Saturday, June 3, 2023

Geniella’s Rebuttal: Criticisms of His Kevin Murray Coverage are ‘Odd’ and ‘Misinformed’—Letter to the Editor


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The letter below is a rebuttal to this letter published yesterday.

Sergeant Kevin Murray and his former Police K-9 [Picture from the Ukiah Police Department]

Mr. Koepf’s obsession with my coverage of the Kevin Murray police misconduct case is odd, and misinformed. His Trump-like attacks on what he sees as my engagement in ‘fake news’ need rebutting. 

Let’s look at facts surrounding the Murray case: 

  • Sonoma County probation authorities after viewing limited information about Murray that was turned over to them by Mendocino County urged a year’s jail term. Probation officers said more time behind bars might have been recommended had they received all background reports surrounding the felony sex charges that the DA’s Office dropped against Murray as part of a controversial plea deal. Probation officers and judges have the right to consider factual elements of all investigative criminal reports in sentencing.
  • The alleged victim’s occupation is not the issue. What is pertinent is the fact a Ukiah Police Sergeant encountered the woman while on patrol, and later stole the key card to her room. He then returned hours later off duty and out of uniform and forcibly entered the room. The officer exposed himself, made her fondle him, and demanded sex. Murray admitted to the sex demands in presentencing interviews with probation officers.
  • A second alleged victim in the criminal case for some reason is not mentioned by Koepf. That woman outlined in graphic detail the circumstances of her experiences to the sentencing judge. It was this woman who called the plea agreement a ‘sweetheart’ deal.
  • Investigators in the case, the East Bay attorney representing the Sacramento woman who Murray attempted to intimidate into sex, and the second woman identified as ‘Jane Doe’ in court documents are adamant that they were prepared to testify despite DA claims to the contrary. The disputed plea deal apparently is more the result of trial delays, shortage of available jurors, court scheduling conflicts, and DA Eyster’s reluctance from the beginning in prosecuting the case. It should be noted that neither Eyster nor Assistant DA Dale Trigg chose to marshal this high-profile case through the system. Originally, Sgt. Murray faced five felony charges.
  • Mr. Koepf makes brief note of a third alleged victim who has a still-pending civil lawsuit (the DA said her complaints were beyond the statute of limitations) against Murray and the city for her sexual abuse at his hands. She could have been called as a witness in the criminal matter, however.
  • As for my former position as Eyster’s spokesman, Mr. Koepf’s ‘vengeance’ theory is laughable, and so like the Trump world of misinformation that he clearly inhabits. I chose to leave the DA’s office because I disagreed with the increasingly verbose accounts Eyster wrote and posted on his website instead of the accepted journalism practices we had agreed upon when I took the position. My references to the DA taking time out of his presumably busy days as a chief prosecutor to write his own accounts is not personal, nor related to his notion that the Eyster is the final arbiter of public information. The fact is that the DA typically takes pains to write and post prosecution details about cases of far less significance including outcomes of misdemeanor DUI trials. Yet Eyster has not posted one word or publicly answered any questions about Murray’s sentencing. He nor deputy DA Heidi Larson so far have not publicly disclosed the reasons behind the controversial plea deal they accepted. 
  • I have worked with and enjoyed the friendship of many law enforcement officers over the years, from cops on the beat to police chiefs, sheriffs, and CHP commanders. I hold them in the highest regard. They are friends, neighbors, and community leaders handling increasingly tough jobs as our social ills mount. Murray has been described by colleagues as a ‘bad apple.’ Enough said.
  • Tommy Wayne Kramer and I share a professional relationship and a longtime friendship. That we disagree sometimes is no surprise. We enjoy informed debates over lunch with friends.
  • Lastly, if Eyster or Larson deigned to answer questions from the public about this high-profile case, we might all be better informed. Instead, we are greeted with silence in an unacceptable display of arrogance from an elected public official.

Mike Geniella

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  1. Geniella’s obsession continues. “Trump-like”? Give it a rest, mikey. You’re no journalist, and you never were. Just an old propagandist wind bag. A doug bosco press democrat stooge.

  2. I think you’re getting off base here. I agree that Mr. Koepf is in the wrong. You are reporting on a very important issue and I believe you are in the right. My problem is you’re turning this into he is a Trump follower therefore he is wrong. I don’t think Trump misinformation is a good statement or apply here.

    Most people would agree that this Country was running better under Trump than Biden.
    Misinformation has occurred from Liberals at a alarming rate.

    These are all facts that I will talk about, Hillary Clinton paid for a campaign of lies about Trump that caused a 2 year investigation. The Media under Democratic rule covered up and silenced the Hunter Biden laptop. And now we find out that Joe Biden lied about his knowledge of his son’s business dealings and profited from them. I could go on and on.

    Stay the course Mike, this is not about Trump. This is about wrong and right, and you’re right and Mr. Koepf is dead wrong. Let’s not fall into the trap our Country has fallen in. Eyster needs to answer, and I don’t care who is Conservative or Liberal.

    • So much biasness and whataboutism here. Trump and his family have done much worse, stolen from charities, tax evasion etc.

      We are recovering from all of the corporate deregulation and benefits for the wealthy coupled with a failed preemptive response to a pandemic.

      You swing and miss here.

  3. “I chose to leave the DA’s office because I disagreed with the increasingly verbose accounts Eyster wrote and posted on his website instead of the accepted journalism practices we had agreed upon when I took the position.” Ahh…so I did smoke you out, magnificent Mike. Disgruntled? Challenged with animosity? Just plain pissed off, or moving on seeking tranquility in a more elevated place? Who knows? You obviously disagreed with the DA Verbose and kept sneaking it into your Kevin Murray opinion pieces, which I thought were pretty good, if not a bit over the top. Good work there, except for the part where you tried to tarnish every cop in California with Murray’s despicable feats. If you want to write about Eyster and your once-upon-a-time, challenging relationship…write about it. Don’t paste it like a “kick me” sign to the DA’s back as you write about something else. Now, try not to bother me for the rest of the day, I’m off to Mar-a-Lago for a cocktail with the man himself. Mike, I know we live in Biden County in a Biden state. Assisted care is the continuing state of mind, and you’re the nurse we love.

    • Mr. Koepf I agree that the Trump references are uncalled for. This matter has nothing to do with either political party. With that being said, let’s talk about the issue here.

      We have a police Sargent who committed serious crimes given a light sentence. When Mike asked the DA questions he is stonewalled. Mike has experience in dealing with DA Dave, in other words he has knowledge that you and I don’t have. You take it as an axe to grind. You are so worried that Mike is tainted and cannot look at this fairly. Meanwhile DA Dave sits quietly and Kevin Murray walks the streets.

      Let me ask you, my last statement doesn’t bother you. I would think we all want answers and I believe Mike is trying to get them.

      • Dear, Call It As You Think You Are, whoever you really are hiding behind your “As I See It” phony name. Never write about Peter to punish Paul. Please refer this to your good pal Mike. Also, does anybody in this county ever read things closely or use their real name? Ah, here comes Melania now. I believe she wants to freshen up my drink.

    • “Good work there, except for the part where you tried to tarnish every cop in California with Murray’s despicable feats.”

      Where did he do that? It’s exactly this type of demagogic straw man argument that brings Trump and his acolytes to mind.

      • Geniella wrote: “…while Eyster and other prosecutors and police agencies (my underline) stall (my underline once more) in providing full details of cases like Murray’s, the California Reporting Project, founded by KQED and NPR, in 2021 analyzed 103 sexual misconduct cases from different police departments across the state. The conclusion was that in many cases the victims were vulnerable to an officer’s authority: sex workers, confidential informants, and already incarcerated people.” Why did Geniella bring this up? Got it? He links Eyster and hence local police agencies with alleged rampant sexual misconduct throughout the state. As S.I. Hayakawa once wrote: cow one is not cow two. Mike G’s implication was that Kevin Murray was just the tip of the iceberg and that was blatantly untrue and wrong.

        But, thank you for using your real name.

  4. The basic tennant of journalism is telling the objective truth. Seems like Mike was hired to do that. Eyster commandeered that 3rd party objective view for the public when he wrote-over Mike. Why? Was Mike too truthful for Esyter? Esyter is abusing his power and deceiving the public with his bias twisting narratives which allow hypocrite rapist cops to roam.

    • Geniella was right to bring it up, because officers abusing their authority is a problem, rampant or not, that should not be minimized or swept under the rug as you and Eyster are trying to do with the Murray and Waidelich matters. But good try at trying to deflect concern over this issue into generalized political demagoguery and hype about liberals etc. Geniella has an article in today’s AVA about the Sonoma County Probation Dept’s view of the Murray case it was tasked with evaluating.

  5. Trump-like is accurate.
    Attacking journalists for telling the truth is the exact gaslighting tactic Trump used to undermine objective journalism.
    The undermining of objective journalism is what’s happening here, and that’s what Eyster was doing to Mike when the DA assumed the unbiased position of a journalist.

      • Poor baby! Give us a break. So someone had the chutzpah to criticize your one of your little essays. Doesn’t mean you were attacked. And the puff-piece press democrat badge doesn’t render you an “objective journalist”.

        As geniella well knows: a propagandist’s third best friend is hysteria. Right behind lies and subterfuge.

      • That would be true if the media wasn’t in the pockets of Liberals. The media and Hillary told you Trump was Russian agent, lies paid for by Hillary.

        The media and Adam Schiff told you he had evidence of Trump and Russia, another lie.

        The media along with Mark Zuckerberg told you Hunter’s laptop was disinformation, once again another lie.

        If I was Trump I would call them out too. I only mentioned a few things there is a lot more.

        For Mike to use Trump like in his reporting has nothing to do with this issue, if anything DA Dave acts like one of Joe Biden’s press people.

  6. The real issue is why the State of California isn’t all over Mendocino County. The corruption and crony protection are evident in more than just the Murray case. Eyster retaliation against Wadeleich’s ex, ruining her career with a Brady listing, Wadeleich himself, the silence about his firing, the cop up in Willits that the Lake County Sheriff was called to investigate. We the people are being kept in the dark by a thoroughly corrupt County Justice System, DA and Judges.

  7. Your words would have more credence and be a more powerful representation if you omitted inconsequential political jabs that have no pertinence to the story whatsoever.

  8. You just crossed the line bringing politics into this. If you are confident in your reporting, you did not need to address any of this. Your last article was poorly written and rambled with the same facts being reported over and over again. When I read it, I believed there was some emotion behind the article, which was well beyond the actual case. Just because you have a soapbox to stand on, doesn’t mean you can say anything you want. Stick to reporting facts and you’ll be just fine.

  9. It was also mentioned there weren’t enough people for the jury trial. I had jury trial notice twice within the last half year or so and both times was told I was not needed. That doesn’t seem like a lack of jurors to me.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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