Sunday, June 4, 2023

Mendocino County Residents Protest the Tasing, Pepper Spraying, and Beating of Mentally Ill Man by Officers With the Ukiah Police Department


Approximately fifteen Mendocino County residents gathered at noon in Ukiah in protest of what demonstrators saw as a case of excessive use of force when Ukiah Police Department officers tased, pepper-sprayed, and punched Ukiah resident Gerardo Magdaleno on April 1, 2021.

The small but intimate protest took place on the corner of Ukiah’s Low Gap Road and Bush Street, in front of the Mendocino County Administrative buildings. At approximately 12:45 p.m., the contingent took their demonstration on foot walking across Ukiah’s Westside gathering on the steps of the Ukiah Civic Center where the Ukiah Police Department has its headquarters.

One participant told us, “I am here to support awareness of mental health. Violence does not help anyone with mental health issues.”

Another said, “Ukiah Police were abusing this man who was clearly in critical condition mentally. That is not okay, The police need to be reigned in.”

One protestor’s sign had a rendering of an open eyeball drawn on it they said was a reference to George Orwell’s novel 1984 and the concept of “Big Brother” along with text that read “UPD: We Are Watching! We See!”

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One protestor told us the violence wrought on Magdaleno was representative of the “system of violence that killed George Floyd and other people of color.” 

The fact that not all residents were critical of UPD’s use of force was made clear when a passing motorist shouted, “He deserved it.”

Ukiah Police Department’s reputation in the community has suffered over the last two months since charges came to light against since fired UPD Sergeant Kevin Murray accused of two separate incidents of sexual violence. Those charges include a November 2020 incident of sexual battery, burglary, and drug possession and the second set of charges were filed one month later accusing Murray of rape and forcible oral copulation in 2014.

Since the video footage of UPD officers using force on Magdaleno went viral, the Ukiah Police Department has released a statement speaking to the circumstances that led up to the use of force. They characterized many of the punches seen on the video as “distraction strikes” which multiple protestors at today’s demonstration were critical of. UPD did state they would be further investigating the circumstances to determine whether the use of force was appropriate.

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  1. So refreshing to see transsexuals out in force to protest this patriarchical brutality! I honked and screamed in support as I drove by! Trans lives matter, too!!

  2. if the perp didnt resist, everything would have been ok. if you want to fight they will bring it on, until you comply. you can blame raygun for this, when he closed talmadge. an added this to an overloaded police officers work load. they are not mental health nurses, or doctors.
    huh bb

  3. Yeah let’s defund the police for arresting a prior sexual predator, who’s naked, high on drugs, and resisting arrest. I’d personally shake each one of those officers hands for doing the job I guarantee not a single one of those protesters would do.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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