A man and several of his family members have filed claims against San Diego's police force for property damage and false arrest during the July 2016 investigation into a shooting which killed police officer Jonathan DeGuzman and wounded his partner.
According to documents obtained by the Reader in a public records request, Marcus Cassani and five family members submitted claims, a precursor to a lawsuit, to San Diego's Risk Management Department between January and March of this year.
The claim centers on the manhunt which occurred hours after DeGuzman and his partner Wade Irwin were shot on July 29, 2016.
During the investigation police surrounded Marissa Cassani's home on Epsilon Street in San Diego's Shelltown neighborhood in search of her brother Marcus who police considered a potential accomplice to Jesse Michael Gomez, 52, who shot DeGuzman and Irwin during a traffic stop in Southcrest. DeGuzman and Irwin had been on gang suppression patrol when they encountered Gomez. Police apprehended Gomez a half an hour later in a nearby ravine, according to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
After police apprehended Gomez, they began to look for who they thought was his accomplice, Marcus Cassani. At the time Cassani was wanted on an outstanding warrant. Cassani had previous convictions for methamphetamine possession, as well as other offenses. Cassani, however, had no role in the shooting.
Police surrounded Cassani's sister's house, ordering him to exit. They shot dozens of smoke bombs into the house on Epsilon Street. Officers deployed a police robot to enter the home. The robot, and later a SWAT team squad, did not find anyone inside.
Cassani later surrendered a few blocks away and was arrested. He claimed, according to the Union-Tribune report, that it was a case of mistaken identity.
Now Cassani, his sister, who owns the house that police had searched and set smoke bombs off in, as well as other family members have filed claims for "false detainment" and for "damaging property" in their search for Cassani.
The city is required to respond to the claim. If denied then Cassani and his family are free to file a civil lawsuit against the city.