It’s been almost two weeks and the Examiner is still the only source reporting the news about the monumental lawsuit against the City of Eureka. Daren Borges, who was arrested and allegedly severely beaten by a Eureka Police Officer and brought to the Humboldt County Jail, instead of a hospital, where he later died while in custody. The lawsuit alleged that “Officer Michael D. Stelzig Jr detained and arrested Daren Borges (“Decedent”) without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, used negligent tactics and unreasonable force toward him, denied, delayed, and failed to summon medical assistance for him….”. The lawsuit was seeking damages in excess of 10 million dollars.
There still hasn’t been any media coverage or follow-up since our original blog post. For awhile now, the Examiner staff and some of our contributors have been monitoring scanner traffic from EPD. We noticed some interesting developments. Officer Stelzig Jr. (3b76) hasn’t been dispatched to any calls outside of the police station since around the time the claim went to the city.
He has been spotted leaving the cop shop on a couple of occasions. Has he been confined to the station? We’re thinking it’s a pretty big coincidence that he appear to be on regular duty previous to the claim against the City was filed and now nothing. So we think that it looks like this threatened lawsuit has caused Officer Stelzig Jr. to be given a desk job or he is on some type of administrative leave. If that’s the case, it seems pretty late in the game for EPD to start taking the in custody death of a mentally ill man seriously. Or, is this heavy handed protégé of Sgt. Sanchez, in trouble for some other abuse of force? That wouldn’t surprise us.
Will we get answers to the questions surrounding this unfortunate death or the unexplained status that Officer Stelzig Jr. has been given?…..Probably not. At least not until a lawsuit has played itself out in the court system for years. But even then, if there is a settlement the facts behind this death may never come to light.
For some unknown and seemingly appalling reason, it seems that the local media doesn’t even care or is too afraid to piss off Chief Mills and report or look into the largest wrongful death claim the City of Eureka and their police department has ever faced.
Hey Thad, Ryan, Dan S. or ever changing Channel 3 reporter, what the hell’s going on?