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Police Bulletin

Original post made on Jul 5, 2018

The city of Pleasanton has settled the federal lawsuit filed by the family of a young San Jose man who was shot and killed by a Pleasanton police officer during an altercation after police found the 19-year-old man damaging a downtown car dealership nearly three years ago.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 27, 2018, 12:00 AM

Comments (16)

Posted by gmd
a resident of another community
on Jul 5, 2018 at 8:58 pm

Why does no one notice that officer Kiunkel 6'1, 240 lbs(swat trained, Iraq veteran)outweighed 19 yr old John Deming (6', T BEST 160 lbs) by about 80 lbs. Read the autopsy, there are no offensive wounds on Deming. The whole episode seems to be about Deming fleeing the dog (and the bean bags, tasers etc). Deming stated "I dont want to be bit,(by the dog)". Something stinks here.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 5, 2018 at 9:22 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

A tragedy, deming had several opportunities to listen.

Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 6, 2018 at 6:11 pm

I think a lot of this will change as they change the law. Right now the language is being changed from reasonable force to necessary force. A lot of cops will and should do time in the future. Also police will also be liable in civil suits which they should be now.

Posted by usmelllikepoo
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Jul 6, 2018 at 11:57 pm

"I think a lot of this will change as they change the law. Right now the language is being changed from reasonable force to necessary force. A lot of cops will and should do time in the future. Also police will also be liable in civil suits which they should be now."

This proposed law goes directly against 30 years of jurisprudence. With this in mind, it is extraordinarily unlikely to pass the legislature. Even if it does manage to pass, it is clearly at odds with existing case law and will not survive review by the courts.

Not to mention the fact that it is impossible draw a bright line between "necessary" and "unnecessary." If force X was necessary, was force X+.01 percent necessary or unnecessary? How about .02? Etc. This standard is too unwieldy to apply in reality. "Reasonable" was very carefully chosen verbiage which fits with events that occur in the real world.

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jul 7, 2018 at 8:57 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

I’m a little confused by both Pete and Poot’s comments.

1) As this case showed, reasonable force only applies to criminal liability. The city was successfully sued here, so existing civil law seems to be working.

2) Case law is irrelevant here. If the state changes the law to necessary force, any case law about the reasonableness is irrelevant. There is no constitutional requirement that reasonable force is allowed, just as there is no constitutional requirement to allow you to speed on freeways.

3) All standards of force have the same problem about n+0.01. Was this actual reasonable? Yes. How about 0.01 more? Same problem. Whether necessary force has a bright line or not depends on how the courts construct it. It will likely be soft still: necessary force means that a reasonable officer would find it necessary, and not whether you can go back over the circumstances and find a way out. So the courts will still find room to maneuver, just as they do with standard murder and manslaughter charges today.

Posted by no name chosen
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 7, 2018 at 9:05 am

no name chosen is a registered user.

How about this? When the cop tells you to stop doing something -- JUST STOP. Reasonable and necessary force if that punk came into my house would be an immediate 6 rounds from the .38. No dogs, no beanbags, no taser. I know the PD has a different standard and cannot simply shoot first. But really, how many ways can they try to get someone to stop when the person simply won't do it? Yeah, go ahead with the "psychotic break c***" but the fact is that officer's lives were in danger and ANY amount of force sounds reasonable to me.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 7, 2018 at 3:34 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Nine (?) officers against one 19 year old. Remember, they all knew the young man was incapable of following directions. Remember the officer acted on his own without waiting for any of the other officers for backup. Remember also that all an officer has to say is they were in fear for their life, and there will likely be no criminal charges. It happens all the time and all over the country. There has to be a higher standard than merely those words (fear for my life) for officers.

Posted by Lou Stuhle
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jul 7, 2018 at 7:41 pm

Lou Stuhle is a registered user.


As usual, your assumptions from behind your keyboard are sickening. How are they to know he's incapable of following directions? He chose to ignore commands. He chose to run. He was making choices the entire time. The motivation behind those? Who knows? I certainly don't. I wasn't there. I"m not a psychologist. Nine officers? Yes, perhaps on scene, but when he ran out the back window, it was one officer and case law and the penal code states that officers do not have to retreat or back down (check 835a of the penal code).

Officers using the "feared for my life" defense are being charged all over the country for crimes. So, once again, you are wrong and your agenda is showing.

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jul 7, 2018 at 8:31 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

Wow Lou, can you discuss the point at hand without attacking people personally? You haven’t presented any evidence that KR has an agenda.

As for the points you raise, I agree that we weren’t there and so it is difficult to know what actually happened. If we had had good body camera video then we could make a better call.

What the Penal Code prescribes is irrelevant for what Kathleen was advocating, which is that the law needs to be changed. Also, arguing that officers are being charged occasionally isn’t a response to that officers are not getting charged most of the time when they say they had a reasonable fear: both can be true.

Posted by Lou Stuhle
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jul 7, 2018 at 9:14 pm

Lou Stuhle is a registered user.

probably shouldn't entertain this as it's pretty low brow, but here we go...

grumpy, where did i attack her? i attacked her assumptions, yes.

actually grumpy, what the penal code states is directly relevant to what KR said. she indirectly stated that officer kunkel should have waited for back up to attempt to apprehend demming. that penal code section (did you bother to look it up?) states that officers don't need to "retreat or desist from his efforts by reason of the resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested". if you don't see the DIRECT contradiction to what KR advocates, then i really don't know what to say to you.

as for the reasonable fear issue, she said there "likely will be no criminal charges". again, she's trying to draw a conclusion that cops can use that reason to justify unreasonable force. the fact that officers are being charged at a much higher rate than at any time in our country's history in such cases directly refutes her agenda driven assumptions.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 7, 2018 at 10:12 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Here’s one report, LS: Web Link. There are many more if you care to google it.

I read the autopsy; I read the interviews of the involved officers. Fear of life was used by the shooting officer. The 19 year old was not following commands. If you read those reports, you will know his choices were not rational and the officers commented on it. We cannot change that particular outcome, but we can change procedures to prevent them for the future.

Posted by Lou Stuhle
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jul 7, 2018 at 10:59 pm

Lou Stuhle is a registered user.

You assume that "fear of life" was the only mitigating factor. i'm assuming the officer being beaten/kicked down to the ground factored into his "fear of life". officer kunkel was feloniously assaulted by demming. his "fear of life" was as legitimate as it gets. since you're so well versed in what the report said, why don't you tell us how officer kunkel was found and what position he was in when discovered by the other officers on scene (literally seconds or fractions of a second after the shooting).

rational choices or not, you stated that he was incapable of following commands. nobody on scene could have possibly known that. do you know what suspects that are completely sane and in complete control of their mental faculties do when they want to get away from police? they ignore commands. they fight. they run. just like demming did. if you've read any other police reports with resistant/fleeing suspects, you will read a similar tale. that demming also displayed other bizarre, aggressive behavior doesn't negate his typical suspect behavior. behavior that is all too familiar to law enforcement.

you want to change similar future outcomes? teach your children to obey law enforcement commands. comply now and complain later. the constant blaming of law enforcement for all of society's ills (that BHO made so famous) makes these encounters 10 times worse. people feel emboldened to disobey the police. they feel empowered to disobey the police. this is where you can actually help society. encourage compliance. everything is recorded now (as it was in this incident). if you're in the right and the officer is in the wrong, it will come out and you will be vindicated.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 8, 2018 at 9:22 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

LS, There is ambiguity in the report regarding the supposed beat down. The officers commented on the likely mental distress. Find the reports and read them.

No one I know feels emboldened to challenge a police officer. But I will question abuse of authority—authority citizens gave them.

Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2018 at 10:13 am

BobB is a registered user.

Hey LS, an no name,

How about that nurse that got roughed up and arrested. Should she have just done whatever the "officer" told her to do? I think not.

Posted by Lou Stuhle
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Jul 8, 2018 at 10:57 am

Lou Stuhle is a registered user.

well i guess there is one positive that comes from the nonsense you spew...

everyone should look up the DA's report. kathleen's misrepresentation of what is in it again, shows she has an axe to grind. what ambiguity? officers stated they found deming 5 feet away from kunkel who was on his back, not even holding his gun. paramedics on scene noted bruising and swelling on kunkel's face. a doctor later noted swelling on kunkel's face and redness on his scalp. are they all in on it too? where's the ambiguity? those all add up to kunkel being assaulted by deming.

if you don't think there is an emboldening of suspects to resist law enforcement, then you are paying attention. you haven't watched the endless amounts of dash cam and body cam footage that come out every day. question the abuse of authority AFTER the incident? absolutely. no arguments there. however, the place for that is not at the time of the incident. your refusal to acknowledge this is part of the problem.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 8, 2018 at 12:40 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

No axe. Just genuine concern. Some years ago now, I cited questions, by page on this web site. See if you can find it. But yes, everyone should read it.

There were no questions from the teen. He wasn’t coherent enough to ask; he was not acting or behaving rationally. He had not used drugs or alcohol.

The case is settled. This IS the time to ask for change.

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