News


Family of teen fatally shot by Pleasanton PD officer sues city, department

Civil complaint demands jury trial to determine punitive damages after officer cleared of criminal charges

The parents of a 19-year-old man fatally shot by a Pleasanton police officer downtown last summer are suing the police department and the city for wrongful death, claiming action should have been taken to prevent the teen's death during the violent encounter with police.

In a civil complaint filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Monday, the family of John Deming Jr. requested a jury trial to determine financial damages related to the San Jose man's death.

Deming was killed during the early-morning hours of July 5 after police found him inside a Pleasanton car dealership while responding to a burglary report. The man was found unarmed but jumping on cars and acting erratically to the point that some officers questioned if he was in the middle of a mental-health crisis, according to investigators.

He was later shot by Officer Daniel Kunkel during an altercation outside the downtown dealership. County prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against Kunkel, determining the officer acted in lawful self-defense.

The Deming family's 17-page complaint, which alleges wrongful death and civil rights violations, names the city of Pleasanton, the Pleasanton Police Department, Kunkel and five other police officers as defendants. The suit does not specify requested financial damages, but it asks that a jury determine that amount.

Pleasanton police chief Dave Spiller and interim city attorney Julie Harryman each said Tuesday they could not comment on the matter because of pending litigation.

The lawsuit contends use of deadly force was not necessary since Deming was not a violent person, some officers on scene thought he might be experiencing a mental-health crisis, and he did not have any drugs in his system.

"The facts will show that Officer Kunkel was mentally unstable, panicked when he saw John Jr. fleeing from the K9 that was chasing him, and unreasonably shot and killed John Jr. without any justification or privilege," according to the complaint, filed on behalf of Deming's parents, John Deming Sr. and Linda Stasi.

The Deming family is represented by the Los Angeles-based law firm Geragos & Geragos, best known for representing celebrities such as Chris Brown and Michael Jackson.

The attorneys said that before the shooting, Deming was on his way from his mother's home in San Jose to his father's home in Oakdale, where he planned to work that summer but found himself overcome by "emotional issues as he was set to go off into the workforce."

Around 2 a.m. July 5, Pleasanton police responded to a burglary alarm at Specialty Sales Classics car dealership on First Street and saw Deming inside. After attempts to bring Deming in peacefully, police used Tasers, bean bag rounds and a police dog to stop him, according to police accounts and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office investigation.

Deming then ran out through a broken back window and encountered Kunkel outside, who ordered the 19-year-old to stop, according to police. After a chase and an attempt to shock Deming with a Taser, Deming allegedly charged at Kunkel.

Kunkel tried to stun Deming with a Taser to the forehead, but Deming kept punching Kunkel, the officer told investigators. Kunkel then fired three shots toward Deming when he felt himself losing consciousness, police stated.

Two of the bullets hit Deming one in the face, one in the abdomen. The teen was taken to Eden Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.

The DA's Office investigated the fatal shooting during the following seven months and decided in February that no criminal charges would be filed against Kunkel -- who returned to work on "modified duty" assigned to investigations during the first week of March, according to Spiller.

The investigation concluded Kunkel believed lethal force was necessary because he felt his life would be in danger when he passed out, according to deputy district attorney Kevin Wong's final report.

In an interview with a DA's investigator, Kunkel stated he fired his gun at Deming when he was in fear of his life. The officer said at the point that he pulled the trigger, Deming was on top of him, punching him to the point of unconsciousness, which would result in the officer losing control of his firearm, according to the DA's Office report.

Deming's parents disagreed with the DA's Office findings and followed through with their objections by filing the lawsuit Monday.

The civil complaint described Deming as a "loving teenager, and his loss has and will continue to bring great and severe damages to his parents." It also points out that an Alameda County Coroner's Bureau autopsy and a third-party autopsy paid for by the Deming family both concluded there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol in the teen's system.

The suit alleges Kunkel was dealing with "emotional injuries" after serving in the military in Iraq and that Kunkel had sued his previous employer, the Antioch Police Department, for "emotional distress."

The complaint also notes the lack of evidence in either autopsy for skin "tattooing" or the presence of gunpowder residue, which would be expected in a contact or close-range shot. Deming family lawyers further question why Kunkel didn't have his department-issued body camera on, which could have clarified his story.

The DA's investigation determined Kunkel didn't turn the camera on because he felt it was unreliable and was too focused on responding to the burglary.

"Officer Kunkel's convenient and suspicious failure to activate his bodycam, as required by Department protocol, is all the more alarming given that none of the forensic and scientific evidence of the murder of John Jr. match with Officer Kunkel's version of events," the complaint reads.

The Deming family's lawyers are also seeking compensation following police action at Stasi's home after the shooting, an incident in which she was allegedly handcuffed for two hours and held at gunpoint before being told her son was dead.

In addition to Kunkel, the lawsuit also lists Pleasanton police Sgt. Eric Gora and officers Mark Sheldon, Tyler Paulsen and Bradley Palmquist as defendants. It also names an "Officer Bennett" without providing a first name, as well as leaves open the possibility of naming up to 50 additional defendants pending subsequent investigation.

Ben Mieselas of Geragos & Geragos said the timeline for the first court hearing in the civil case is expected to be between three and four months.

Kunkel was placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

Comments

116 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 9:13 am

DJohns is a registered user.

I am glad John's family have good attorney's, they deserve Justice, their son did not need to die.


91 people like this
Posted by I'm awake
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 5, 2016 at 9:28 am

DJohn:
Their son didn't need to break into a private business in the middle of the night and intentionally damage classic cars, also privately owned, evade arrest and then attack a police officer.
Lets be reasonable and start with who shouldn't have done what first, shall we?


58 people like this
Posted by huggy bear
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 9:34 am

DJohns,

Were you there that night when this altercation took place? Perhaps this young man did not need to die but unless you were there to witness what occurred let's see what a court of justice has to say before you make comments that cannot be justified.


109 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2016 at 9:37 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Forensics will play a key role in this case.

Nobody has been able to explain how no gun powder residue or burning had appeared on the deceased mans body even though he was allegedly on top of Officer Kunkel.

The sad part is that we, as a city, will pay the bill. "Other peoples money" is so easy to spend. Just ask any government employee.


49 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 9:46 am

His death was a direct result of his actions. With or without drugs, with or without alcohol, with or without a mental breakdown -- the cops did not drive to his home, pull him out of bed and shoot him. He broke into the building, he damaged the cars, he refused to stop what he was doing, he died. Pretty simply. Did he deserve to die? Probably not. Did HIS actions CAUSE his death? Absolutely.


23 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 5, 2016 at 9:53 am

@DKHSK: "Nobody has been able to explain how no gun powder residue or burning had appeared on the deceased mans body even though he was allegedly on top of Officer Kunkel. "

I see that in addition to all of his other talents (e.g., climate science expert, political pundit), that Formerly Dan is also a forensics expert. Tell us, expert Dan: What is the precise maximum distance range at which you would expect to see power residue or burning for the particular type of gun and ammunition that Officer Kunkel had on that night? Also, please explain why you conclude that if John Deming was in the act of beating Officer Kunkel into the ground that the distance from the gun to the point of impact on John Deming could not have been a foot, or two feet, or more at the precise instant that the gun was fired?


47 people like this
Posted by Gina Channell, Publisher
president of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Apr 5, 2016 at 10:25 am

Gina Channell, Publisher is a registered user.

Damon,
We addressed that in the Feb. 26 story about the DA's determination.
Web Link

According to the story:
Forensic anthropologist Michael Warren, of the University of Florida C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory, reviewed 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."


7 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 5, 2016 at 10:49 am

@Gina

Gina, you quoted the opinion of ONE forensic expert who offered his opinion based on an autopsy report which did not include any specific information on the make of the gun or ammunition, and even then his answer was hardly precise. What is "several feet"? Two feet? Three? Four? And if a man of John Deming's size is attacking another man who is prone on the ground with a gun, who is to say whether the distance between the gun and the attacking man's head or could not have been up to five feet away?


103 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 10:58 am

DJohns is a registered user.

Read the reports!!!!
There is no eveidence that John attacked anyone. The autopsy report makes the police statement impossible.

From the COP perspective, DOJ police reform:
Web Link
"Police officers should be trained to recognize symptoms of mental illness, and to understand that mental illness can impair a person’s ability to understand a police officer’s orders."
"Law enforcement is held accountable to respond to people in mental health crisis in a way that is Constitutional."


15 people like this
Posted by I'm awake
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:12 am

People who go off half cocked put our good law enforcement professionals in jeopardy with arm chair quarterbacking. STHU and let the professionals do their job.
If there is wrong doing, the courts will deal with it. Meanwhile, you ARE not helping.


99 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:21 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Uh, Damon, according to the police report, the perp was ON TOP of the officer beating him about the face. Now explain how there was no residue or burns from that close of distance, almost point blank range.

Read the police report, and do your own research. Let us know if you find conflicting info, ok genius?

Sincerely.


104 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:30 am

DJohns is a registered user.

An unarmed teenage boy, experiencing a psychotic episode was killed. If there is no accountability, with a public commitment to correct the mistakes that where made, there can be no confidence that it won't happen again. Excessive use of deadly force is epidemic, Pleasanton is not immune. Sadly it is an important and responsible conversation to have.


39 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:31 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

Here Damon:

Web Link

First hit on gun forensics. Enjoy.


6 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:34 am

@"I'm awake" : "People who go off half cocked put our good law enforcement professionals in jeopardy with arm chair quarterbacking. STHU and let the professionals do their job."

The sad thing is this: The forums on this incident all started out with people questioning whether or not the police handled this matter in the best way possible considering the fact that the youth, John Deming, may have been suffering from some sort of mental illness. Fair enough. The police should always be looking into ways in which they better perform the jobs that have been entrusted to them. But now we're seeing something very different from what this all started out to be.

What we're hearing now are clear insinuations that the Officer Kunkel, the policeman beaten into the ground by John Deming, falsified his official police report on the incident and may even have committed cold-blooded murder of John Deming by shooting him at a range which would not have been consistent with a claim of self-defense. And what is the backing for these insinuations?: The opinion of a forensic anthropologist in Florida who took a look at the autopsy report (which focusses exclusively on the study of the body of the deceased and does not include other critical information) and various armchair experts here on forensics. Is it fair to start shredding the reputation of a Pleasanton Police officer with insinuations that he may have lied on his official police report and even committed cold-blooded murder based on the opinions of armchair forensic experts and a single forensic anthropologist in Florida? Apparently, to many here it is.


73 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:35 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

I'm Awake,

Yes, lets NEVER question authority because they ALWAYS know what's best, right?

I guess that dude who got beat in that alley way in SF a couple weeks ago had it coming, yes? The deputies were bribing the only eyewitnesses with the perps gold jewelry but, hey, that's ok, the police are the professionals, right?!

/sarc.


5 people like this
Posted by I'm awake
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:36 am

DJohn:
A psychotic episode? We know this as a fact? Is that the new excuse for bad behavior?


78 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:39 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

So questions = "insinuations" now eh, Damon?

I guess we should NEVER have questions. Oh, heaven forbid we have questions!

"Just accept what the professionals have to say and shut up", says Damon and all the other wannabe alphas.

Rich


7 people like this
Posted by I'm awake
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:42 am

DKHSK:
I didn't say that, I said let them do their job.....these forums do more harm than good with way too many villianizing the police. This only exacerbates the problem by emboldening the criminals who cry police brutality at every opportunity.


86 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:44 am

Other news sources have quoted experts saying that autopsy results contradict Kunkel's statement.


76 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:44 am

Other news sources have quoted experts saying that autopsy results contradict Kunkel's statement.


19 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2016 at 11:48 am

Let's be honest about what the lawsuit is really about.

(1) The family is angry and wants to blame their son's death on something other than their son's behavior.

(2) The law firm is out to make a name for themselves by taking on high-profile cases, like they did with Stacey Peterson some years ago.

(3) The trial-by-jury is the best way to have emotions enter into the decision. What juror isn't going to be moved by that picture of smiling John Deming in the football uniform that we've all seen?


107 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 12:03 pm

DJohns is a registered user.

Ignorance of mental illness is disappointing, but it is inexcusable for police. Police are trained to recognize and understand that when a person is experiencing cognitive confusion, it is not a choice, they can not respond rationally to commands. John was not capable of being rational, he thought he was a mountain lion.
Two officers on scene recognized that John was having a psychotic episode, they discussed it then chose to disregard their deescalation training, training that could have saved this boys life. It is the trained professionals who are making excuses for their bad behavior?

A beloved son was killed, his family deserves justice. Our community deserves accountability.


4 people like this
Posted by I'm awake
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 5, 2016 at 12:08 pm

DJohns:
You make a lot of assumptions there DJ and represent them as facts.
This is the kind of dangerous quarterbacking I was talking about.


94 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 12:09 pm

DJohns is a registered user.

READ THE REPORT!
The DA's report made two references to the FACT that John was experiencing a mental health crisis.


2 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm

@DJohns: "READ THE REPORT! The DA's report made two references to the FACT that John was experiencing a mental health crisis."

You know very well that the police are not professional psychologists or psychiatrists and are no more qualified to render a professional, clinical judgement that someone is in a "mental health crisis" than you are. What they may have said or reported was that they had a person who was "acting crazy" or the equivalent police lingo for that. But for all they knew at the time, the person could have been "acting crazy" for any of a number of reasons, including alcohol, drugs, a bad breakup with a girlfriend or, yes, even a "mental health crisis".


9 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Apr 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Sounds like we have a couple people out there who don't know what the real world is like out there and maybe should sign up for the next class of rookie police officers and go out there and show the world how they can do a better job!!! I would love to get on that jury and keep a bunch of fancy lawyers from getting my cities dollars, get ready for the old shell game with the pea under only one of the walnut shells. Too bad it's so easy for our city to just write a check!


108 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 12:26 pm

DJohns is a registered user.

READ THE REPORT!

Hanging from the rafters, down on all fours growling and claiming to be a mountain lion, Officer Paulsen recognized there were “big red flags”, “there is something wrong with this guy.” Officers say “5150, let’s get a wrap,” other officers say we’ll get it later.
They knew this boy was unarmed and disturbed but they continued the attack. Because he did not comply? They knew he was not in a rational state. Deescalation protocol is to back off and give him space, do not cause a panic. They were in no danger if they kept a distance.

Web Link They are trained!!
"Police officers should be trained to recognize symptoms of mental illness, and to understand that mental illness can impair a person's ability to understand a police officer's orders."
"Law enforcement is held accountable to respond to people in mental health crisis in a way that is Constitutional."

The danger is without accountability it can happen again.


6 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 5, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Found this on the San Jose Mercury News in a story about the case:

"He (John Deming) was "grappling with emotional issues," related to leaving his music career, the complaint stated."

Web Link

Now that sheds a bit different light on this matter doesn't it? No, even the Deming family lawyers don't claim that John Deming was suffering from "psychosis" or some terrible mental breakdown from reality. Rather, John Deming was suffering from "emotional issues" due to problems with his music career. Acting out angrily but in full control of one's senses is quite a different matter than being in a "psychotic" state of mind where one is completely divorced from reality. Beating an officer in the latter case can be excused as temporary insanity. Beating an officer in the former case is a crime.


43 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2016 at 1:26 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Map,

I have ridden with and trained martial arts with many police officers over the years. One of my friends from high school recently retired from a local police force. Modern police training has come a long way from what it was 30 years ago. We are getting way better at dealing with mental illness, but clearly there is much room for improvement.

Most cops are good cops, but there are bad ones too. I have personally witnessed loathsome behavior from a police officer who, as far as I know, was never punished.

People are right to question statements put out by police departments and people are right to question the behavior of officer Kunkel that night.

And to those people saying it was this teen's actions that caused his death should also remember that it was officer Kunkel's action that brought him this attention from the courts, from the press, and from these forums.


92 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2016 at 1:39 pm

and letting a dog bite him after beanbagging, tasering, handcuffing and shooting him
thru brain and abdomen...how do these officers sleep at night?


39 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2016 at 1:39 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Damon,

You said:

"No, even the Deming family lawyers don't claim ..."

But the article says nothing of the sort. The article doesn't claim that family lawyers say he didn't have a psychotic break. It doesn't say that anywhere at all.

It does say, " the Pleasanton Police department, which lacked any training in de-escalation protocols on dealing with individuals with mental health issues, decided to shoot at the unarmed John Jr. with Tasers and beanbag guns"

It may have been that lack of training that cost Deming his life, and will cost us all tax dollars if this lawsuit is successful. What a shame.


6 people like this
Posted by I'm awake
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 5, 2016 at 1:52 pm

....and the criminal apologists continue....its sickening.


122 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 2:23 pm

DJohns is a registered user.

I find the lack of accountability by our trained professionals disturbing.
But even worse... the vilifying of an unarmed teenage boy, who needed help, and is now dead.

"John Jr. stated to officers he was unarmed and came in peace,"


100 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 5, 2016 at 2:44 pm

"No offensive bruising on John's hands contradicts Kunkel's version of events" In 45 pages of statements and video narative from DA report, not one mention of blood on Kunkel. If John was on top of Kunkel when he was shot through the brain, Kunkel should have been soaked in Johns blood. No mention of Kunkel's blood from getting punched in the face. No split lip or bloody nose. Doctors follow up appointment says no evidence of the trama that you would see after getting punched in the face.
There is no evidence that John attacked Kunkel.


2 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm

OK, well it comes out in the open then and is explicitly stated: Doug here believes that this isn't merely a case of the police not being properly trained. Doug believes that Officer Kunkel committed a cold-blooded murder of John Deming. Anyone else want to join in with him on that?


106 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Anyone who is commenting here should read the DA's report and the official autopsy. The first bean bag gun didn't work; the second gun worked but they never hit Deming. The tasers used also were spotty and don't appear to have connected to Deming (perhaps he wore thick clothing). And Kunkel indicated he needed backup. There is a protocol for not pursuing a perpetrator until backup arrives. There were ten officers and a dog on the scene; certainly enough to have prevented an officer from being on his own; plenty of time for Kunkel to wait; and plenty of time to give this young man a day in court instead of being shot to death. Yes, we should ask questions. Yes, we should expect more from our police department regarding equipment viability and additional training. This deserves our attention as a community because we don't want this to happen to someone in our family--officer or son.


24 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2016 at 3:12 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@"awake",

Care to address anything I said, or just call people names?


87 people like this
Posted by Doug
a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 5, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Damon, you're a tool. I am saying Kunkel got tangled in his taser wires, falling to the ground, shot John from the ground because he was scared. I am saying he lied. I don't suggest it was malicious intent but it was excessive deadly force. I don't think one cop is to blame. There is a lot of blame but not the dead kid.


9 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2016 at 3:19 pm

BobB is a registered user.

@Damon,

I'm only seeing you using the word "murder". We don't know what caused officer Kunkel to shoot. He may have panicked. He may have thought he had no other way to protect himself, as is claimed. I don't see Doug saying it was "murder".


4 people like this
Posted by I'm awake
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 5, 2016 at 3:36 pm

@Bobb
Not calling anyone names, just stating what's happening in so many places.
It seems it has become fashionable to blame officers and excuse criminals.
Look at the Michael Brown case and others, despite actual facts (which many are not at all interested in) the mantra is repeated until it grows into a frenzy. Everybody with an opinion becomes an expert.....People have died as a result of this kind of irresponsible quarterbacking and good officers have been murdered because of it.
I am just sick of hearing this sort of thing.


75 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2016 at 3:40 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

I'm Awake,

You asked that we should let them do their job. Well I hate to break it to you, but they did their job and now we have questions about the job they did.

Is that alright with you or should we just slink away and not question anyone now that they "did their job"?

Geez.


73 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2016 at 3:46 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

I'm awake,

You also mentioned something about emboldening criminals to cry police brutality. Let me tell you something about that; if the police officers in this case all had their body cameras on and recording we wouldn't be having ANY of these debates now. Officer Kunkel was quoted as being against body cameras due to "officer safety issues" that, to date, I have seen no detail of what he means.

And isn't it just great that Officer Kunkel didn't have his camera on, just like those sherifs deputies in SF.

Geez.


48 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2016 at 3:52 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

OMG Damon, let's not confuse "emotional" issues with "psychosis"!

(he writes dripping with sarcasm)


40 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2016 at 3:57 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Damon,

"Doug believes that Officer Kunkel committed a cold-blooded murder of John Deming."

No, Doug didn't say that, you (alleged) [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] .

Sincerely.


6 people like this
Posted by I'm awake
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 5, 2016 at 4:07 pm

My point is this, not that it matters to you experts, that you weren't there, you don't know what happened and you should [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] because you don't know. Let the professionals do their work and find a hobby that doesn't include Bloviating on the internet and slandering officers that you don't even know. What a bunch of self important [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] .


17 people like this
Posted by Hope you leave
a resident of The Knolls
on Apr 5, 2016 at 4:17 pm

Defending the shooing of someone over fancy cars is disgusting, I hope none of you have a bad day and the police decide shooting you is the best option because this is how you will be talked about


3 people like this
Posted by I'm awake
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 5, 2016 at 4:23 pm

@hope you leave.
What a stupid statement. I am not defending the shooting, I am simply stating that you don't know what happened. That is the truth, you don't...but then, you don't care about the truth. You only care about the narrative. Which was MY POINT....I expected more from my peers here, but disappointed again.


8 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 5, 2016 at 4:48 pm

@DKHSK :"OMG Damon, let's not confuse "emotional" issues with "psychosis"! (he writes dripping with sarcasm)"

No, Dan. "Grappling with emotional issues" because of one's stalled music career or any one of life's many disappointments does not qualify as "psychosis". Most people have some idea of the difference, although apparently not you.


1 person likes this
Posted by Hope you leave
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Wasnt talkign to you, Damon. Be dissapointed

Im awake...[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] starts with your only involvement in change is being in the comment section


83 people like this
Posted by Mitch
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2016 at 5:15 pm

Sounds like Kunkel never should have been hired in the first place. Suing his previous employer, the Antioch Police Department, should have been a red flag and disqualified him from employment with Pleasanton PD. At least if anyone was paying attention, which they weren't.


70 people like this
Posted by Mitch
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2016 at 5:16 pm

** Should have never been hired


14 people like this
Posted by huggy bear
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 6:12 pm

This tragic situation has certainly brought out the best in our local armchair quarterbacks, each with their own good for nothing two cents. Unless you were there that night and can add some quantitative facts and details, you have nothing to bring to the conversation but your own biased, uninformed opinion, which is worthless. PATHETIC.


79 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 5, 2016 at 6:21 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

huggy bear, I'm awake, Damon, others . . . please read the DA's report and then comment. There are sworn statements of the officers involved. At 45 pages, there is a lot to read, and it is very informative--as is the autopsy. Obviously, there were only 11 people present, but there is much to learn from the 10 who walked away to describe it. Otherwise it is disingenuous for you to blast the people who have taken the time to read the official report.


5 people like this
Posted by huggy bear
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 5, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Kathleen,

I totally disagree, until this nightmare of a situation is brought to the judicial system the 45 page report is meaningless, period! Neither you, I or anyone one else was there that night so let's let justice and the system under which we live take its course. The peanut gallery is no place to make a living.


82 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 5, 2016 at 6:46 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

huggy bear, you are missing the point. John Deming didn't get to stand in court to face justice.


2 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 5, 2016 at 6:57 pm

@Kathleen Ruegsegger :"Otherwise it is disingenuous for you to blast the people who have taken the time to read the official report."

Tell us, then, Kathleen, what important facts are the rest of us missing that you - the ever-enthusiastic reader of 45-page DA reports - are privy to?


76 people like this
Posted by Not the first time PPD has killed
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 5, 2016 at 7:26 pm

PPD murdered another young man at Gatewood Apartments in 1999 off of Stoneridge Drive.

The police officer in this case should have never been hired ---- if he had emotional distress as a police officer in Antioch then Pleasanton should have never have hired him in the first place.

Holding the mother handcuffed and at gunpoint for 2 hours sounds like the entire department has a bunch of crazed lunatics on its payroll.

It is time for these rogue officers to go, the police chief to go, the city manager to go, and the mayor to go.

Hope that the Deming family prevails and that these officers are taken off the streets permanently.


74 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2016 at 7:39 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Damon,

There are many questions that Kathleen, myself and others have had as a result of the 45 page report. Did you note that I said "questions"?

Either you don't comprehend the report or you didn't read it yourself.

And I note that you didn't say a WORD about my link for firearm forensics. Typical. Guess that theory of yours was blown away, eh?

Heh!


78 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 5, 2016 at 7:58 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Damon, I prefer to understand and will read what is available. I can't make you do the same. Here is what I posted on another thread.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
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 shotgunâ€"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 didâ€"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?


2 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 5, 2016 at 8:40 pm

@Kathleen Ruegsegger :"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."

So that is your expert opinion, is it Kathleen? You make it sound like Officer Deming shot John Deming from behind with your abbreviated, out-of-context clip saying that the shot was from "posterior (back) to the anterior (front)". In truth, you (deliberately? carelessly?) left out some very important information. The actual autopsy report and DA report both state that the direction of the bullet entry was from "posterior (back) to the anterior (front) AT A VERY SLIGHT ANGLE OF LESS THAN 5 DEGREES". In other words, the direction of the bullet was nearly directly through the side of the head and almost exactly perpendicular to the direction of the face within 5 degrees. Hardly the kind of "back to front" bullet path that a trusting reader would assume based on reading your statement above. You either (a) deliberately or (b) carelessly gave a false picture of the nature of the bullet path with your "posterior to the anterior" clip of the report. Which is it? And given the fact that you gave such a grossly distorted statement of a simple, basic fact that was accurately described in both the autopsy report and the DA report, why should I or anyone else give any weight at all to any other "facts" which you offer on this case?


68 people like this
Posted by DKHSK
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Apr 5, 2016 at 9:04 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Damon,

Once again you misread what Kathleen wrote. She did not say the perp was shot from behind. She didn't even make it sound that way. In other words, you assumed...again.

Please back away from your keyboard. You obviously cannot be trusted with any electronic communications.

And here is some definitions for you:

Posterior: directed toward or situated at the back; opposite of anterior.
Anterior: situated before or at the front of; fore (opposed to posterior ).

If the bullet entered or exited closer to the side of the head the coroner would have noted that, but he didn't. 5 degrees from posterior is not the same as 90 degrees, which I think you are supposing.

Dude...


68 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 5, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Damon, I purposely cited the page so others could read for themselves. I said it was bothersome *to me* "in conjunction with" another officer's statement that Deming was five feet away.

You chose this one thing and totally skipped my saying we failed both Deming and Kunkel. And a young man lost his life. Whatever else happens, I think (as noted) there are things our police department can change or reinforce to keep both citizens and officers safe.


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Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 6, 2016 at 7:15 am

@Kathleen Ruegsegger : "You chose this one thing and totally skipped my saying we failed both Deming and Kunkel."

Kathleen, that "one thing" from your post that I pointed out was a gross distortion of facts which put Officer Kunkel in a very, very bad light. You took a quote completely out of context and presented it in such a way that would suggest to an unaware reader that Officer Kunkel shot John Deming in the head from the rear. Re-read your own statement. Do you think that Officer Kunkel would be happy with the way in which you quoted the autopsy report in such a way as to make it appear that he shot John Deming from behind? I don't know about Kunkel, but I would be livid with the way you paraphrased the autopsy report's description of the path of the bullet. Your following sentence of how the direction of the bullet's path was "bothersome" to you was an additional thinly disguised turn of the knife which reinforced your insinuation that Office Kunkel acted improperly or criminally. And, no, adding a trite comment like "we failed both Deming and Kunkel" at the ends of all your posts does not come close to disguising the fact that you have consistently slanted facts in such a way as to put always Officer Kunkel in a bad light and John Deming in a good one.

There's no question that you will continue to give John Deming every benefit of the doubt, so we don't have to worry about your being fair to John Deming. But I honestly don't think that you've given a thought about what it means to be fair to Officer Kunkel. On the contrary, you seem to be comfortable with either deliberately or carelessly saying any of a number of things which harm his reputation while thinking that ending your posts with a trite "we failed both Deming and Kunkel" will show everyone that you are impartial and absolve you of any bias that you've shown. It's time to ditch that act, Kathleen. If you want to be fair to Officer Kunkel then start showing it.


81 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 6, 2016 at 8:24 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

The question, Damon, is how did that shot get fired if Deming was five feet away. It is the trajectory and both people's locations that are bothersome to me. It is just that simple. No one has provided an answer.

I still think the death could have been avoided had Kunkel waited for or had he been provided initial backup by one of the other nine officers at the scene.

Faulty equipment also proved to be an issue. I don't want anyone to be in danger, officer or perpetrator, because bean bag rifles don't work or tasers aren't making contact or voice traffic is impeding a call for backup or body cams are too difficult to turn on. These are real problems that, had they worked properly, could have prevented a death.


105 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 6, 2016 at 11:38 am

DJohns is a registered user.

To those who suggest we "just let them do their job".
I believe in our officers' general honesty and commitment to justice and our community.
In our democratic systems of checks and balances, no municipality should be left to judge themselves. The power and discretion of law enforcement officers and their position as gatekeepers of the criminal justice system make it imperative that members of the public have a means of redress if officers abuse their powers and seek protection from scrutiny behind the 'blue wall of silence'. Community members must ensure accountability.
To bury our heads in the sand, when a boy is dead, is to abdicate responsibility as citizens.


94 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 6, 2016 at 12:18 pm

DJohns is a registered user.

I respect my fellow concerned citizens, who do not choose to be blindly spoon fed. I value this forum to share thoughts.
Given the 64 likes on the second post, I believe these posts are being read by PPD and other law enforcement entities. It is valuable that they understand there is concern.


12 people like this
Posted by Lou Stuhle
a resident of Avila
on Apr 6, 2016 at 9:02 pm

DJohns,

It's laughable that you assume because there are 64 likes that they must all be PPD or law enforcement personnel. what you are getting a glimpse at is called the silent majority. the vocal minority yahoos such as yourself fortunately only comprise a small percentage of our population. based on every survey the PPD has ever conducted in the last 20 years, their customer satisfaction rating is always over 90% which is exemplary. they see the agenda of you and your ilk. first it was "let's wait for the DA's report". when the DA decided that officer Kunkel committed no crime, another angle was needed. that is when we saw the number of forensic experts who visit this blog come to the forefront. they apparently know much more than our DA who chose to file no charges against officer kunkel. you can always spot these kind as they will refer to the suspect as an unarmed "teenager" or "boy". he was a grown man in every sense of the word and to try and distort or obfuscate that fact is very revealing of the poster. the reason there are 64 likes is because PPD has built up some major credit with the citizenry they serve with their exemplary performance over the past two decades. when the DA sides with their officer and the only thing left is a sleezy attorney looking for a quick buck, they choose to give PPD the benefit of the doubt. nobody is saying that the police are above reproach or that there aren't ways to improve, but as has already been said, most of the people "asking questions" have a way of asking them in such a manner as to paint officer kunkel as a bad cop. most of those trying to paint him with that brush have no idea about officer safety protocols or police tactics yet they're the first ones to criticize, er i mean, "ask questions".


73 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 7, 2016 at 9:45 am

DJohns is a registered user.

I understand that many on this forum are not receptive to open thinking, but instead prefer hateful, caustic name calling. I do not believe in the bad cop theory, there is a systemic problem that must change, accountability is required for change to happen. The death of this unarmed, psychotic, teenager is evidence that Pleasanton is not exempt from the need for Police Reform.

teen·ag·er
noun: teenager; a person aged from 13 to 19 years.
synonyms: adolescent, youth, young person,
*
Definition of psychotic: having or relating to a very serious mental illness that makes you act strangely or believe things that are not true, a loss of contact with reality
Psychosis is not a diagnosis but a symptom, any lay person can read the DA report and understand John was delusional, he thought he was a mountain lion. John was not capable of rational thoughts or responses, through no fault of his own.
*
Many of the major neuropsychiatric illnesses have a typical age of onset in late adolescence. Late adolescence may reflect a critical period in brain development making it particularly vulnerable for the onset of psychopathology (mean age 19). Families are often completely unprepared when a first break happens.
*
“I knew something wasn’t right but I was afraid to tell anyone about my thoughts... Then I got to a point that I was so wrapped up in those delusions and hallucinations I was helpless.”
-Person who experienced psychosis
*
Lawful but Awful: Law Enforcement Agencies Must Find Alternatives to Lethal Force. Great pains are taken to exonerate officers and blame the dead. The Police Executive Research Forum recently published a list of 30 guidelines for use-of-force policies, the first and most important of which calls for the prioritization of the sanctity of human life in any police encounter. Web Link


64 people like this
Posted by DJohns
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 7, 2016 at 11:15 am

DJohns is a registered user.

PW please explain why the second post on this thread is gone.


5 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton since 1997
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Pleasanton since 1997 is a registered user.

To the Weekly: Please stop the sensationalism with your use of "Teen" in headlines related to this case. Mr. Deming was 19, and therfore under 20, but still, by law, an adult. The word "teen" - as responsible journalists know - implies juvenile, which this man was not. Any loss of life is sad, but please avoid skewing public opinion by continued use of misleading headlines.


71 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Apr 10, 2016 at 12:04 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I don't think age, teen, or adult matters. This was a person, another human in some kind of distress. There is no death sentence for his offenses.


1 person likes this
Posted by Pleasanton since 1997
a resident of Foothill High School
on Apr 10, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Pleasanton since 1997 is a registered user.

Kathleen - on the point you make, I agree with you. The argument of the prior comment regarded another subject altogether. No worries! Have a great rest of your weekdnd! :)


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