4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

County, Sheriff's Department may be liable in 2006 suicide-by-cop case

The California Supreme Court last week, in response to an apparent 2006 incidence of “suicide by cop” in the East County suburb of Santee, ruled that the San Diego Sheriff’s Department could potentially be liable for negligence in the series of events that led to the shooting death of Santee resident Shane Hayes.

Deputies Michael King and Sue Geer responded to a noise complaint at the Hayes residence on September 17, 2006. They were met by Hayes’ girlfriend, Geri Neill, who told King that Hayes had tried to kill himself earlier that evening by inhaling exhaust fumes from his car, that he had attempted to harm himself on other occasions, and that she was concerned for his safety.

While Neill told deputies that there were no guns in the house, they did not ask, nor did they discover until a later date, that Hayes had been drinking heavily that night. Nor were they aware that he had been taken into custody four months earlier after attempting suicide with a knife.

Nonetheless, deputies entered the living room and found Hayes standing in the kitchen. Refusing orders to raise his hands, Hayes instead advanced upon King and Geer with a large knife in his hand, prompting both deputies to un-holster their firearms and fire two shots each into Hayes, who had advanced to a distance of between two and eight feet. Hayes was killed as a result of the multiple gunshot wounds.

A year later, Hayes’ daughter Chelsey, who was 12 years old at the time of the shootings, filed suit against the County of San Diego and Deputies King and Geer, “asserting in various ways a violation of Shane’s right under the federal Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ‘to be secure . . . against unreasonable searches and seizures’ and a violation of plaintiff’s own right under the federal Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment not to be ‘deprive[d of] . . . liberty . . . without due process of law’ (specifically, her liberty interest in the continuing companionship of her father),” according to California Supreme Court Justice Joyce L. Kennard, writing on behalf of a unanimous court.

Chelsey Hayes also alleged negligence on the part of the deputies for their lack of caution in approaching her father, and negligent hiring, training, retention, and supervision on the part of the County.

A federal judge found in favor of King and Geer, ruling in a summary judgment dismissing all charges that “the deputies owed plaintiff no duty of care with regard to their pre-shooting conduct and decisions.”

Chelsey appealed the decision, and the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Diego deferred to the state Supreme Court in 2011, asking whether it was possible the deputies could be found negligent under state law.

The Supreme Court ruled yes, unanimously.

“Law enforcement personnel’s tactical conduct and decisions preceding the use of deadly force are relevant considerations under California law in determining whether the use of deadly force gives rise to negligence liability,” concludes Justice Kennard. “Such liability can arise, for example, if the tactical conduct and decisions show, as part of the totality of circumstances, that the use of deadly force was unreasonable. Whether defendants here acted reasonably is not for us to decide.”

The matter now returns to the federal appeals court.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

John Fogerty, Local Author Talk: T. Jefferson Parker, Tijuana Street Food Tour

Events January 20-January 22, 2022
Next Article

The secret origin of Steve Poltz’s One Left Shoe

Occasional Rugburn talks Jewel and biker chicks

The California Supreme Court last week, in response to an apparent 2006 incidence of “suicide by cop” in the East County suburb of Santee, ruled that the San Diego Sheriff’s Department could potentially be liable for negligence in the series of events that led to the shooting death of Santee resident Shane Hayes.

Deputies Michael King and Sue Geer responded to a noise complaint at the Hayes residence on September 17, 2006. They were met by Hayes’ girlfriend, Geri Neill, who told King that Hayes had tried to kill himself earlier that evening by inhaling exhaust fumes from his car, that he had attempted to harm himself on other occasions, and that she was concerned for his safety.

While Neill told deputies that there were no guns in the house, they did not ask, nor did they discover until a later date, that Hayes had been drinking heavily that night. Nor were they aware that he had been taken into custody four months earlier after attempting suicide with a knife.

Nonetheless, deputies entered the living room and found Hayes standing in the kitchen. Refusing orders to raise his hands, Hayes instead advanced upon King and Geer with a large knife in his hand, prompting both deputies to un-holster their firearms and fire two shots each into Hayes, who had advanced to a distance of between two and eight feet. Hayes was killed as a result of the multiple gunshot wounds.

A year later, Hayes’ daughter Chelsey, who was 12 years old at the time of the shootings, filed suit against the County of San Diego and Deputies King and Geer, “asserting in various ways a violation of Shane’s right under the federal Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ‘to be secure . . . against unreasonable searches and seizures’ and a violation of plaintiff’s own right under the federal Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment not to be ‘deprive[d of] . . . liberty . . . without due process of law’ (specifically, her liberty interest in the continuing companionship of her father),” according to California Supreme Court Justice Joyce L. Kennard, writing on behalf of a unanimous court.

Chelsey Hayes also alleged negligence on the part of the deputies for their lack of caution in approaching her father, and negligent hiring, training, retention, and supervision on the part of the County.

A federal judge found in favor of King and Geer, ruling in a summary judgment dismissing all charges that “the deputies owed plaintiff no duty of care with regard to their pre-shooting conduct and decisions.”

Chelsey appealed the decision, and the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Diego deferred to the state Supreme Court in 2011, asking whether it was possible the deputies could be found negligent under state law.

The Supreme Court ruled yes, unanimously.

“Law enforcement personnel’s tactical conduct and decisions preceding the use of deadly force are relevant considerations under California law in determining whether the use of deadly force gives rise to negligence liability,” concludes Justice Kennard. “Such liability can arise, for example, if the tactical conduct and decisions show, as part of the totality of circumstances, that the use of deadly force was unreasonable. Whether defendants here acted reasonably is not for us to decide.”

The matter now returns to the federal appeals court.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close