By Nick Dobis, News Web/Social Media Producer
The Shasta County Coroner’s Office released their toxicology findings on 33-year-old Steven Motley, a man who died while being apprehended by five officers from the Redding Police Department. According to the coroner’s press release, the pathologist determined Motley died from a “cardiopulmonary arrest during a violent struggle with police [while] under the influence of methamphetamine.”
The coroner’s office is unable to release the exact level of methamphetamine in Motley’s system until the case is officially closed within the next few months. The press release also stated Motley “did receive external injuries, which could have occurred from the vehicle collision, his flight from police through neighboring yards, and/or from his violent struggle with police during his arrest.”
Although the press release indicated none of his external injuries contributed to his death, the coroner’s office was also unable to release his exact injuries until the case if officially closed in which time will become public record.
According to press releases from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department, on October 5 a Redding Police Officer attempted to pull Motely over because the truck he was driving at the time was reported stolen. The department states Motely failed to yield and the vehicle pursuit which ensued quickly ended when Motley drove the truck through a brick wall and into the front yard of a residence on the corner of Rancho Road in Redding. After Motley exited the stolen truck, the pursuant officer gave chase on foot. Motley then doubled back and stole the parked patrol car, according to the sheriff's depatment. Another patrol unit located Motley fleeing from the stolen police car not far from the original crash site and another foot pursuit began.
The second Redding Police officer eventually caught Motley and attempted to arrest him, but Motley reportedly resisted violently. It was during the struggle to restrain Motley that he “suddenly quit resisting arrest and it was immediately realized the suspect was not breathing,” according to the sheriff’s department.
Motley was administered CPR at the scene before being transported to Mercy Medical Center. He was eventually transported to Mercy San Juan Hospital in Sacramento where he eventually died. Before his death, Motley faced a criminal complaints of possession of a stolen vehicle, felony evasion, hit and run, and felony charges of possession of a firearm and resisting arrest. The Sheriff’s Department has yet to release the type of weapon found on Motley.
The toxicology results help law enforcement and the public paint a clearer picture of Motley’s death, which caused some in the Redding community, especially his family, to initially speculate Motley’s death was caused by police brutality. In October many gathered outside the Shasta County Courthouse on the National Day against Police Brutality to honor Motley.
“We need to put a stop this before we end up being another Oakland, another Stockton, or another Richmond,” said Carol Adams, Motley’s Mother, during the protest. “Please get rid of these people, it could be you next.”
Capt. John Hubbard of the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department admitted today the investigation isn’t entirely complete, but anticipates releasing more information in a press conference once all the findings are concluded. Hubbard said he is still waiting to receive findings from CHP’s Multi-disciplinary Accident investigation Team (MAIT) who assessed both the site where Motley crashed and the truck he was driving. Shasta County Assistant District Attorney Josh Lowery also told Action News Now today his office will review all of the reports filed by all the contributing agencies and will release Motley’s full criminal history in their final report.
The Redding Police Department has released the names of the officers involved in the incident. They have been identified as Officer Jared Herbet, Officer Wes Townsley, Officer Brandon Largent, Officer Becky Zufall and Corporal Chris Jacoby. Hubbard stated all of the officers have returned to active duty.