Wednesday, October 4, 2023

City of Ukiah Will Pay $250K to the Woman Allegedly Sexually Assaulted by Former Police Sergeant Kevin Murray

Ukiah Police Officer Kevin Murray and his K9 Partner Thor [Picture from the Ukiah Police Department website]

Former Ukiah Police Sergeant Kevin Murray was accused of a litany of crimes spanning over eight years including burglary, sexual assault, possession of methamphetamine, forced oral copulation, and more. 

Murray was terminated by the City of Ukiah in January 2021 after the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint accusing Murray of burglary, sexual battery, possession of methamphetamine, and a violation of civil rights. These charges stem from his interactions with a woman at Ukiah’s Super 8 motel in late November 2020.

Now, over a year after these accusations emerged, the City of Ukiah has agreed to pay a $250,000 settlement to Kevin Murray’s victim, identified only as “S.Y.” in court documents.

Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley and Ukiah Police Department Chief Noble Waidelich confirmed a “conditional settlement has been reached pending” approval.” The conditional settlement came as a result of pending civil litigation the City of Ukiah was facing from Murray’s alleged victim.

Chief Waidelich made it clear that the settlement “admits no liability for the City or its employees” and emphasized that Murray “was separated from his employment for his off-duty activities.” 

Deputy Manager Riley pressed that the city “acted swiftly” after the charges that were filed against Murray emerged in January 2021. She also said that a “settlement is a settlement. It’s not an admission of guilt. It’s part of the legal process.”

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This settlement is the second payout by the City of Ukiah for actions associated with Murray. Former Ukiah resident Christopher Rasku was awarded $1,050,000 in 2021 for an incident on October 18, 2018. A civil suit alleged 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. The lawsuit asserted Murray wrote a falsified police report claiming Rasku started the encounter.

At this point, the actions of disgraced Ukiah Police Sergeant Kevin Murray have amounted to approximately $1,300,000 in payouts.

Kevin Murray [Picture from the MCSO Booking Logs]

Couple those payouts with the $211,000 awarded to Oscar Magdaleno, the Ukiah man who was tased and subdued via “distraction strikes” by UPD officers while in the middle of a drug-infused, psychotic episode.

Over the last two years, the City of Ukiah has had over $1.5 million dollars in settlements as a result of civilians claiming abuse by Ukiah Police officers.

Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster made it clear that a settlement of this nature would not affect the woman’s ability to testify in the criminal trial against Murray. “We’ll be ready to go forward with evidence when the courts are finally ready.” 

News of this $250,000 settlement emerged within days of Murray’s trial, originally set to begin this month on May 16 was vacated and rescheduled to begin on July 18, 2022.

DA Eyster told us the delay in the trial was not related to this settlement, but due to the courts being unable to summon “enough jurors to complete jury selection and impanel a jury.” DA Eyster said, “A murder trial had to be reset last week after two attempts for the same reason.” 

He asked the public to consider that “Jury service is a privilege not afforded citizens in many countries. Justice cannot move forward locally without having folks ready and willing to perform their civic duty by serving on juries and helping to resolve the significant backlog of criminal cases.”

Since the initial arrest of then Sergeant Kevin Murray, accusations of further crimes and inappropriate behaviors have emerged.

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

A civil suit filed by a female law enforcement officer who was once a member of the Ukiah Police Department described an incident in October 2013 that occurred while on an out-of-town training. The lawsuit asserts Murray insisted on escorting the woman to her hotel room where he proceeded to force himself upon her, fondle her breasts, and reveal his “erect penis” before she locked herself in the bathroom for refuge. 

The lawsuit claims that despite reporting Murray’s inappropriate behaviors, the command staff failed to respond and enabled a work culture of discrimination and retaliation. She eventually  stopped working for UPD in November 2020, the same month when Murray allegedly burglarized and sexually assaulted a woman at Ukiah’s Super 8 Motel.

After Murray was charged for his alleged behavior at the Ukiah Motel in November 2020, new accusations of sexual indiscretions emerged in the form of another criminal complaint that asserted he committed rape and forced oral copulation in 2014.

Murray, out on bail for his growing list of criminal accusations, was cited by the Lakeport Police Department who accused him of stealing a woman’s wallet from a Lakeport grocery store in November 2021. Prosecutors attempted to use this charge to justify the revocation of his bail, but their request was denied. 

Despite this laundry list, please note that none of the criminal wrongdoings described have been proven true by a court of law.

Our Coverage of Kevin Murray Since the Beginning

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  1. This is garbage, Noble knew this guy was a bad apple. He had a history of being disciplined and they promoted him because he kissed ass. Noble wasn’t in charge, he inherited this mess. While Dewey, Wyant and Kaiser were in leadership roles this happened on their watch. This department under these three was ran horribly and that’s why there is a high turnover rate. From day 1 Murray was bad, they knew it and did nothing about it.

  2. A lot of the other ones need training for interacting with people with nervous disorders and not thinking they are on stimulants. Also not keep escalating their issues.

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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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