every tool and training possible to keep them safe. Thier job is to interact with people at their worst and protect people at their most vulnerable. To continue to blame this kid for his death magnifies the wrong that has been done to him and his family.


61 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 26, 2016 at 11:51 am

EBurke is a registered user.

PPD is a good department of good people, no one wanted that kid dead. In the same way a doctor can't save some lives and screw up on others, then call it even, it is wrong to move forward as though this death is incidental. This was not a good job and there are no heroes in this case.
"One officer says, "Hey, let's get the wrap up here because he is saying he is a mountain lion and sh*t, so..." Other officers are heard saying they'd get it later". This was the point that could have saved a life and created heroes.
This teenage kid was not a felon. Mens rea is a legal term that describes the mental state a person must be in while committing a crime for it to be intentional. The DA determined John was experiencing a "troubled state of mind". That is a guarded way of saying he was in psychosis. If John had gone to court he would not have been found guilty of a crime, he would have received medical help.
Cops are not drafted, they choose their job. We want them to have every tool and training possible to keep them safe. Thier job is to interact with people at their worst and protect people at their most vulnerable. To continue to blame this kid for his death magnifies the wrong that has been done to him and his family.


38 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 26, 2016 at 1:35 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

"Cops are not drafted, they choose their job."

Exactly.

Well said EBurke.


8 people like this
Posted by mike
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2016 at 7:19 pm

mike is a registered user.

Burke: With the information the police HAD AT THE TIME, he was a felon. IF he was not shot and killed but rather arrested, he would have been booked into Santa Rita with a felony charge of Burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and assault on an officer and possibly other charges. The DA has the option to drop those charges to a misdemeanor or no charges at all. As far as the cops on the scene, this kid was a dangerous felon trying to escape the scene.


60 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 26, 2016 at 8:18 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Mike, have you read the DA's report? He was announced as a 5150 and a need for a "wrap." No matter, Deming deserved his day in court, not in a morgue. List all the charges you want, they did not add up to a death penalty.


60 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 26, 2016 at 10:39 pm

EBurke is a registered user.

John was a suspect not a felon. He has never been arrested, you are not judge and jury.
At the time the officers knew he was unarmed, they could see his hands, John said "I have nothing, I mean you no harm." The officers recognized his behavior was indicative of a 5150. 10 Highly trained professionals


62 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 26, 2016 at 10:42 pm

EBurke is a registered user.

10 highly trained professionals should have been able to handle the situation better.


6 people like this
Posted by mike
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2016 at 3:15 am

mike is a registered user.

Burke: You live in a dream world where violence does not happen. If a guy kicked down the door to your home and said he means you no harm, but then throws a chair at you would you believe him? or would you call 911 if you had the chance? Get a dose of reality Burke, bad things happen, people want to do harm to others, even in quiet Pleasanton. Those three thugs in the Stoneridge Mall parking lot only wanted to talk to the three girls. Should the girls stopped and talked to them? Unlike you, their instinct told them something was not right and walked away and they still got jacked.


63 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 27, 2016 at 7:55 am

EBurke is a registered user.

Read the report. This was not a home invasion and there were 10 cops trained in mental health response. The kid was on all fours growling and saying he was a mountain lion. CIT protocol is keep a distance, deescalation there was no need to rush and cause panic.
If you read the report you might wonder why, with ten cops on scene, when the kid was shot once in the abdomen and once through the brain, dying, bleeding out, it seemed necessary to command the dog to bite him for good measure. I live in America and that seems barbaric.


4 people like this
Posted by mike
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2016 at 8:37 am

mike is a registered user.

Burke: that is all a mute point when you attack a cop and start beating him. And no I did not read the report. Enough of you people did and posted parts of it, that is where I obtained my information. You keep citing CIT. That is all great and dandy that these cops MAYBE had 80 hours of CIT training but there is a big deference from training in a classroom to dealing with a mentally ill person on the street. I must compliment you Burke, your an All Pro Monday Morning QB.


63 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 27, 2016 at 10:22 am

EBurke is a registered user.

Autopsy evidence contradicts the claim that John beat the cop. The inexcusable disregard of bodycams conveniently leaves no way of knowing what really happened. We do know the cops disregarded their own instincts to "get the wrap".

I do agree that only 36 hours of mental health response training verses the hundreds of hours of ongoing assault training could be the problem.
Since you will not read the reports you are not able to participate in the same informed conversation with the rest of us.


23 people like this
Posted by Billie
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 27, 2016 at 10:43 am

Billie is a registered user.

With the advent of cell phones, body cams and police car videos it's apparent that the so-called "bubble" and "dream" world out there is really the one in which good people close their eyes, choose not to read reports written from the official depositions of the individuals involved, make suppositions about what "really" happened, and then chastise everyone else for asking questions. Unfortunately, recent DOJ investigations into questionable deaths have shown how problematic that is.

Once again, a strong PPD organization *will not* back away from questions, but will embrace the opportunity to identify gaps, and work on ways to make their people even stronger in the critical jobs they've chosen to do.


5 people like this
Posted by Lou Stuhle
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 27, 2016 at 11:10 am

Lou Stuhle is a registered user.

eburke, what do you think the wrap is and what difference do you think it would have made were it there?


57 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 27, 2016 at 11:47 am

EBurke is a registered user.

I have seen the wrap used. It is a large Velcro blanket used to restrain a person in psychosis. What the comment represents is that they recognized they were dealing with a 5150 and neededicated to rethink what they were doing.
There were TEN cops, one confused unarmed kid. Keep blaming the kid and nothing changes.


6 people like this
Posted by Lou Stuhle
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 27, 2016 at 9:29 pm

Lou Stuhle is a registered user.

WRONG. it's used to restrain combative, resistant people, AFTER they've been handcuffed. if that person is drunk, high, mentally disturbed, or just an a$$hole, it doesn't matter. the fact that the sergeant felt other things were a priority rather than taking a person out of the situation to get the wrap, doesn't mean the MAN's bizarre behavior was being ignored.


37 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 27, 2016 at 11:17 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Lou,

EBurke was specifically asked what the "wrap" was. He described its physical appearance and one of its uses.

That he did not go into detail does not mean he is wrong, it only means that you are being overly reactive.

Dan


58 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 28, 2016 at 8:08 am

EBurke is a registered user.

Lou, you are entrenched.
Have you read the full investigative report and autopsy report? DO you believe we owe unquestioned power and support to the police department? Are you confident that police departments and government will always do the right thing without citizen oversight?
If you have read the report do you have any concerns? Are you comfortable with the officers disregard of bodycams? If Officer Kunkel had turned his on we would understand why the autopsy report conflicts with his statement. If his statement is supported on video the City (taxpayers) would not be as likely to pay millions in a civil suit.
Are you comfortable with commanding the dog to attack a suspect shot through the head and abdomen knowing there were ten officers on scene.


44 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 28, 2016 at 9:28 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Maybe to de-escalate here: Did we do right by Deming? No. Did we do right by Kunkel? No.

My expectation, Lou, is that the City and the PPD review that evening's events and announce to the community the changes that will be made. It is clear changes are needed (outlined above from the report). Nothing will undo what happened, but we *can* and *must* ensure it does not happen again. That is what any rational being would do--admit we failed nearly all of the officers and this young man and make adjustments. Why would anyone believe less than than is acceptable?

If you are an elected official or a member of PPD, you should be posting with your real name and stand before this community when you state your beliefs.


1 person likes this
Posted by mike
a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2016 at 9:53 am

mike is a registered user.

I wonder if there would be this much conversation if the fleeing felon, yes he was a felon at the time, was high on drugs or a non white kid. I don't think so.

Yes the cops made some tactical errors but that happens in a fluid crime scene, regardless of how much training one has. i'am know PPD did an after action review and some changes will be made, mainly make sure cameras are working and are on. Are they going to send all there patrol officers to another 40 hour crisis intervention course, I doubt it. Will the K9 handler be told not to deploy his K9 on a person on the ground, nope. Are they still going to handcuff a suspect that has been shot, yes

Don't hold your breaths people for big changes because it is not going to happen

On a side note, there is not much difference in actions of a person 11550 H&S
(high on drugs) and a 5150 W&I. 5150 only covers a) unable to care for self, b) danger to others, and c) danger to self.


53 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Feb 28, 2016 at 10:20 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Mike, it has worried me that concern might be low because this wasn't "one of ours". No matter the charges, drugs or not, white, brown, or purple, it was the failures that caused this death. We really shouldn't let this pass.


46 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 28, 2016 at 10:53 am

EBurke is a registered user.

Ask a lawyer:
Web Link
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
He will not be considered a felon until he is convicted of a felony. It should not appear on any background check until there is a conviction. Answer Applies to: California

Drug use or color does not change value. Although there would be even more condemnation from haters.


1 person likes this
Posted by Lou Stuhle
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 28, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Lou Stuhle is a registered user.

dan, that you gloss over eburke's omission of the other uses for the wrap is telling (of both of you).

there are things that people who want to find fault with the police will cling onto in an effort to say, "SEE? I TOLD YOU THEY WE"RE WRONG!" one by one, most get shot down and they'll move onto the next thing. this wrap thing is a non-starter.


1 person likes this
Posted by Lou Stuhle
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 28, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Lou Stuhle is a registered user.

and it's hilarious that when asked what the wrap is used for, eburke gives 1/2 an answer that he thinks will validate his stance. but when someone calls a person who commits a felony (but not yet convicted), eburke wants to break out the dictionary. LOL!!!!


39 people like this
Posted by EBurke
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 28, 2016 at 5:45 pm

EBurke is a registered user.

So not worthy of response.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Couples: "Taming Your Gremlin" by Richard Carson
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,238 views

Thoughts on the state of the economy
By Tim Hunt | 2 comments | 465 views