Friday, March 6, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Parents file federal suit against city, police in adult son’s death

pursuit shots fired 7_18_13

Vacaville Police closed off Ulatis Drive in Vacaville, July 18, 2013, after a pursuit ended with a fatal officer-involved shooting. A Federal civil rights suit was filed Wednesday in the July shooting that left a man dead. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A3 | March 27, 2014 |

VACAVILLE — The parents of a 24-year-old Fairfield man who was shot and killed last year by Vacaville police filed a civil rights wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Sacramento.

The lawsuit against the city of Vacaville also names former police chief Richard Word, officers Tomi Kingi and Daniel Valk and others as defendants.

Kingi and Valk were involved in a low-speed pursuit of Kendall Walker on the night of July 18, 2013, that came to an end near intersection of Ulatis and Christine drives, according to the lawsuit. Kigni on Thursday said he was not on duty at the time of the incident.

A few minutes before the pursuit, Walker’s ex-girlfriend called police to report that Walker had been at her home and threatened her. Police spotted Walker driving from the home in his Geo Metro and tried to make a routine traffic stop. After Walker refused to yield, police tried to throw a spike strip in the path of his car, which he avoided. Then police rammed Walker’s car vehicle twice, stopping the Metro.

Walker got out his car with a hammer in one hand and a knife in the other, according to police. Walker then moved toward the police “in a threatening way,” according to police, prompting police to shoot Walker several times.

The lawsuit makes no mention of the hammer or knife and claims Walker had no weapons in his hands and “posed no significant or immediate threat of death or injury” to police that would justify their use of deadly force.

The lawsuit blames Walker’s death on “unreasonable, reckless, excessive, unlawful and provocative (police) tactics.”

Walker was no stranger to local police. He was arrested in 2009 for reckless driving without a valid license and resisting arrest. That landed him a punishment of having to work 300 hours of community service along with regularly attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Vacaville police arrested him in 2010 for felony domestic violence and assault. He was arrested again in 2011 for brandishing a weapon and vandalism.

The lawsuit also claims police violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not accommodating Walker’s mental illness as they stopped him and shot him.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Correction: This version clarifies the scope of the lawsuit, attribution for certain aspects of the events surrounding the officer-involved shooting, and updates to include a statement from one of the officers named in the suit, indicating he was not on duty at the time of the incident.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 11 comments

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  • Rich GiddensMarch 26, 2014 - 7:27 pm

    Jess--i really wish you would identify the plaintiff's attorneys in these cases.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Bill of RightsMarch 27, 2014 - 5:23 am

    Anyone can file suit. This is no surprise. To the parents of this troubled man, why is it the police officers fault for violating his constitutional rights when, as parents, you knew his illnesses and apparently did nothing to protect him. If a suit is being filed, I say the law suit should include you also. The biggest problem is society today is that no one takes responsibility for their actions and someone is always willing to capitalize on the results.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksMarch 27, 2014 - 6:09 am

    Mental illness is such a difficult issue and the police don't have the luxury or knowledge of a suspect's next move. This case will likely get tossed but sadly, with limited funding and fewer folks to look after one another, we can expect more like it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • R. LeeMarch 27, 2014 - 9:07 am

    We wouldn't even be talking about any of this if they had just tasered him instead.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • tax payerMarch 27, 2014 - 9:37 am

    Are you really kidding me? Gets out of car with weapon after failing to stop and we now say the cops didn't accommodate him due to his mental illness. cops now have to be mind readers? Disgusting! I believe he was Accomadated!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • R. LeeMarch 27, 2014 - 10:25 am

    Hey tax payer, 95% of the time I would propably agree with you, but if all that happened here was that he wasn't taking his medication or properly diagnosed, should that cost him his life? I say it's time the cops never pull a gun unless they are about to be run over or one is pulled on them.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MDSMarch 27, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    R Lee, did you miss the part about the guy having a knife? Can you please tell me how many times a taser has failed? Can you please tell me how close a person has to be to you before you can use the taser? Less then 20 feet is the answer. Are you going to let somebody come at you with a knife and get within 20 feet and then use a weapon that may or may not work to try and stop him? Of course I know you say you will, but I assure you that you would not. Police are not required to use a Taser when a suspect has armed himself with a deadly weapon. Under certain conditions it can be done and has been done, but that's a big judgment call on the part of the officers.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • R. LeeMarch 27, 2014 - 10:27 am

    P.S. IF they'd have tasered him instead they would not have had to make that life or death decision.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Just an observationMarch 27, 2014 - 10:41 am

    I used to read articles in the DR, and before there was a trial, with a result of GUILTY, the writer used the word "allegedly" while describing events of a crime. However, it seems that this Jess Sullivan was present at the scene and witnessed everything that happened, because he is very matter-of-fact in his account. This seems to be happening more and more with the DR, or at least the online version of it. It’s truly sad how the skill of journalism has gradually decreased with this paper.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensMarch 27, 2014 - 10:47 am

    Some of those lawyers out there wont take a police misconduct / excessive force / civil rights violations case unless you're dead. I'm serious!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodMarch 27, 2014 - 10:58 am

    Thankfully, we don't have to decide the result based on speculation and biases. We have courts, laws, and rules of procedure to get a just result. Time to move on.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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