Ukiah Police Chief Promises His Agency Will Fully Cooperate with an Independent Investigation into the Recent Use of Force Incident Against a Nude Man

On Monday evening, Ukiah Police Department Chief Justin Wyatt released a video on the agency’s Facebook page addressing the recent use of force incident between UPD officers and Gerardo Magdaleno. Chief Wyatt acknowledged what he described as the community’s “anger and concern.” 

Gerardo Magdaleno

Gerardo Magdaleno’s booking photo from an earlier incident.

The incident in question occurred on April 1, 2020, when Ukiah Police Department officers tased, pepper-sprayed, and punched Ukiah resident Gerardo Magdaleno. The incident was recorded and shared on social media. Officers took Magdaleno to the hospital where family members say he had facial fractures and a concussion.  In the wake of videos of the event being published, many on social media criticized UPD officers for their actions and, eventually, community members led a protest on Saturday, April 3 holding signs condemning UPD officers’ actions on the steps of the police department.

Protest UPD [Photos by Matt LaFever]

Mendocino County resident gather on the steps leading to the Ukiah Police Department protesting April 1st’s use of force incident [Picture by Matt LaFever]

In his video address, Chief Wyatt said the department was taking the community’s reaction “very seriously” and promised a “full and independent investigation into this manner and this department will participate fully in that investigation.” 

We spoke with Andrea Sullivan, a criminal defense attorney who has represented numerous residents of the Emerald Triangle, and she characterized UPD’s use of force as “beating someone for the sake of beating him.”

In a press release following the incident, Ukiah Police Department characterized the punches Magdaleno received as “distraction strikes” stating, “The Officers then attempted to gain compliance by delivering numerous distraction strikes to the suspect’s head. This allowed the Officers a brief opportunity to place Magdaleno into handcuffs, and then the technique was ceased.”

Ukiah Police Department Chief Justin Wyatt addresses the recent use of force incident [Screenshot from video posted on Facebook]

Ukiah Police Department Chief Justin Wyatt addresses the recent use of force incident [Screenshot from video posted on Facebook]

In yesterday’s video, Chief Wyatt assured Ukiah residents that UPD is “a department that is committed to being a well-trained police department that operates within our policies. We want our policies to serve our community and our officers on the frontline.”

In addition, Chief Wyatt made an opaque statement regarding the specific officers involved in the use of force incident stating a review of the incident “will include personnel matters and I am unable to comment on those at this time.”

In a press release published at approximately the same time as Chief Wyatt’s statement, Ukiah City Manager Sage Sangiacomo said, “The City also intends to seek an independent review of the existing policies to determine whether they could be augmented or otherwise improved.”

Sangiacomo explained the incident prompted community “questions about the nature of police response when addiction or mental health issues are involved. We share the community’s concern that there are not more robust options for addressing these challenges.” He added that “We are hopeful that the funding resulting from County Measure B can be used to help provide those resources.”

Francisco Magdaleno, Geraldo’s brother, told us Monday yesterday evening, “I cannot express to you the hardship this event has brought upon my family. Not only was my brother’s body marred by physical abuse, but his mental health and well-being [were damaged].”

As to Magdaleno’s current status, his brother told us, “Gerardo is currently trying to recover and has a hard time trusting anyone in uniform. As a family, we are trying to get him the support and aid he needs.

In the wake of the incident, Francisco said his family “has become the target to malicious comments and statements, non constructive or helpful.”

Francisco explained his brother Geraldo’s beating had “marred everyone in the family in different ways.” He explained “my mother, who also has medical needs, is terrified for my brother’s well-being. In an act of selflessness, [she] has opted to put her life and needs on hold to care [for] and protect Gerardo.”

Francisco said he and his family hope that this experience will “bring some type of reform, education, and awareness of mental health needs in our community.”

Earlier:

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22 Comments
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Mike
Mike
8 months ago

Seems like they should provide some evidence of his mental illness if they are going to keep claiming it. Otherwise what’s the difference between him and the other drug addicts that get high and walk around naked resisting arrest? What was his mental illness again depression? We’re any of his actions consistent with any symptoms or signs of depression? I’m old enough to remember someone else who was harmless and had a mental illness he treated with meth, Gary Lee Bullock

I like stars
I like stars
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike
Alf
Alf
8 months ago

It’s time people quit giving excuses for bad behavior and decisions. At some point an individual must be held responsible for their actions. More often than not, drug use causes mental health problems, not mental health issues causing drug problems. The liberal psychology “experts” claim the opposite, so we MUST believe their BS. Criminals must pay for their crimes, but innocent victims usually pay instead.

Dano
Dano
8 months ago
Reply to  Alf

Where did you get your medical degree?

Free estimates
Free estimates
8 months ago
Reply to  Dano

Wassamatta university

Guest
Guest
8 months ago
Reply to  Dano

Oh here we go the degree police . The extra two or four years of school made you so much more intelligent than someone with out a degree. Not ! Degrees are a dime a dozen these days. Mentally insane or not he had to be subdued and it takes what it takes. I’m sure the officer knew he had to use force because the state of mind this criminal was in. Maybe the criminal will remember that day and not commit crimes again but i doubt it.

Jim’s Guest Is Someone Else’s Wife
Jim’s Guest Is Someone Else’s Wife
8 months ago
Reply to  Dano

Wherever you got your self-righteousness.

Guest
Guest
8 months ago

It seems he was mentally stable enough to hold still for all those tattoos. BS

Dano
Dano
8 months ago
Reply to  Guest

Mental illness often manifests intermittently. Where did you get your medical degree?

Yeah,sure
Yeah,sure
8 months ago
Reply to  Dano

Oh we’ve got some expert geniuses here that grace us with their Mensa takes every day on a range of subjects. They’re law enforcement experts, law experts, virology experts, mental illness experts, political experts, gun experts, car wreck experts… any article subject and they know it all. Don’t refute what they say, they’re trained in every known situation that may come up in life. Just now before their superior intellect…

I like stars
I like stars
8 months ago
Reply to  Yeah,sure

Do you have to be a weathermxn to know which way the wind is blowing?

Pike Mortar
Pike Mortar
8 months ago

Pete Davidson, the SNL actor / comedian, who also suffers from mental health issues, made an observation recently that I found true. Paraphrasing: having a mental illness isn’t an excuse to be an asshole. Take your meds. Stay on your meds. Lots of people are assholes but keep it under control. Lots of people have mental health issues but keep them under control. Family always comes along after the fact, wringing their hands and complaining that their kid / brother / father / whoever just needed help, and has issues, and yadda yadda yadda. Where is the family when dude is going slowly more and more crazy and needs to be corralled and made to take his meds? They ain’t around. Because ain’t nobody care until they smell blood (or money) in the water. They let their family member reach a point where the only intervention becomes the cops, because they let their family member slowly lose more and more of a grip and did nothing. Crazy “assholes” (Pete Davidson self-descriptive term) eventually become crazy assholes that get naked, fight cops and don’t go with the program. If force is needed to bring said crazy asshole into custody and protect… Read more »

Farce
Farce
8 months ago
Reply to  Pike Mortar

Pike Mortar- Great comment. I don’t like putting cops in charge of crazy people. I generally don’t trust cops. But… Yeah- where was the all-caring and concerned family when this was spinning out of control? It seems like everybody is a victim these days and nobody is responsible- not for themselves, not for their own family members. And it all gets thrown into the public domain where bad things happen and parasitic lawyers show up to extract huge financial settlements from….US the taxpayers! Yes- even when the cops are brutally at fault we pay for that too. I’m no expert at watching edited videos but I am sick of my ever-increasing taxes being used as a public trough for irresponsible actors from all sides… I guess my comment is more of a general venting/observation about what our society has become than a judgement about this particular incident. I’m sorry the guy got hurt. But what were the other options? (And how did he run out of pills and if his family knew he was out of pills why didn’t they take care of him?- why does it always happen that we end up paying out for this stuff?!)

tm
tm
8 months ago
Reply to  Pike Mortar

There really isn’t much a family can do if someone goes off their meds. The blame game goes nowhere. Too many families in this area have brothers, sisters, moms dads uncles on the street due to mental illness, or if they are caring for someone with mental illness they are under trememdous stress. There is also huge crisis in caring for elders with dementia, who can often be violent and abusive. Be thankful if your family is not one of those impacted by mental health issues.

Dano
Dano
8 months ago

The use of terms like “distraction strike” are typical BS from police officers. Repeatedly beating someone in the face and head are not “distraction strikes.” Additionally, when you have 3 or 4 cops delivering so-called “distraction strikes” while on top of or within close proximity is likely to result in more movement and so-called non-compliance by the victim as they move their bodies and hands to try to deflect and protect their bodies from the blows. These are natural, instinctive reactions just like so-called resisting when put into a choke-hold or a knee to the throat or back which results in a constricted airway or reduces blood flow.
https://www.waywordradio.org/distraction_strike_1/

Farce
Farce
8 months ago
Reply to  Dano

Dano- I agree that those don’t seem like “distraction strikes” to me. Everybody’s survival instinct is to protect their head so it makes sense that the hands will refuse to be restrained in that situation. The hands will protect the head! Do they teach these kind of “distraction strikes” in cop school?! That might be a problem…Anyways I am smelling bullshit from both sides here. Sorry not sorry

Neverlayup
Neverlayup
8 months ago

Lmao! He’s home recovering! Well don’t do LSD and rape little kids!
This loser is looking for a free payday,and unfortunately they will pay!
Ultimately the taxes you pay will fund this tweeker

stuber
stuber
8 months ago
Reply to  Neverlayup

When are we going to have a sheriff in Calif, cause there are plenty in other states, that come out and say,” there will be no investigation into this, the guy is a druggie, needed to be subdued, and that’s it. You want things to change, stop the narco suppliers, and start your own sheriff dept, show us how it’s done. Otherwise, shut up. And clear the steps to the sheriff dept so regular folks have access to our building. “

Mendocino Mamma
Mendocino Mamma
8 months ago

We know that when people are faced in aggressive situations fight or flight activates. Mental health clinicians also know that when the brain is extremely stressed or when yelled at a lot IE rapid directions that the brain shuts down and doesn’t process anything. Mental health starts in the womb. How are mothers treated? Cheif Wyatt get a mobile unit going for emotional supports. Socks, shoes, food. Ride to service if they need it. Sometimes helping folks be stable where they are at is some of the best support we can ever provide. Anybody get a chance to check out the safe parking lots they’re doing in Los Angeles? You can come in in the afternoon at 6 p.m. they have an outdoor kitchen and bathrooms park your car in your spot. Stay safe for the night fence around you lighting and a security guard there to make sure people stay safe. No drugs are allowed in the lot for the night. And then in the morning everybody has to leave to go out go to work do whatever is going for them. And then at 6 p.m. they can come back in to the safe parking lot. What the… Read more »

Mendo
Mendo
8 months ago

Having known mentally ill individuals as well as having the statistics that 80% of Americans will experience mental illness or adverse drug reactions, I can honestly say that this type of response by “trusted police officers” simply for being naked and not complying raises my eyebrows in anger! How could being naked warrant an ass beating by 7 men trained in deadly force and trained to kill? It would be a simple misdemeanor not even a felony crime! These Cops beat that man for the shear joy or beating him. Are they still working or sent home without pay on temp leave? They are dangerous men! They plainly already had prior contacts with him and knew who he was by name. They took their frustration of dealing with a nude mental case out on this mans body with fists and batons. It is very possible the intitial tazing gave the man a concussion when he fell on his head! This is unreasonable use of force! I hope DA David Eyster prosecutes these officers. Main stream Bay Area news outlets are picking up the story on tv as we speak and a public outpouring of rage is coming for UPD. Any… Read more »

Mike
Mike
8 months ago

Hell, I thought they were being nice to him considering. If I had a naked, methed out, belligerent, accused pedophile in my front yard I don’t think I would of been as nice. Oh yeah, he suffers from depression.

Mendocino Mamma
Mendocino Mamma
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike

If he showed up in your yard would you be able to deduce all of those things besides his nakedness? There’s been quite a few times that I’ve came across people just generally on the street that look like they’re really struggling. Offered them some food a kind word something like that. Could have thrown him a shirt and some shiny object and distracted him quite well. LEOs have a duty to protect and serve him. When people need medical attention to provide it to them. Doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to provide the reason for the medical attention in the first place