By Nick Dobis, News Web/Social Media Producer
The family of Steven Motley, the man who died following an incident with officers of the Redding Police Department last October, has filed three legal claims against the City of Redding. The filings are potential precursors to civil lawsuits.
The three claims were filed by Carol Adams, Motley’s mother on behalf of his 4-year-old daughter and Dawn Bianco, the guardian of his 2-year-old son. Adams is represented by the law offices of Vicki Sarmiento of Alhambra, Calif., while Bianco will be represented by the law offices of Berg & Associates in Redding.
According to the claims filed with the city, both Adams and Bianco believe Motley’s death was a result of excessive force while Motley was being arrested after a vehicle and foot pursuit in Redding on October 5, 2013. Both women are seeking wrongful death damages as well as compensation for funeral/burial expenses, attorney fees, loss of support as well as punitive and survival damages. Both Adams and Bianco have filed for an unlimited civil cases, which means the dollar amount sought by both parties is expected to exceed $25,000.
According to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, who spearheaded the investigation, the incident began last October when Motley reportedly failed to pull over for a traffic stop initiated by a Redding Police Officer after the officer discovered the truck Motley was driving was reported stolen. The vehicle pursuit eventually ended with Motley crashing his truck into a brick wall on Alta Camino Drive. After the crash Motley then reportedly attempted to flee on foot and eventually doubled back to steal the officer’s patrol car, according to the Sherif’s Office press release.
A responding officer eventually found the patrol car a short distance from the crash and saw Motley again fleeing on foot. This foot pursuit ended with the officer catching Motley who reportedly began resisting arrest. More officers arrived to help restrain Motley who continued to struggle until he quit resisting and stopped breathing, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Motley was transported to Mercy Medical Center and eventually airlifted to Mercy San Juan Hospital near Sacramento where he died three days later.
An autopsy was conducted by the Shasta County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office in November 2013. According to their report, the pathologist determined Motely died from a heart attack induced by methamphetamine while he was resisting arrest. The coroner’s report did indicate Motley did receive external injures possibly suffered during the incident, but the pathologist indicated none of those injuries contributed to his death. Before his death Motley was facing potential charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, felony evasion, theft and possession of a firearm, and resisting arrest.
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko has confirmed the multi-agency investigation into the incident has been completed and will be reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office.
The City of Redding has 45 days to comply with each filed claim. If they decline to fulfill the claims, the plaintiffs can formally move ahead with their lawsuits.