The City of Ukiah announced Thursday that an “independent investigation” into the arrest of Gerardo Magdaleno by the Ukiah Police Department last April has concluded that the actions of the officers involved did not violate the Use of Justice Policy. the strength of the department.
Magdaleno, 25, was arrested around 2:45 p.m. on April 1, 2021, after a UPD officer near the 1400 block of South State Street responded to the area when the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to report a naked man on the roadway. .
At the time, UPD Lt. Andy Phillips said that when the first officer contacted Magdaleno, he quickly became “aggressive and took a fighting stance. A Taser was deployed, which was ineffective, and a second Taser was deployed, which was also ineffective. Phillips said a third Taser and pepper spray were used on Magdaleno before his arrest. He was also placed in a “Constraint Wrap,” which Phillips says immobilizes combative suspects.
Phillips said Magdaleno appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant such as methamphetamine, and that it is “very common for people under the influence of methamphetamine to get very hot and undress. And he was taken to the hospital to make sure he wasn’t suffering from meth psychosis.
According to a UPD press release, Magdaleno was later arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia and intoxication in public.
In December 2021, a lawsuit was filed in federal court alleging that UPD officers used excessive force and violated their department’s policies in an “unlawful and discriminatory” arrest of Magdaleno. .
“No reasonable officer could reasonably believe that the force used against the complainant was reasonable or necessary, or that it was related in any way to a legitimate law enforcement objective,” states the complaint filed by the. lawyer from Sevastopol, Izaak D. Schwaiger.
The lawsuit describes the incident as having begun when “Gerardo ran out of medication and was found naked in the parking lot of the Ukiah Bakery Outlet in downtown Ukiah. During Magdaleno’s arrest, the suit alleges that “these defendants tasered Gerardo Magdaleno four times, sprayed him in the face with 20 to 25 applications of OC spray, kicked him in the head while he was on the ground, kneeled him four times (once in the groin) and gave him fifty-four punches.
City Manager Sage Sangiacomo described the incident as having started when officers “responded to a call reporting an individual was exhibiting erratic behavior in a public place. During the incident a number of methods to restrain and restrain the individual were employed which triggered an investigation into the escalation of the incident and whether Ukiah Police principles and protocols were been followed.
To that end, Sangiacomo said “the city also intends to request an independent review of existing policies to determine if they could be augmented or otherwise improved.”
The city then hired independent investigative consultants, located in Windsor, to conduct an investigation into the actions of the UPD during Magdaleno’s arrest. Paul Henry of Independent Investigative Consultants later confirmed that the firm was “conducting an administrative investigation into the internal affairs of the town of Ukiah”.
A Thursday press release announcing the firm’s findings notes that “there was concern among the community about whether the actions (of UPD officers in Magdaleno’s arrest) complied with laws, policies, standards, applicable training and best practices. Independent Investigative Consultants, LLC was retained by the City of Ukiah to conduct the investigation. They
independently investigated how UPD officers responded to the call for duty on April 1, the specific tactics that were used to subdue the suspect, and whether those tactics were consistent with Department policies. The now-completed investigation concluded that there is no sustained finding that the UPD’s actions violated the department’s use of force policy.
Also in the press release, UPD leader Noble Waidelich reportedly said: “Regardless of the findings, an incident like this deserves reflection. As the new chef, I want to ensure that my staff provide the highest level of service possible to our community. To this end, we are actively partnering with other local agencies specializing in mental health, disabilities and addictions, as well as obtaining new tools to assist in non-violent de-escalation.
Waidlelich also notes that the UPD is “actively engaged in a pilot program in cooperation with Mendocino County that will see a Mobile Emergency Response Officer respond alongside a police officer to calls for service that may have a mental health component.This program is supported by Measure B, which funds a variety of mental health programs and facilities throughout the county.
“After careful consideration, we need to focus on how we move forward,” Waidelich continued. “I choose to take this department in a direction where it is common to see staff lending a hand and helping our entire community. We attend neighborhood meetings and work daily to provide services that promote a better quality of life for all residents. I am also committed to hiring staff who reflect our community because it is also our home.
The city notes that “the current UPD policy manual, as well as previous versions, is posted online and available at any time for public review. It can be found at www.ukiahpolice.com, under the ‘About’ tab, titled ‘UPD Policy Manual’.