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Family demands apology following fatal shooting of teen by Pleasanton police

Original post made on Jul 9, 2015

The family of the 19-year-old who was fatally shot by Pleasanton police last weekend are demanding an apology after alleging the man's mother was handcuffed at gunpoint during a search at her San Jose home, according to the family's lawyers.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 9, 2015, 7:48 AM

Comments (25)

86 people like this
Posted by Paul
a resident of Danville
on Jul 9, 2015 at 8:14 am

I feel for the family and friends of Daniel Kunkel, and I can understand the grief this young man's dad must have. However, the dad must realize that his son was the person who instigated this whole event and damaged a business. Has the dad apologized to the business for what his son did? Has his dad apologized to the policeman whose face was bashed in by his son? I know it is hard in these instances, but the dad needs to start thinking with his brain and not his heart.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown

on Jul 9, 2015 at 8:43 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

46 people like this
Posted by 'Merica
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 9, 2015 at 8:48 am

Are you kidding me? An apology from the officers who are entrusted with keeping us safe from idiots like this. Let's not forget, he was breaking the law people!!!

And then, he refuses to surrender after being tazed and bean-bagged AND then gets into an altercation with an officer.

You people seriously need to take your delinquent family members and leave America.

15 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 9, 2015 at 8:51 am

There is a lot of bs to this story or the story is poorly written. How do you fire a weapon 3 times while passed out? Why were the PPD so quick to get a warrant in the middle of the night unless they were trying to gin up evidence to support a murder? Why didn't they correctly serve the warrant? Why was she handcuffed? How was this 5'10" 170 pound 19 year old able to beat up a policeman with so many policemen there? Either 3 different versions of the facts presented by the media are incorrect or there is something fishy going on here.

30 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 9, 2015 at 8:53 am

To the parents of the burglar:

"The worthwhile citizens of this world hereby "apologize" to you for the necessary extermination of the dirtbag that you raised to be such a fine human being."

You call yourselves parents? Enablers of the truly worthless is more correct. You raised a kid who apparently thought it was just fine to break into a business, damage property and try to take the life of a cop. When his next caper was to break into an occupied home and succeed in killing someone where would your outrage be?

86 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Valley Trails
on Jul 9, 2015 at 9:45 am

Jerry, quick to make assertions without the facts. First the size doesn’t matter. If the suspect was high on PCP or bath salts, they could conceivably assault someone several times their size, and they feel no pain. These type of suspects present huge dangers to law enforcement.

Next, the quick service of a warrant is standard procedure for any department. As soon as the parents know that their son assaulted a police officer and was shot, they are likely going to do anything to preserve his church-going image. However police serve a warrant quickly they may in fact find his drug of choice. Look at the suspect’s dad, on tv saying his son has never used drugs, or been in trouble with the law. Ops, he was seen inside a business, committing a felony. Oh sorry dad, I guess your son isn’t completely innocent. I have no doubt that he would have been quick to discard any contraband found in his son’s room, hence the quick warrant service.

The mom was handcuffed as case law, upheld by our Supreme Court grants and affords law enforcement this right. Muehler v. Mena, ___U.S.___, 125 S.Ct. 1465 (2005). In Summary law enfocement needs no reasonable suspicion to hand cuff in situation that may be dangerous. If the mom knew the cops had lawfully killed their son, this would be considered a dangerous situation. Why make the situation any more dangerous. If you don’t want to be handcuffed, teach our children to obey commands of the police, don’t use drugs, and be a contributing member of society- which the overwhelming majority of our kids do.

Lastly, everyone is so quick to point the finger at the police. We don’t have all the facts, but lets look at what we know:
• The police received an alarm call
• They arrived and found the suspect
• The suspect wasn’t compliant
• The suspect re-entered the business (re-offending, and committing a felony)
• The suspect didn’t listen to police commands
• A struggle ensued
• The suspect was shot and died.
The officer was protecting all of us living in our million dollar homes while we sleep. The officer has every right to go home to his family. If a suspect wants to come into this affluent town, and commit felonious crimes, and fight our police, then there will be a consequence. Because if the police don’t deal with this threat, my wife and kids will have to deal with the suspect. The police did what they needed to do, and what we pay them to do. No one wants to see their kid killed by the police, and most of us don’t need to worry. We want our police held accountable, then our citizens need to held accountable.

I fully support the Pleasanton Police, and I thank them for their courageous service to this community. There will always be some faction that thinks we live in a utopia, but the reality is that we need the police to keep this city safe. I moved here specifically to get away from the bay area’s ridiculously high crime rates. PPD did exactly what we pay them to do. I’m sad that a young life was lost, but I suspect it was at the cost of an illicit drug, not at the maliciousness of the kid. But I’m glad the officer is doing better, and that no one else was injured. PPD- thank you for your service.

With the upmost respect,
A Pleasanton Community Member

29 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 9, 2015 at 9:52 am

Well put Joe, I concur.

9 people like this
Posted by Police are not that innocent
a resident of Old Towne
on Jul 9, 2015 at 10:04 am

Not in the position of judge, jury or executioner...

The short written accounting of actions don't jive with an officer thinking clearly. It reads as CYA, all the way. If officer is on the ground and "fighting" with hands... to defend himself, the ability to grab the taser or gun is limited. So that doesn't jive. If the officer's head was banged against the wall or floor, and rendered unconscious... how did he grab a weapon ? So accountability of officers' in equation 100%.

The real facts:
The gun was pulled, and a 19 year died. this is 100% the accurate accounting. Was the kid under the influence TBD. Was the kid's actions wrong, most likely. Did the officer make a mistake, most likely. Does the officer deserve some protection of liability, yes. Should this be a career ender for the officer, YES.

Apology ?

20 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jul 9, 2015 at 10:05 am

@Joe: "Because if the police don't deal with this threat, my wife and kids will have to deal with the suspect. The police did what they needed to do, and what we pay them to do. "

I think that you made a very good point here. Some of the critics of the Pleasanton police here have portrayed this incident as a harmless unarmed burglar against an aggressive group of police. But once the police saw how this youth was behaving, they knew that they weren't dealing with just an ordinary burglar but someone who was very high on drugs and was a dangerous physical threat to the public. The whole nature of this confrontation with the burglar changed at that instant. If this youth in his drugged-out state was capable of attacking a professional law enforcement officer, just imagine what might have happened if he had escaped from the police encirclement and come across an ordinary Pleasantonian on a late-night stroll with their dog. The possible result is not pretty to imagine. And if something like that had happened, I'm sure that many critics here of the Pleasanton police would then be criticizing and berating the police for not being aggressive enough in apprehending this drugged-out youth.

5 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 9, 2015 at 10:09 am


Those are a summary of the facts as presented by media and some releases. The truth will come out sooner or later and hopefully will not be tainted by the police. Yes, I do not trust the police entirely nor should you.

Policing should not be any different here from Oakland. We are all human beings and should be treated as such. The value of your home does not make you better than a minority.

Lastly, I have no problem with them getting a warrant and they should, but his mother and her attorney are both saying that she was not presented with a warrant until AFTER they cuffed her and searched her house. That if true is wrong.

11 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 9, 2015 at 10:11 am


The toxicology report better come back that he was high on some super human strength producing drug or its murder plain and simple. Where is our police chief in all of this.

16 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2015 at 10:11 am

I am greatful to the PPD. Most of the seriouse crimes seem to be committed by others outside of P-Town (Oakland, San Jose, Antioch, and Hayward among them). Maybe the message will get out to these lazy thugs to stay out of P-Town.

That being said, it sounds like this kid flipped due to drugs like bath salts and/or has very serious mental disorders ... who else could have the strength to get tazed multiple times, shot, and still continue beating a cop as if nothing happened to him? Sounds like he did not break in the car store with intent to steal a car, but rather "lost his mind". This kid clearly needed help & never got it. How could a Dad, who is a cop, not see this? Now they blame the PPD and hired a high profile lawyer. Someone needs to tell them that getting money for cops killing their criminal child does not work in this city....they need to live in Baltimore.

10 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jul 9, 2015 at 10:12 am

@"Police are not that innocent": "Was the kid's actions wrong, most likely."

Gee, do you really think that the kid's actions were "most likely" wrong? I mean, let's not jump to conclusions just because he had broken into a business, smashed windows, and was jumping on top of cars and damaging them while screaming at 2am. Sounds like you really have it in for this kid if you're already leaping to the thought that his actions were "most likely" wrong.

27 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Valley Trails
on Jul 9, 2015 at 10:36 am

I agree the facts will come out. But I trust the police. I sleep at night knowing that if evil comes to my palace, I trust the police will come and help. They are the only resource we can call and expect help us in an urgent manner. Our lawyers won’t come; our doctors won’t run into a crime in progress and help us. With that said, in every profession there are a few rotten apples, but they will be weeded out. That’s true with any profession. But I completely disagree with your assertion that I shouldn’t trust them. Many don’t because of what they see in the media, including the limited video of what happens. But as we see in many, not all, instances is that there is thirty seconds before what the media shows that drive officers to make life-changing decisions. The media doesn’t show that, so again, we conclude without the full fact pattern.

I’m not saying my value of my home makes me different. The amount in taxes has afforded me the luxury of living where there’s a higher ratio of police to citizens, and therefore I expect a higher level of service. I don’t expect an in-progress call to go unanswered. A life is precious regardless, and we drive the direction of our lives. We, like police, our accountable for our actions. I don’t use drugs, and I don’t burglarize businesses. I f I did I would expect at some time I would encounter the police. Then, and again, we our accountable for our actions. Do you fight the police? Or do you comply? Remember for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If this kid, in his drug induced rage, slipped past PPD and hurt an innocent citizen downtown, we would be criticizing the police. The police are going to take this second guessing regardless, and they will still come to the aid of those who ‘don’t trust’ them. They are, and will continue to take the higher road. It’s unfortunate the taser didn’t incapacitate the suspect, but it didn’t. So what’s next? Lethal force. The officer has every right to go home at the end of his shift. He or she isn’t just a number, they are a contributing member to society. One who walks around knowing many people question his or her’s integrity even though they’ve never done anything to warrant this questioning. They’ve be persecuted by the media, which has generated this aurora of untrust. If you want to question the officer, look at this jacket. Does he or she have life saving awards, or have they been listed by the courts as an untrusted, un reliable officer. I guarantee you the overwhelming majority have reputations that are impeccable, and would make the average citizen look like a bum. So, I trust the police.

And lastly, in our great society, if we want change we must seek it in the proper channels. I’ve never had a warrant served on me, so I’ve not sat in the mother’s seat. A check of case law reveals no such law or demand that states when a warrant must be physically handed to someone. I understand that frustration, but that’s a nearly inconsequential to this entire deal.

PS- If the toxicology report comes back that the suspect was high its murder? So it’s ok to attack a police officer?
Reasonable Force: Only that amount of force that is reasonably necessary under the circumstances may be used to effect an arrest, prevent escape, or overcome resistance. (Headwaters Forest Defense v. County of Humboldt(9th Cir. 2002) 276 F.3rd 1125.)
If PPD used less lethal force options, bean bags, taser, and it was ineffective, and the officer was actively being physically assaulted- It’s lawful under federal and state laws to use lethal force to overcome the resistance by the suspect.

PPD should not lose an officers’ life to someone who doesn’t want to obey by our state/federal laws. But let’s just wait for the toxicology reports, as it will likely bolster the justification even more.

4 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2015 at 10:50 am

@ Joe
I concur 110%!!

11 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 9, 2015 at 11:29 am


I have not been in trouble either but in the other hand I have never put myself in a position where that could happen either. Do I trust the police? I would say mostly but not always as I have had them lie right in front of me. I have one traffic ticket in my life (I am 60) for going 29 in a 25 when I was 17.

I will say my interactions with police have not been positive and have found them (not always) to be quite rude I do not trust anyone completely except my wife. I think money and power both corrupt and that is seen today in our elected officials and government workers. I think you should question everyone and everything until the facts are in, clear, and communicated.

I have 2 nephews who are both police and we have had this discussion. They will say that their are mostly good police but a few are very dirty so do I trust police completely? No way and neither should you not anyone.

14 people like this
Posted by Shannon
a resident of Stoneridge Orchards
on Jul 9, 2015 at 12:08 pm

I agree with Joe, he at least is calm and presents the facts. This boy committed a crime. With what we have been told so far, stun gun and bean bag was tried first.

As far as handcuffing the mom. I know of a friend personally that her son was being arrested and they handcuffed her at the time because she was screaming ect. They have to protect themselvs. We have no idea how this women was behaving at the time.

13 people like this
Posted by ValVistaResident
a resident of Val Vista
on Jul 9, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Here's my take on this very serious incident in our town. Whoever wrote the story should take this subject matter very seriously. This very publication had an article on this story yesterday but today's article has some tweaks to the so called facts that are much different than yesterday. That in itself creates confusion for the readers and presents a situation where people are given BAD information.

We don't know what happened yet but the PPD was very quick to try and cover their backside. If in fact the warrant was not presented until after the search, the ambulance chaser the family has a lawyer will crush you! Not telling the family what happened to their son prior to the search being conducted will come back to haunt the PDD regardless of what they were looking for or found.

What is more alarming to me than anything else is Pleasanton is for the most part a quiet town with not much for the cops to do except hassle bike riders, jaywalkers and occasional B & E's whether it be houses or cars.

The first time they get a situation like this it ends with a fatality...REALLY? WTF PPD? YOU have now made national headlines for all the wrong reasons. I am following this tragedy very closely and can't wait to hear the "FACTS" when they really come out.

Last but not least...where is the PPD Police Chief? Mr. photo op is invisible...nice touch...way to lead by example. And don't give this he's out of the country or whatever. He knew about this moments after the shots were way he wasn't involved out of the gate.

37 people like this
Posted by Anthonasio
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Like Dad always said:

"If you play in the freeway, you are NOT a victim if you get hit by a car"

21 people like this
Posted by SMH
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 9, 2015 at 12:25 pm

So everyone is taking the words written in a relatively sketchy article as fact? Have these facts been verified? Who the heck knows.

I am sure that this police officer didn't start his shift thinking "I think I am going to shoot someone today". The police are investigating and I am sure the facts will emerge. I know, I know...some of you are saying that there will be a coverup, or protecting the "brotherhood". All I know is this, this "brotherhood" has my full support. What if this young man had broken into a family home and endangered the people inside? What if that were my house and family? I would want the police to do everything they could to protect me and my family. When someone attacks a police officer I assume they would use the same defenses for their lives as they would for mine. Had it not been for this young man's (NOT a kid) actions that night - he would NOT BE DEAD and this officer would not go through the rest of his days knowing he killed someone. Two tragedies.

18 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jul 9, 2015 at 12:42 pm

@"ValVistaResident": "What is more alarming to me than anything else is Pleasanton is for the most part a quiet town with not much for the cops to do except hassle bike riders, jaywalkers and occasional B & E's whether it be houses or cars. The first time they get a situation like this it ends with a fatality...REALLY? WTF PPD? YOU have now made national headlines for all the wrong reasons."

Well, you've made it pretty clear what you think of the Pleasanton Police. I've had two occasions to call the Pleasanton Police on several occasions during my years here, and I've found them to be professional, efficient, and courteous.

Also, I think that you're getting a bit carried away with your own rhetoric. This is the "first time they get a situation like this"? You think that this is the first time that the Pleasanton Police have ever had to confront a burglar? How long have you lived here?

Finally, you get totally carried away when you grossly exaggerate and say that this incident "made national headlines". No, this incident did NOT make national headlines. Police confronting a drugged out burglar is not front page national news in this country. Sorry.

Like this comment
Posted by Benicia
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2015 at 12:53 pm

[removed because it was off topic]

8 people like this
Posted by Hershey
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 10, 2015 at 8:52 am

Hershey is a registered user.

I have been keeping updated on this sad situation since it began. I have lived in Pleasanton for 40+ years and for the most part we are a quiet family town with very few incidents. I can't imagine being in the situation that that officer was in. Human nature is to protect ourselves when our life is possibly in jeopardy no matter who you are. The outcome is heartbreaking; all I can think of is how sad it is for all parties involved. I still love my town, my community, and those that protect us.

17 people like this
Posted by Registered Joe
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Registered Joe is a registered user.

The actions by the police at the parents' house in San Jose may seem harsh but I believe they were correct. The goal is to gather whatever evidence possible to figure out what was going on with John Deming. Parents have a natural tendency to protect their children, so it's reasonable to assume that they could or would hide or destroy evidence that would shed a bad light on their kids. Not saying at all that this is the case for this kid's parents, or that this thought would even enter into their minds, but with an absence of other knowledge, as was the case that day, it's a reasonable assumption that must be taken into consideration.

Of course the celebrity attorney has seized upon this one piece of the overall puzzle to paint the police as heartless.

19 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 10, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Just another vote of support for the Pleasanton Police Department and their involvement in this. Its unfortunate this individual made repeated poor decisions that ultimately led to his death.

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