CNET Timeline of a Scandal

Timeline of a Scandal

The still-unfolding saga of a drug and conspiracy case involving East Bay police officers, a Contra Costa County drug task force commander, a Concord private eye and several nasty divorce cases has multiple twists and turns.
patch
If your head is spinning over the recent news involving a Contra Costa County drug force commander, a Concord private eye, various other local law enforcement officers and drugs and conspiracy charges, it's understandable.
Here's a timeline summarizing who, according to court records, is involved and what happened when.
Key players:
  • Norm Wielsh, 49, former Antioch police officer, former head of a Contra Costa drug task force, friend of Christopher Butler. Free on $400,000 bail on conspiracy and drug dealing charges. 
  • Christopher Butler, 49, former Antioch police officer, Concord private investigator, developer of reality TV show about female private eyes. Currently out on $900,000 bail on conspiracy and drug dealing charges.
  • Stephen Tanabe, 47, former Antioch police officer, former Danville police officer, Alamo resident. Free on bail for drug and weapon charges. 
  • Louis Lombardi, 38, a San Ramon Police officer, charged with five felony counts in connection with the case. Free on bail.
  • Now-retired Concord police officer Don Lawson, a former identity theft consultant for Butler; currently is a Clayton-based identity theft consultant.
  • Mary Nolan, a San Ramon divorce attorney who handled Butler's divorce from his wife of 17 years; often referred female clients to Butler.
  • "Confidential informant," or "CI," an employee at Butler's private investigations firm whose initial Jan. 21 contact with state  Justice Department sets the whole case in motion. The CI, whose gender is obscured in court records, told agents that Butler wanted to sell marijuana in order to help his longtime friend Norm Wielsch make some extra money. 
Key places: The Taylor Boulevard headquarters in Pleasant Hill for the Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team; the Concord office of Butler and Associates; The Vine, a Danville wine bar; Clayton Club Saloon, Clayton;  E.J. Phair's, Concord; Ed's Mudville Grill, Clayton; Old Spaghetti Factory, Concord; the Tice Valley Boulevard parking lot for the Rossmoor Safeway in Walnut Creek; the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department's evidence storage facility in Concord; the county landfill in Martinez. 
What happened and when: 
  • July 2007: A Clayton man, now 46, going through a divorce, is arrested by Lawson after drinking with a woman at two local bars. He believes he has been set up and tells his story to the San Francisco Chronicle in an article published March 13. His ex-wife's attorney was Mary Nolan. (She later withdrew from the case, according to court records.) 
  • Sept. 4, 2008: A judgement for dissolution of marriage and a seemingly amicable settlement is entered in Contra Costa County Superior Court for Christopher Butler and his former wife of 17 years. The attorney representing Butler is Mary Nolan, and the settlement lets both husband and wife divide up joint assets and keep assets they each acquired before and after their marriage and separation. 
  • Dec. 12, 2008: A Concord man, then 46, has drinks with a woman at the Old Spaghetti Factory. That night he is arrested on DUI charges by Lawson. He later tells the San Francisco Chronicle he saw a show featuring Butler and his female private investigators and recognizes the woman he had drinks with the night he was arrested.
  • Nov. 2, 2010: An off-duty Tanabe calls Danville police officer Thomas Henderson to report a man who was about to leave a Danville wine bar and drive drunk. The man, a 47-year-old Oakland resident, is arrested by Henderson and another Danville police officer on DUI charges. 
  • On or about Nov. 19, 2010: Butler approaches one of his employees at his private investigations firm and tells the employee he wants to help his friend "Norm," who is nearing retirement, make some extra money. Butler shows this employee (whose gender is deliberately obscured in a search warrant affidavit) a black plastic case containing what appears to be one pound of marijuana, saying it came from "Norm" and that it is worth about $3,000 per pound. Butler asks the employee to sell it and says they can all share the proceeds, with half going to Norm. The lowest amount for which the drugs should be sold, Butler says, is $1,500. This employee later becomes a "confidential informant" (CI) who helps state agents build a case against Wielsch and Butler.
  • Dec. 16, 2010: The employee never sells the marijuana but on this day the employee gives Butler $1,100. The employee had been feeling pressured by Butler to sell the drugs and so obtained the money by other means. 
  • Dec. 17, 2010: Butler gives his employee a second package containing a pound of marijuana to sell. The employee takes it but never sells it. 
  • Jan. 9: A Martinez man, 44, is arrested by Tanabe on a DUI charge. The arrest has been linked to Butler. 
  • Jan. 14: Reserve Contra Costa Sheriff’s Deputy William Howard is on patrol with Tanabe. Tanabe receives multiple calls on a personal cell phone from someone he calls his "PI friend." It appears to Howard that Tanabe is getting information about a possible drunken man at The Vine wine bar. Tanabe ultimately arrests the man, a Livermore resident, on drunken driving charges and tells Howard, according to an affidavit, that it was a "dirty DUI" stop to damage the reputation of the man, who is involved in a divorce case. 
  • Jan. 19: Wielsch appears on local TV news, describing how members of the Central Contra Costa Narcotic Enforcement Team located pipe bombs in a unit in a Pacheco storage business. The discovery of the pipe bombs require Interstate 680 to be shut down while members of the Walnut Creek police bomb squad disarm them. 
  • Jan. 21: The Butler employee contacts special agents with the California Justice Department. This employee recognized Wielsch on TV talking about the pipe bombs and tells the agents about the marijuana and how Butler wants to sell it to help Wielsch make some extra money. 
  • Jan. 25: Butler's employee, now a "confidential informant" for an internal investigation of Butler and Wielsch, calls Butler's cell phone in the presence of state agents and agrees to meet Butler in the parking lot of the Rossmoor Safeway in Walnut Creek. There, the employee will give Butler money for the marijuana and claim to be able to sell more drugs. 
  • Jan. 26: Butler and the CI meet at the Safeway parking lot on Tice Valley Boulevard. Butler pulls up in his gray Hummer. During this meeting, the CI gives Butler $3,400 in state funds while Butler gives the CI three packages, each containing a pound of marijuana. 
  • Jan. 27: On his time card for this date, Wielsch notes he and his team seized 50 pounds of marijuana. 
  • Jan 30: Wielsch and Butler, according to investigators, go to the CNET offices on Taylor Boulevard in Pleasant Hill and steal 12 pounds of the marijuana, out of the 50 pounds Wielsch said he seized three days earlier. 
  • Feb. 1: The CI, wearing a wire to capture video and audio recordings, meets Butler at his Concord office, gives him money and obtains a bag that contains marijuana, ephedrine tablets and steroids. During this meeting, Butler explains that he and his "source" took 12 pounds of marijuana from a 50-pound seizure. The CI also hears Butler talking to another employee, a woman, about selling marijuana. 
  • Feb. 2: Agents begin a surveillance at the UFC Gym in Concord, where Butler and his employees work out. Agents also examine Butler's cell phone records and note a sharp increase in calls between Butler's phone and Wielsch's since they started using their CI to make drug purchases for the two men. On this day, the CI once again meets Butler at his office and gives him $1,850. Butler says "1,250 goes to Norm."  Butler and the CI talk about Butler providing steroids for the employee to sell. 
  • Feb. 11: Agents listen in on a series of phone conversations throughout the day between Butler and Wielsch. They say they hear the two discuss selling steroids and ways of taking drug evidence from the CNET offices in Pleasant Hill and pretending to destroy it, even substituting in "flour" as they allow a witness to see them destroying the substance. Agents also hear Wielsch repeatedly express wariness about the drug buyer and fears about the transactions the two are involved in. According to Wielsch, "this is on a whole other level" and could lead to prison time. In response, Butler repeatedly reassures him that the buyer is OK, "a family member," and says he "feels really good about it."
    Specifically, Wielsch talks about using Butler's Hummer to take drug evidence to the dump to be destroyed. The two also discuss selling "the crystal stuff" and prices for other drugs. When Wielsch asks Butler if he knows anything about the person buying the drugs, Butler, who is with the CI in his Concord office, replies "All I know is he showed up with the biggest f------ wad of cash I have ever seen in my life." A wary Wielsch replies, "Yeah, but cops do that, so be careful." 
  • Feb. 15: Butler's Hummer is seen driving to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department evidence storage facility in Concord. Agents witness Butler load a white box into the back of the Hummer and drive, with Wielsch in the vehicle, to the county landfill in Martinez. After being seen "tampering" with whatever is in the box and then disposing of it, Butler and Wielsch drive to Butler's Concord office where they meet with the CI. They receive cash in exchange for one pound of methamphetamine. 
  • Feb. 16: Wielsh and Butler are arrested on 28 counts of conspiracy and drug charges. 
  • Feb. 16, 8 p.m.: Tanabe calls Howard at home and asks if he can come over. He asks if Howard knows about Wielsh's arrest and says he's worried his cell phone was “bugged” because of his personal relationship with Butler. Tanabe confirmed that his “PI friend” was Butler and he was worried he was going to be investigated because of his “dirty DUIs.” Tanabe gives Howard a black plastic bag and asks him to put it in his attic. Howard says he did not look in the bag. A week later, Howard contacts the Contra Costa Sheriff's office and gives the bag to them. It's later determined that inside the bag was a Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle.  The rifle was not registered to Tanabe. 
  • Feb. 28: Charges are filed against Wielsch and Butler. The 28 counts include conspiracy; selling methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids, and possessing methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids for sale.
  • March 4:  Contra Costa County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Jason Vorhauer files an affidavit stating that Howard approached him and reported that he had been on patrol with Tanabe in Danville during the Jan. 14 DUI stop.
  • March 4: Tanabe is arrested.
  • March 9: In an open letter to Danville residents about the investigation, Danville Town Manager Joe Calabrigo writes: "We are shocked and dismayed by these developments and the understandable concern that this could generate with our community."
  • March 10: Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston announces that Tanabe has resigned, but an administrative investigation is continuing along with a multi-agency criminal investigation.
  • March 15: Jimmy Lee, Contra Costa County sheriff's director of public affairs, writes an e-mail to Patch confirming that: "Deputy Sheriff Tom Henderson is no longer working in Danville. He is currently assigned to patrol." 
  • March 16: The Contra Costa District Attorney's office says it is going to review all of the cases involving Wielsch and Tanabe. 
  • April 8: Prosecutors dismissed 15 pending criminal cases and declined to file charges in five more cases involving so-called "dirty DUI" arrests.
  • May 4: A third police officer, Louis Lombardi of the San Ramon Police Department, is arrested on charges of selling drugs in connection with the overall case.
  • May 14: Butler accuses Wielsch of helping him with aprostitution ring.
Sources: Alameda County and Contra Costa County court records, court proceedings and individual interviews.
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Ex-cop Tanabe convicted in 'dirty DUI' scandal

Ex-cop Tanabe convicted in 'dirty DUI' scandal

Tanabe was a parent at Green Valley Elementary School Danvile, he never said he wa a police officer, he was in my house as part of cub scouts between 2001 and 2004 (est.)

Tanabe along with other officers tipped off Private Investigator Chris Butler about the attempted murder by Danville Building Inspector
Gary Vinson Collins who died in a murderous fall leaving a wife and seveal children, one that found me in Walnut Creek via my blogs.

Collins fate was nefarious, his wife was employed at IT Director at the Town of Danville where I suspect she was able to deflect or modify police reports.


Updated




A former Contra Costa County deputy sheriff was convicted Tuesday on charges that he accepted a pistol from a private investigator in exchange for arresting two men who the investigator had baited into driving drunk in elaborate stings known as "dirty DUIs." However, jurors acquitted the former officer of a charge stemming from one of the private investigator's most startling claims - that the ex-deputy also accepted cocaine to facilitate a third
drunken driving arrest.


Stephen Tanabe, 50, of Alamo, appeared dejected after the jury in U.S. District Court in San Francisco delivered a verdict that marks one of the final
chapters in a lurid saga that has now resulted in the conviction of five former Bay Area law enforcement officers. Two and a half years after his arrest,
Tanabe, a former Danville patrol officer, turned to his family in the front row of the gallery, exhaled hard, and shook his head. He was convicted on one
count of conspiracy, two counts of extortion and three counts of wire fraud, and will be sentenced in December.

Tanabe's involvement in the unseemly world of former investigator Christopher Butler, 52, began in the mid-1990s, when both men were officers for the
Antioch police force. Tim Pori, Tanabe's attorney, maintained that Butler - the government's star witness, who testified in exchange for leniency in his
own case - was a master manipulator who made a living framing people. He deemed Butler a "sociopathic narcissist" who made Tanabe his latest mark.
"This was another 'designed coincidence,' " Pori said outside court, employing a term coined by the private investigator, "where Butler took the available
evidence and framed Tanabe."
In closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hartley West portrayed Tanabe as an officer who'd sold his badge when he allegedly accepted an eighth of an
ounce of cocaine and a Glock pistol from Butler to ensure the drunken driving arrests  "His integrity was for sale," West told jurors. "And it was for
sale for cheap."
Butler was the architect of "dirty DUIs," prearranged busts of men he had been hired to tarnish. Three targeted men who testified at Tanabe's trial - a
Livermore winemaker, a Verizon executive, and a former software salesman - were in the midst of divorce or custody disputes with ex-wives who sought to
gain an advantage.
The women, prosecutors said, paid Butler to design stings in which female "decoys" approached the men online or in bars. Or actors would pose as reporters,
inviting the marks out for an "interview" over drinks.

In two stings involving Tanabe, Butler said, he arranged for his friend to park outside a Danville wine bar and arrest the victims on Butler's cue.
The sprawling scandal around Butler, which included allegations of drug dealing and prostitution, sparked an FBI corruption probe and led to the federal
convictions of Bay Area police officers from four different agencies.
One defendant remains: Mary Nolan, a divorce attorney who, according to prosecutors, hired Butler to install listening devices inside the car of a client's
ex-husband.11/12/13 Ex-cop Tanabe convicted in'dirty DUI' scandal - SFGate
During his testimony at the Tanabe trial, Butler said he was hired by Nolan to conduct a "dirty DUI" sting on a Clayton man, who was arrested and
convicted. Nolan has pleaded not guilty.
Justin Berton is a San Francisco Chronicle staf writer. E-mail: jberton@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @justinberton


Tanabe Convicted

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Ex-deputy indicted in 'dirty DUI' scheme

Ex-deputy indicted in 'dirty DUI' scheme

Published 4:00 am, Saturday, December 17, 2011





Defendant Stephen Tanabe sits in the courtroom waiting to be arraigned in the law enforcement abuse of power case, at the Contra Costa Superior Courthouse, Thursday June 23, 2011, in Walnut Creek, Calif. Photo: Lacy Atkins, The Chronicle
A former Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy who allegedly helped a private investigator with "dirty DUI" arrests has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Stephen Tanabe, 48, of Alamo, was indicted Thursday on four felony counts of conspiracy to extort under color of official right and aiding and abetting, in connection with the drunken-driving arrests. He is expected to surrender to authorities before a scheduled court appearance Monday in Oakland, attorneys said.
Tanabe is the fourth former law enforcement officer with ties to former private eye Christopher Butler, 50, to face federal charges. Butler pleaded not guilty to federal drug and conspiracy charges earlier this year.
In July, two former Richmond police officers who had hired Butler to carry out a retaliatory sting against two young men who once worked for them were indicted on gun charges.
In August, Butler and Norman Wielsch, 50, a former state Justice Department agent who commanded an antidrug task force in Contra Costa County, were indicted on charges connected to the alleged theft and sale of drugs.
Authorities said Wielsch had pilfered the drugs from evidence lockers. 
Tanabe pleaded not guilty this year in state court to bribery and conspiracy charges connected to two drunken-driving arrests he made in Danville in January.
Prosecutors said Butler had paid Tanabe to pull over and arrest men the detective was hired to go after. Butler was working for women in divorce cases who wanted to saddle their ex-husbands with criminal records to help them win custody battles, authorities said.
In an affidavit, a cadet-in-training who was riding with Tanabe in January said the officer used the term "dirty DUI" before he stopped a man Butler had hired him to arrest.
In a confession written by Butler and obtained by The Chronicle, the former investigator said he had supplied $200 worth of cocaine to Tanabe as payment for his involvement in one DUI stop.
Tanabe's attorney in the federal case did not respond to a phone call.
Dan Russo, the attorney who is representing Tanabe in state court, said, "It's obvious the feds are buying into Butler's perjurious lies."
Russo says Tanabe didn't know Butler was setting up the men he was arresting for drunken driving, and denies the former deputy ever took a bribe.
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'Dirty DUIs' figure gets 8-year sentence

'Dirty DUIs' figure gets 8-year sentence

Updated 11:15 pm, Tuesday, September 25, 2012
  • Mary Nolan leaves the federal courthouse with attorney Richard Guadgani in Oakland, Calif. on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 after pleading not guilty to six charges of wire-tapping and tax invasion. Nolan, a San Ramon divorce attorney, has been linked to the "dirty DUI" scandal involving former private investigator Christopher Butler. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
    Mary Nolan leaves the federal courthouse with attorney Richard Guadgani in Oakland, Calif. on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 after pleading not guilty to six charges of wire-tapping and tax invasion. Nolan, a San Ramon divorce attorney, has been linked to the "dirty DUI" scandal involving former private investigator Christopher Butler. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle

Christopher Butler, the private investigator at the center of a sensational scandal that involved "dirty DUIs" and drugs stolen from police evidence lockers, once longed for fame, money and a starring role in his own television reality show.
Instead, he got eight years in federal prison.
On Tuesday in Oakland, U.S. District JudgeSaundra Brown Armstrong sentenced Butler, 51, after the disgraced former police officer admitted his role in a stunning array of dirty deeds that included seven felony counts related to dealing drugs, framing men for drunken-driving arrests, and opening a brothel in Pleasant Hill that masqueraded as a massage parlor.
Butler told prosecutors his co-defendant, Norman Wielsch, 51, the former commander of a state antidrug task force, protected the house of prostitution and profited from it.
Wielsch has pleaded not guilty to those charges as well as stealing drugs from an evidence locker - which prosecutors said he gave to Butler to sell - and is scheduled to go on trial in January.
But of the two men, it was Butler, a former Antioch police officer with 10 years of service, who was driven to the criminal side in search of celebrity, his attorney said.
Butler had landed a Lifetime reality show in 2010 titled "P.I. Moms of San Francisco" that followed his crew of female detectives as they tracked down cheating husbands and secretly videotaped their missteps. To keep up with the demands of the fledgling show, and the costs of running his agency, Butler fell prey to one of man's oldest enemies: an insatiable ego.
"It overpowered his judgment to walk away from decisions that were destructive," said his attorney, William Gagen.
Butler turned to selling drugs provided to him by Wielsch, prosecutors said.

Wearing a wire

But the plan soon unraveled after one of Butler's most trusted employees agreed to wear a wire and videotape Butler and Wielsch negotiating the sale of a pound of methamphetamine. After their arrests in February 2011, details of Butler's tangled web of criminal activity in Contra Costa County unfolded, leading to the federal indictments that also roped in two Richmond police officers and a deputy sheriff.
Inside the courtroom, Butler looked nothing like the once well-coiffed man with a mane of white hair. Instead, his head was shaved to stubble and he wore oversize tan prison garb with slip-on shoes.
Instead of talking in the confident tones that once seduced reporters into writing about his team of mommy investigators, he choked with emotion during a brief statement.
"I want to apologize to the community for the anxiety, fear and suffering I have caused others," he said.
To the law enforcement community he was once part of, he apologized for his betrayal and the embarrassment he caused. He broke into tears at the mention of his family and appeared to cut his comments short.
For three victims who were ensnared in Butler's "dirty DUI" traps, the mea culpa was appreciated but not accepted.
"It couldn't have happened to a nicer scumbag," said attorney Brian Gearinger, who represents three men who are suing Butler in federal civil court.
All three men allege that Butler orchestrated their drunken-driving arrests after their ex-wives hired the investigator.

Possible witness

As a condition of his plea agreement in May, Butler can now be called as a witness in three federal criminal cases he's connected to.
His attorney said Butler, if needed, would testify against Wielsch, former Contra Costa Deputy Sheriff Stephen Tanabe, and San Ramon divorce attorney Mary Nolan.
Earlier in the day Nolan, 60, pleaded not guilty to a charge that she hired Butler to plant listening devices in the cars of her clients' ex-husbands. Tanabe, 49, who has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired with Butler to set up drunken-driving arrests, will ask the judge to dismiss his case next month.
Gagen said before Butler entered federal prison in May after pleading guilty, he'd already started on a life-altering path of self-reflection and humility.
Butler had completed courses in theology and philosophy at Holy Names University and received a 4.0 grade-point average, Gagen said.
The attorney said Butler now spends his days at the federal prison in Dublin reading books and reflecting on his actions. If Butler testifies against his co-defendants, and it leads to convictions, prosecutors can ask for a reduction in Butler's sentence.
"When Chris Butler gets out of prison - whenever that may be - he'll be a different person," Gagen said.
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Anthony Banta Jr.

To the family bringing litigation against the City of Walnut Creek 
First I am sorry for the loss but for me this is personal as he makes the fourth person known to me suffer this fate.  On August 5th 2011 faced Captain Schultz, Sgt. Mike Chan and a detective who was following me after my car was totaled in a hit and run
The person connected to accident was the youth director from Hillside Covenant Church who targeted me but worse just days before my June 2012 hearing in Butte County the "other" youth director attempted to run me over at the Safeway in Walnut Creek at 600 S. Broadway.  

Hillside Covenant Church youth director were stalking my sons for over a year and likely are connected

 
 


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Bacterial Infections, Accidents and Deaths

Councilman
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2004 Accidents and Incidents

by a retired San Francisco Police Lieutenant on July 20th in Lafayette which was attempted murder in any jurisdiction but Contra Costa County.

2004/08 - Danville Resident arson target - truck erupts in flames on 680 - Eight years later no police report or investigation
2004/09 - Danville resident beaten by Building Inspector
2004/12 - Danville Resident target high speed event - other driver killed
2005/01 - Resident successfully defends himself during illegal eviction - defendants verdict
2005/11  - Resident nearly succumbs to suspicious Bacterial Infection.  

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Parents of Walnut Creek man shot to death by police file $15 million lawsuit

Parents of Walnut Creek man shot to death by police file $15 million lawsuit

By Erin Ivie
eivie@bayareanewsgroup.com
Updated:   01/30/2013 08:30:27 AM PST

Click photo to enlarge
Walnut Creek hair dresser Anthony Banta, 22. (Photo Courtesy of Mandy Grainger)
WALNUT CREEK -- The family of a hairdresser killed by Walnut Creek police last month is seeking $15 million in a wrongful-death suit filed against four members of the police department, alleging the 22-year-old man was shot after officers tripped and fell over one another.
Anthony Banta Jr. was killed Dec. 27 when officers say he charged them with a knife after a fight with his roommate in their Creekside Drive apartment. A lawsuit filed Jan. 24 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco maintains the altercation had ended by the time police arrived and that Banta was not armed. The lawsuit says that one officer fired in a panic after reacting to the other officers tripping and falling behind him, and that other officers also opened fire.
Walnut Creek police declined to comment on the lawsuit, referring all questions to James Fitzgerald, an attorney representing the city. Fitzgerald also declined to comment, saying the incident is still being investigated.
Fitzgerald said the joint investigation, which involves the police, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office and the Contra Costa Crime Lab, could take at least three months but likely will take longer.
Police Chief Joel Bryden has previously said officers were forced to shoot when Banta came at them with a 10-inch knife.
The family's lawsuit, which names the city and four unidentified officers, said that Banta had just returned to the Bay Area after visiting relatives in Yuba City over Christmas. Banta got into an argument with his roommate, either over jealousy surrounding the roommate's girlfriend or "tidiness, noise or the many things that roommates can argue about," which led the roommate's girlfriend to make a 911 call about 3:15 a.m. reporting that Banta was trying to choke the other man, the lawsuit said.

Dispatchers reported to police that morning that they heard a struggle and a woman screaming on the phone before the 911 call ended abruptly, Bryden said at a Jan. 7 news conference.
Fitzgerald declined Tuesday to release the 911 tapes until the investigation is complete.
According to the complaint, the argument may have led to "throwing beverage cans or bottles, pushing or wrestling," but that the entire fight had ended before police arrived, and that the roommate had even managed to speak on the phone with California Highway Patrol dispatchers.
The lawsuit said Walnut Creek police responded "under cover of night and without a warrant," rushing to the landing of the first-floor stairway, where Banta, a hairdresser at a Walnut Creek salon, appeared at the top "wondering who was in his apartment."
It was when officers arrived at the landing, the
complaint alleges, that one of them backed up, forcing the other officers back, and tripping them to the floor. In the panic that ensued, one officer fired his gun, and the other officers "joined in, repeatedly shooting Anthony to death."Bryden said earlier this month that officers' knocks had gone unanswered, and the four officers walked into the apartment to find Banta at the top of the stairs, clutching a chef's knife with a 10-inch blade. When officers told him to drop his weapon, Banta suddenly charged down the stairs at them and they shot him.
The 12-page complaint does not mention a knife.
"No one was under any threat of harm," the complaint says. "Ultimately, only Anthony was harmed. Innocent of any wrongdoing, having only stood up for himself by denying the false allegations of the roommate, Anthony lay dead at age 22, never knowing that it was police officers of his hometown, whose duty it was to protect him, who had invaded his home and shot him to death."
Banta's family sought $15 million in damages in the complaint, along with funeral, burial and legal costs and a declaration regarding the officers' alleged "unlawful and unconstitutional" acts.
"No officer wants to shoot to kill," Bryden said earlier. "Officers don't shoot and kill anyone unless they are absolutely forced to."
Contact Erin Ivie at eivie@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.
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Walnut Creek interim police chief named

Walnut Creek interim police chief named

Updated:   05/10/2013 11:00:08 AM PDT





WALNUT CREEK -- City Manager Ken Nordhoff has named longtime Capt. Steve Skinner to become acting police chief upon Joel Bryden's retirement in two weeks.
Skinner's chief job is effective May 24. Skinner, a 25-year Walnut Creek police veteran, will serve until a new chief is in place. Interviews for the chief position took place in March and April after panel interviews and a preferred candidate has been identified, Nordhoff said.
Before coming to Walnut Creek, Skinner worked for the Washoe County Sheriff's Office in Reno while attending University of Nevada, Reno, where he got his bachelor's degree. He also has a master's degree from Cal State Hayward and has a total of 28 years of law enforcement experience.
Skinner grew up in Contra Costa County, attending Miramonte High School in Orinda He has been a police captain for three years, had been a lieutenant for 10 years and before that was sergeant and an officer/detective, all in Walnut Creek.

"I am very honored and excited to be given the opportunity to help transition our police department into the next generation of leadership and I am looking forward to working with both members of our department and the community as we move the (department) into the future," Skinner said in an e-mail.
He takes the reins from Bryden, who has been the city's police chief since June 2008. Bryden leaves with exactly five years on the job in Walnut Creek. He gave about six months notice, letting city officials know in December of his plans to retire.

Before coming to Walnut Creek, Bryden had been assistant police chief in San Diego, where he worked for 28 years, starting as a patrol officer. Bryden has been chief during some of the worst city budget cuts in the city's history, which caused fewer officers and led to the ending of school resource and motorcycle traffic officers.

Last month, Bryden said the department was on track to have around five new officers joining the ranks by the end of year. Bryden retires with a salary around $200,000 a year.

Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.

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