Crime

Former Sergeant Accused of Robbery, Sexual Battery, and Drug Possession ‘No Longer Employed,’ Says Ukiah Police Chief

Kevin Murray [Booking photo from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office]

Ukiah Police Chief Justin Wyatt announced this afternoon via a Facebook video that Sergeant Kevin Murray “is no longer employed with the Ukiah Police Department.” Chief Wyatt explained that criminal and internal investigations resulted in Murray’s dismissal and accusations of several crimes, including burglary, sexual battery, possession of methamphetamine, and a violation of civil rights stemming from excessive use of force.

Speaking to his and the department’s reactions to Murray’s behavior, Chief Wyatt said, “As your police chief, let me say, the department joins with the community in the rejection of this behavior and the shock and disappointment being felt about this.”

The charges Murray faces are a result of one or more incidents that took place at Ukiah’s Super 8 Motel at 693 South Orchard Avenue on November 25, 2020 and the crimes are “connected together in their commission,” according to a criminal complaint filed by the Mendocino County District Attorney.

Chief Wyatt said the department learned of the potential misconduct in late November and “reacted right away,” placing Murray on leave “in accordance with our policy and personnel law.”

Ukiah Police Chief Justin Wyatt addressing the dismissal of Kevin Murray [Screenshot from his video posted on the department’s Facebook page]

Upon learning of the accusations stemming from actions taken on the evening of November 25, 2020, Chief Wyatt said the department “reached out to the district attorney immediately and asked for a criminal investigation into Murray’s conduct the evening of November 25, 2020.”

Chief Wyatt assured that “the department has remained fully transparent with the District Attorney within the limits of the law as both the criminal investigation and the formal internal investigation has progressed.”

The recent charges Murray faces are not the first time his professional conduct has been called into question. A civil rights lawsuit filed by Ukiah resident Christopher Rasku alleges on October 18, 2018, Murray entered Rasku’s home unlawfully, knocking him unconscious, and proceeded to punch and kick him, causing broken ribs, a punctured lung, and nerve damage. Murray allegedly wrote a falsified police report claiming Rasku started the encounter.

Chief Wyatt felt compelled to share the steps taken after Murray’s actions in November came to light because “I want the community to know we acted swiftly. It is because we took this matter seriously, and the manner in which it was handled, that Murray is answering in the criminal courts for his actions.”

“Both the community and the department looks forward to a resolution within the criminal justice system that holds Murray accountable for his behavior,” Chief Wyatt added.

Addressing the ethical obligation of law enforcement, Chief Wyatt asserted, “There is no question, police conduct must be of the highest standards. We must have the confidence and the trust of the community that we protect.” He added, “The law enforcement profession demands integrity so there is no room in public service and there must be no tolerance for the behavior that was portrayed that evening.”

“The conduct in this case in no way reflects the standards of the city of Ukiah or the Ukiah Police Department,” Chief Wyatt made clear. 

Chief Wyatt reminded the community that “this individual’s actions are absolutely not a reflection of the hard-working men and women of the Ukiah Police Department. We remain committed to this community and providing the highest level of law enforcement services.

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