" The plaintiff, a veteran who was honorably discharged from the United States Navy, is disabled due to a back injury that he suffered during his military service. He is a single father, lives with his son in an apartment complex in Ukiah, and was 46 at the time that he encountered Officer Murray. Compl. – ECF No. 1 at 3 (¶ 10).Id. (¶¶ 10–11).
On October 13, 2018, at about 7:00 p.m., the plaintiff left a note on his neighbor Joni Wellington's door about her dog, who had been barking all day in Ms. Wellington's absence. Around 10:30 p.m., Ms. Wellington returned home drunk, found the note, and confronted another neighbor about it. The plaintiff heard the commotion, came out of his apartment, and explained that he had left the note. Another neighbor announced that she had called the police, who were on their way. The plaintiff returned to his apartment and was standing inside the doorway behind a partly closed door when Officer Murray arrived.
The plaintiff recognized Officer Murray from an earlier encounter when Officer Murray accused him of egging someone's car, entered the plaintiff's apartment, searched his refrigerator, and claimed that his eggs "matched" the eggs found at the scene. That time, the plaintiff called Officer Murray a "punk" and told him to leave his apartment immediately, and Officer Murray "has had it out for Mr. Rasku" ever since. When Officer Murray arrived on October 13, he told the plaintiff to take a seat on the ground outside his apartment. The plaintiff refused and said he would stay in his doorway. In response, without any exigency, Officer Murray charged at the plaintiff's door with his shoulder causing the door to fly open into the plaintiff's head and face, knocking him unconscious. Officer Murray entered the home and began punching, kneeing, and kicking the plaintiff. The plaintiff woke up with his left arm cuffed, his right arm under his body (rendering him immobile), while Officer Murray kneed him in the ribs. Officer Murray repeatedly punched the plaintiff in the face and delivered "numerous further knee strikes to his lower ribs". Officer Murray was wearing a body camera during the encounter, but in violation of department policy, did not activate it.
Backup officers arrived minutes later, finished cuffing the plaintiff, and "picked him up from the ground by the chain of the handcuffs, raising [the plaintiff]’s arms high above his back and causing him great pain." The overtight handcuffs cut into the flesh on the plaintiff's wrists. The officers carried the plaintiff to their patrol car, and Officer Murray shut the door on the plaintiff's foot, laughed at him, and said that he was going to jail and would lose his housing.
The plaintiff spent that night at Ukiah Valley Hospital and then was transferred to Santa Rosa Memorial hospital, where he spent the next four days. He suffered the following injuries:
Eight of Mr. Rasku's ribs were broken, four of them in multiple places. One of Mr. Rasku's lungs was punctured and would later partially collapse. Plaintiff further suffered nerve damage to his wrists, a chest wall contusion, abrasions around his neck, and facial injuries which caused his eye to swell shut. As a result of the injury to his lungs, Mr. Rasku developed pneumonia.
Officer Murray wrote a police report that falsely accused the plaintiff of slamming the apartment door on Officer Murray's arm and trying to punch him. A young boy in an adjacent apartment recorded the entry, and the video "clearly depicts the initial confrontation, and directly contradicts Officer Murray's" account. Prosecuting authorities charged the plaintiff with one felony count of resisting arrest in Mendocino County Superior Court. During the preliminary hearing, after Officer Murray allegedly perjured himself, the prosecutor offered the plaintiff diversion.
On February 20, 2020, the plaintiff sued (1) Officer Murray for unlawful entry and excessive force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment (claims one and two) and (2) the City of Ukiah for municipal liability on the ground that the City's police chief ratified Officer Murray's unlawful entry and excessive force, in violation of Monell. "
This is what the City of Ukiah and the Ukiah Police Department do not want you to know.
Ukiah Police Sergeant Kevin Murray