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Naked Jogger Tased, Sprayed, Slugged; Ukiah Police Issue Statement

(UDJ story by Justine Frederikson)

A Ukiah man found walking naked in traffic Thursday afternoon was taken into custody after being Tased three times and pepper sprayed, the Ukiah Police Department reported.

According to the UPD, an officer near the 1400 block of South State Street responded to the area when the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a report of a naked man walking in traffic.

UPD Lt. Andy Phillips said that when the officer contacted the man, 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 the suspect before he was taken into custody. He was also placed in a “Wrap restraint,” which Phillips said immobilizes combative suspects.

Personnel from the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority also responded to the scene to render medical aid to the suspect before he was transported to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley for treatment prior to being booked into Mendocino County Jail.

Phillips said the suspect, identified as Gerardo Magdaleno, of Ukiah, no age provided, appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant such as methamphetamine, and that it is “very common for people under the influence of meth to get very hot and take their clothes off. And he was taken to the hospital to make sure he wasn’t suffering from meth psychosis.”

Magdaleno was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia and violating his probation.

Phillips said one of the UPD officers arresting Magdaleno suffered an injury to his hand and knee, and he was treated and released at the hospital. Any injuries Magdaleno suffered were not specified.

At least one witness to the arrest took video of the arrest, which appears to show officers punching the suspect while he was lying on the ground after being Tased. When asked to address the video and whether it shows use of excessive force, the UPD said it would be issuing a statement.

(courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

Magdelano

From the Mendocino Voice (with videos): mendovoice.com/2021/04/ukiah-police-department-officers-beat-mentally-ill-man-gerardo-magdaleno/


Mark Scaramella Notes:

“His sister, Luna Magdaleno, 30 of Ukiah, said Magdaleno had recently run out of medication for his schizophrenia and had taken a dose of LSD that morning. His other sister, Veronica Diaz, 28, noted that her brother often turns to non-prescription drugs when he runs out of his prescribed meds.”

However this incident plays out, and there certainly does look like some “excessive force” used, the backstory must include the obvious question of how someone could “run out of medication” for a diagnosed mental health condition, which means he was known to the mental health authorities and known to be a problem when off his prescription meds. 

Other questions include:

Why can’t blankets and such be used instead of tasers and punches?

What is taking so long for the crisis van to be up and running?

Why isn’t the Redwood Valley training facility, bought years ago specifically to train law enforcement on how to handle these situations, up and running by now?

The incident has echoes of the Marvin Noble case, a case which ultimately held the Mendocino County Mental Health department as primarily responsible for Marvin Noble’s death at the hands of the Ukiah Police Department.


UKIAH POLICE DEPARTMENT STATEMENT (Friday afternoon, April 2, 2021)

On Thursday, April 1, 2021, Ukiah Police Officers responded to a service call for an individual exhibiting erratic behavior in a public setting. We are aware of videos circulating online showing a partial view of the incident and a graphic portrayal of force when the suspect failed to be subdued after a series of hands-off police techniques. Use of force incidents like this are rare and there is an investigation underway regarding the incident’s escalation and whether Ukiah Police principals and protocols were followed. We understand the serious nature of this incident and the questions that have arisen regarding use of force policies, and will keep the public informed on the outcome of this investigation.

What we know at this time is that UPD officers responded to a call for service by Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) on April 1, 2021 at approximately 2:54 PM, regarding a naked male, who was running along the roadway in the 1400 block of S. State Street.  It is common practice for UPD Officers to monitor radio traffic from MCSO, in the event that UPD Officers could assist. When these calls for service border UPD and MCSO’s jurisdictions, UPD Officers may be closer to the area of the call for service than an MCSO Deputy.

The UPD Officer responded to the area of 1450 S. State St., and observed a naked adult male, who was later identified as Gerardo Magdaleno, along the west edge of the roadway.  The Officer exited his vehicle and contacted Magdaleno.  Magdaleno failed to respond to simple verbal instructions, tensed and assumed an aggressive stance.   

The Officer was concerned for the public’s safety, as there were numerous citizens, including children in the immediate area.  The Officer requested additional law enforcement respond to assist, as Magdaleno was not complying and appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant. 

In the subsequent minutes, additional Officers arrived on site to help subdue the suspect. Magdaleno continued to display aggressive behavior, and the responding Officers moved through a series of escalating response actions to detain him while protecting his safety and the safety of nearby bystanders.

The Officers issued numerous verbal instructions to Magdaleno and he continued to ignore those instructions.  They then resorted to multiple taser deployments and multiple bursts of pepper spray. These hands-off measures were ineffective and Magdaleno continued to resist and repeatedly got back up to physically confront the Officers. Eventually Magdaleno was brought to the ground by several Officers but he continued to resist handcuffs and ignored verbal commands to stop resisting. The Officers then attempted to gain compliance by delivering numerous distraction strikes to the suspect’s head. This allowed the Officers a brief opportunity to place Magdaleno into handcuffs, and then the technique was ceased.

We understand the concern that is raised when physical strikes are used by Officers against a suspect. Ukiah PD officers are trained to evaluate risk and determine threats, pursue de-escalation techniques to avoid physical confrontation, deploy distance measures to secure suspect compliance, and then implement hands-on force if needed. We will be investigating this particular incident to evaluate what happened, whether the response techniques were deployed appropriately, and whether future incidents like this should be handled differently.

Based on Magdaleno’s continued physical resistance even after he was placed in handcuffs, his inability to follow verbal instructions, and the suspicion that he was experiencing a stimulant induced psychosis or excited delirium, Officers then placed Magdaleno into a WRAP.  This is a restraint device designed for the safety of the subject as well as Officers that keeps the subject’s legs straight (limiting their ability to kick or walk), while allowing the subject to be placed into a seated position.  This is an approved restraint device which allows Officers to keep the subject in a seated position, rather than lying on their stomach, which is not an optimal recovery position for a subject that is experiencing excited delirium. 

Officers, Deputies and UVFA personnel began providing medical care for Magdaleno.  This included removal of Taser darts and decontamination for the OC spray that was administered to Magdaleno. Magdaleno was transported via ambulance to AHUV for a fuller medical evaluation prior to incarceration.  This is in alignment with UPD Policy, following a Taser application and use of physical force. 

During the investigation, following the physical confrontation with Magdaleno, Officers located a pair of sweatpants that Magdaleno had been wearing just prior to the original call for service.  Inside the pant’s pocket a glass pipe, commonly used for smoking methamphetamine, was located, a violation of 11364 HS – Possession of drug paraphernalia.   Based on Magdaleno’s level of impairment from suspected methamphetamine use (intoxication), while in public and his apparent inability to care for himself, there was probable cause to believe he was in violation of 647(f) PC – Public intoxication.   Following his medical evaluation, Magdaleno was cleared for incarceration and booked at the MCSO Jail for the above-mentioned violations.  He is currently held at the MCSO Jail on $15,000.00 bail.

As with any Use of Force instances, this incident will be evaluated and investigated per UPD Policy.  This will include review of body worn and vehicle camera videos, which were both used throughout this incident.  The Use of Force Policy and all UPD Policies can be accessed and viewed via the UPD website.  UPD is aware that there are several videos of the incident, not captured by law enforcement, in circulation online.  It should be noted these videos may not have captured the incident in its entirety. We would encourage anyone wishing to provide video of the incident to contact LT. Phillips at 707-463-6254. 

UPD would like to thank MCSO, CHP, UVFA and Med Star personnel for their assistance with this incident.  As a reminder, this incident remains under investigation and as further details may become available and released.  At the time of this press release, Magdaleno had not been processed at the MCSO Jail and the attached booking photo is from a prior incarceration.

Prepared by: UPD Operations Lieutenant Andy Phillips


PROFESSOR COSMOS COMMENTS: 

The UPD statement just came out and they say an investigation is underway. They note that the last flurry of head blows was necessary to get him handcuffed. In one video, it seemed to me that these last blows were just about coincident with his arms being pulled behind him. More video views might resolve that, but if you look at the beginning, it is the agitating, escalating force in the first responding officer that may be off-base and requiring training (depending on the naked guy’s behavior before start of that one video). The guy arrested was at that stage only waving his hands to swipe away incoming pepper spray, the officer all-the-while cursing and yelling.

14 Comments

  1. Professor Cosmos April 2, 2021

    I spent some time looking at policies and law on this. I already know about policies and law for management of assaultive behavior in psych settings and hitting is never allowed. With the police, they can hit in the green zone of fatty tissue areas of the body to subdue people. The head is a red zone but not an illegal one necessarily, prior to containment. This man was contained (rolled over to prone position) when the last flurry of blows to the back of the head occurred.

    I do not believe striking anyone helps really in subduing a person. It would normally further agitate them. Two people could easily do the MAB containment measure of grabbing an arm, hand on wrist pulled to front of one’s body, one’s other arm under person’s armpit and hand clutching clothes at collarbone area, then down you go taking subject to a prone position on the ground.

    • Well said April 3, 2021

      Well said I don’t believe in all that bullshit either hidden over and over and they’re trying to get out of it just like teasing him three times he didn’t even taste three times he needs a bed talk to they did wrong they need to pay

  2. Betsy Cawn April 2, 2021

    He was “naked” — in what way was he then “in possession” of drug paraphernalia (holding it in his hand?). If his “mental” state can normally be controlled/contained by prescription medication, how did his level of available meds fail? And, yeah, isn’t there some kind of soft restraint that can be used to subdue someone in this condition (the Mad Magazine image of the big butterfly net comes to mind, but how about a tranquilizer dart, like they use on wild and ferocious animals — lions, and tigers, and bears)?

    • Joe Hansem April 4, 2021

      A news article said the pipe was in some clothing found nearby the cops presume was his

  3. Marmon April 2, 2021

    I used to be PART Certified (Professional Assault Response Training). Had to be when I worked for group homes. Sometimes we had to take down teenagers that were much bigger than my assigned co-worker and I. We always worked in pairs.

    PART is not a self-defense course. It is a program that assists:

    workers to enhance their communication skills; understand and be aware of self, the individual and the environment; recognize and respond to violent situations; and,

    in providing the appropriate response to potentially violent individuals. (take downs without causing injury)

    Marmon

    P.S. I never put knee to anyone’s throat or struck them with fist.

  4. Professor Cosmos April 2, 2021

    The UPD statement just came out and they say an investigation is underway. They note that the last flurry of head blows was necessary to get him handcuffed. In one video, it seemed to me that these last blows were just about coincident with his arms being pulled behind him. More video views might resolve that, but if you look at the beginning, it is the agitating, escalating force in the first responding officer that may be off-base and requiring training (depending on the naked guy’s behavior before start of that one video). The guy arrested was at that stage only waving his hands to swipe away incoming pepper spray, the officer all-the-while cursing and yelling.

  5. Marmon April 2, 2021

    In situations like this the subject will usually respond more positively to a biker looking dude than they will a armed uniformed officer or some woman in a dress and high heels.

    Marmon
    Biker looking dude

    • Marmon April 2, 2021

      My greatest tool as a social worker was me and my life experiences. That was one of the reasons I was selected in an impacted master social work program at Sac State, thousand applied but only 750 of us was selected.

      Marmon

      • Marmon April 2, 2021

        that should read “were selected” not was selected.

        Thank you

        Marmon

  6. Marmon April 2, 2021

    I was told that my past personal experience pushed me to the top. That was one hell of a letter I sent them.

    Marmon

  7. Douglas Coulter April 2, 2021

    The need to be in control! This is the mind set of most police today. I have a gun a Tazer and pepper spray. Crazy terrifies them, “failure to communicate”.
    Nothing should have been done by first officer except protect the public. The first cop needed control and crazy would not comply.
    Complete fail of police. What if it had been a large animal? Of course it won’t comply to verbal commands. The crazy girl with a knife slashing tires was not beaten or tazored, must of been different cops.

  8. Stephen Rosenthal April 3, 2021

    Well, at least the City Attorney earned his pay. But from hereon the expensive lawyers will be called in to arrange a multimillion dollar settlement. This thug just hit the jackpot.

  9. Jeff Blankfort April 6, 2021

    I watched the two videos and then read the statement from the police department. I wondered how, in view of the awareness by the department that videos were taken of the assault on Magdaleno, they could issue a description of what happened so at odds with what can be seen in the videos.

    • Marmon April 6, 2021

      What is Image Bias? The choice of what images to use or not use to represent a news story is an important decision made by all media sources. For example, accompanying a war article with a picture of dead bodies as opposed to a picture of patriotic soldiers is a concious decision made by a new source.

      Marmon

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