Tyler Deel (Full Name: Tyler Kennedy Deel) Died In Police Shooting After Approaching Fresno Officers With Tree Branch
FRESNO, CALIFORNIA (July 8, 2023) – A 30-year-old man identified as Tyler Deel has tragically died in a Fresno police shooting not far from a shopping center by Kings Canyon Road and Clovis Avenue.
Fresno County police officials are saying that they received a call about a man who may have been having a mental health crisis and was threatening family members with a knife. Fresno police officers arrived at the scene within 10 minutes and found Tyler Deel with a knife and tree branch.
The suspect allegedly threw the knife at a deputy and missed him. He allegedly approached one officer holding the tree branch before he was shot multiple times.
Paramedics were called to the scene in order to help the suspect. Despite life-saving measures, Tyler Deel was pronounced dead behind a Valero gas station.
The suspect suffered from numerous medical conditions including seizures and Huntington’s disease, which causes a progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain.
A full investigation into the Fresno police shooting remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Fresno Police Shootings
Police shootings are far too common across the United States and California in particular. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, “About 195 people die each year from interactions with California law enforcement. Gunshots are by far the most common cause of death: nearly 250 people are shot by police each year.” More than 4 out of every 10 people for non-fatal gunshot wounds from a police encounter were suffering from a mental health condition or had substance abuse issues. The American Civil Liberties Union has a offered a number of suggestions for reducing the number of officer involved shootings in Fresno.
- Officers should be well trained to deal with suspects undergoing a mental health crisis.
- Officers should receive evidence based de-escalation training.
- The Fresno Police Department should be transparent about use-of-force encounters.
- Body cameras from officers should be turned on and record all encounters with the public.
The ability to use lethal force is one of the most serious and consequential powers available to law enforcement. According to California Penal Code 835(a), “the authority to use physical force, conferred on peace officers by this section, is a serious responsibility that shall be exercised judiciously and with respect for human rights and dignity and for the sanctity of every human life.” As outlined by the statute, all people living in California have a right to be free from the use of excessive force which is exercised under the color of law.
There are rules and procedures that California police officers must follow when they encounter a suspect that appears to be in the midst of a mental health crisis. Consider, for example, Tabares v. City of Huntington Beach. Dillan Tabares was in the midst of a mental health crisis when he was approached by a Huntington Beach police officer. Instead of waiting for backup or using de-escalation techniques from the start, the officer continued to approach the suspect prior to shooting him. When a police officer fails to follow a safety rule promulgated by their employer, this could form the basis of a negligence claim. See People v. Brown, 245 Cal. App. 4th 140, 171 (Ct. App. 2016). There are a number of steps that should be taken after any fatal police shooting.
- Body camera footage from all officers involved should be sought.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- A thorough investigation should be conducted.
The decisions that an officer makes prior to a fatal encounter could render their use of force unreasonable. This is true even if their use of force appeared reasonable if it were viewed in isolation just before a fatal encounter. The family of any person that is killed in a police shooting may have legal recourse through a civil claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover many of the expenses that often come with the sudden loss of a loved one. Sadly, though, police departments will often do everything in their power to deny liability for any police shooting.
Investigating Fresno Excessive Force Claims
We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Tyler Deel. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There needs to be some accountability for what took place. Far too often, police officers arrive at the scene and engage in a policy of shoot first and ask questions later.
Do you need more information about a Fresno police shooting? Our team of highly experienced civil rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We focus exclusively on helping those harmed by government and police abuses. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.
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