At about 10:30pm on Nov. 27, 2013, Christopher Segobia turned the corner onto Monterey Street in Soledad. There, Police Officer Jesus Yanez was waiting for two suspects to come out of an apartment building. He mistook Segobia as one of those men, and a pursuit began.
Segobia ran; Yanez followed. Segobia began removing a gun from his waistband – to dispose of it, he claims – and started climbing a fence when Yanez fired. He hit Segobia twice, in the hip and in the back of his leg.
That’s the version of events according to Segobia’s attorneys, as laid out in a federal lawsuit filed against the Soledad PD on Dec. 4 in the U.S. District Court for Northern California.
“We believe that his rights have been infringed upon,” Segobia’s lawyer, DeWitt Lacy, says. He works in the Oakland firm of acclaimed civil rights attorney John Burris.
Segobia was charged with attempted murder of a peace officer. The District Attorney dropped those charges in January, “in furtherance of justice,” according to court documents. Chief Assistant Berkley Brannon says the charges were dropped because prosecutors had “serious questions” about Yanez’s credibility.
“This does sound like a circumstance of excessive force, and some type of malicious prosecution because of the indication that Mr. Segobia shot back at the officer, which we believe is untrue,” Lacy says.
Another wrinkle: Yanez, a former King City cop, was accompanied that night by a civilian for a ride-along. That man, Kenneth Tippery, was an information technology consultant for King City who allegedly rigged a system giving Police Officer Bobby Carrillo, now a defendant in a criminal case surrounding a towing scheme, home access to PD files.
Soledad Police Chief Eric Sills confirms Yanez left the department while still on probation, but not in connection with the Segobia shooting. “The use of force was within our guidelines,” he says.