Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit filed against Eureka and the County et al

Borges v. City of Eureka et al

Plaintiff: Stephany Borges



City of Eureka, Michael Stelzig, Bryan Franco, Drake Goodale, County of Humboldt, Michael Downey, Tim Hershberger, Terri Bittner, Nancy Corral, Tim Hammer, Leo Basler, Joshua Cardell, Kristina Lewis, Roselie Freixas, Michael Mendiburu and California Forensic Medical Group, Incorporated


Case Number: 1:2015cv00846
Filed: February 25, 2015


Court: California Northern District Court
Office: Eureka Office
County: XX US, Outside State


Presiding Judge: Nandor J. Vadas


Nature of Suit: Civil Rights: Other
Cause of Action: 42:1983 Civil Rights Act
Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

As the silence continues in the local media, the Examiner has found some new information regarding the lawsuit against Eureka for the wrongful death of Daren Borges. It is our hope that the local press might take some interest in this local story, especially given the amount of potential liability Eureka is facing ($10 Million Dollars plus).

According to the Northern District Federal Court, this case is being brought by a family member of Daren Borges. The family is being represented by both John Fattahi and…..wait for it….Dale Galipo! Mr. Galipo is the attorney who secured a $4.5 million dollar verdict against Eureka for the wrongful death of Martin Cotton. As many will remember, the circumstances in both the Borges death and the Cotton death were very similar.

Attorney Dale K. Galipo comforting a client in another wrongful death case

Named in the lawsuit is the City of Eureka, along with Eureka Officers Michael Stelzig Jr., Bryan Franco and Drake Goodale. Humboldt County is also named, along with Sheriff Mike Downey, and HCSO employee’s Tim Hershberger, Terri Bittner, Nancy Corral, Tim Hammer, Leo Basler, Joshua Cardell, Kristina Lewis, Roselie Freixas, and Michael Mindiburu. (and Strangely left out is Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills)

In the Martin Cotton case, the County opted to settle out before trial, with Eureka digging in for a fight. Will Eureka follow the same strategy with the Borges case? Most likely, given that the entrenched powers that be in Eureka (especially City Hall) seem to constantly forget about past mistakes (or misdeeds). If anyone thinks that there’s a shift in how City Hall is running with a new City Manager, well not so much. Greg Sparks, who seems like a good guy, has an assistant that is none other than Christine Tyson. Does that name sound familiar? Yes, that is in fact former EPD Detective, former Coroner and good ol’ boy Dave Parris’s daughter. She also happens to be Dave (King Crony) Tyson’s daughter in law. Dave’s fingers still reach deep into City Hall, and we can only assume that his influence will have the usual poor outcomes for the residents of Eureka. This layered on top of the predictably terrible legal advice City Attorney Day-Wilson will give the Council; you have a complete disaster in the making.

On another front, what’s going on with mysterious leave of Officer Stelzig Jr.? We received information that very shortly after a recent post of ours about the Borges lawsuit, “Law and Order DA” Maggie Fleming noticed that the Gallegos administration left unfinished an “in-custody death investigation” of Borges. The DA’s office is now looking into the case. However, that begs the question; if Stelzig Jr. isn’t on leave because of the DA looking into the Borges case, then what the hell did he do that we don’t know about to keep him off the streets for over four months (so far)? Strange happenings all around this case.

Obviously, as notorious anonymous bloggers, our staff can’t do the deep digging through public records and in person interviews that the local media should do regularly. So, we would like to encourage any local media to look into this case. Below, we’ve provided some links that should give you a pretty good start. It’s time for the public to know what is going on with this lawsuit. It’s time for all of us to learn more about the death, and life of Daren Borges.





15 thoughts on “Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit filed against Eureka and the County et al

  1. It still baffles me that the TE is the only source of information on this lawsuit.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wonder why there is not national interest in our criminal little city…I guess it is hidden behind the redwood curtain?


  3. Well!…this is interesting:


    “Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Eureka; EPD Complaint Review Raises Questions”

    …especially the “raises questions” part.

    two paragraphs about/from Chief Mills here:

    “The Borges case comes on the heels of Mills announcing both that that he is looking to have a federal agency step in and review all of Eureka’s officer-involved fatalities stretching back 10 or 15 years and that he is revamping the department’s internal affairs investigations into civilian complaints against the department.

    Mills said he has reached out to the director of community policing for the U.S. Department of Justice — and even met with him personally in Orlando — asking the department to fund a review of all EPD’s officer involved fatalities looking for trends, patterns and areas in which the department can improve, but has yet to hear back. If the DOJ is unwilling to take on such a review, Mills said he will look to raise money through the private sector to fund it. But a thorough review is expensive, running as much as $50,000, Mills said, so he will wait to see if DOJ will agree to step in before looking at alternatives.”

    fair use: two paragraphs only but there are several more on Mill’s announcement.

    Perhaps a scoop by Mr Greenson?…apparently the go to for the Chief.

    So….Citizen/lawsuit pressure or Mills was going to do this all along.

    Looks like a good start, so if that’s all it is, a look….it’s good.

    Actual improvements will be harder…in this Chief Mills, we need you to succeed, and good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, Mduke I usually agree with your comments, but you are falling for Mill’s diversionary BS this time.
      Oh yeah, lets dig up these 10 year old deaths, don’t pay so much attention to the 2 in a year that happen on my watch.
      Mduke buddy You need to recognize Mills for the spin master he is


      • well geez pete, I am always hopeful to be able to take someone at their word and I try to again and again…but yes, I agree with you too, good chance it’s spin, he is good at that, a political animal he is…and of course has to be.
        But I’m hopeful yet watchful too.

        Liked by 2 people

    • It was nice to see the NCJ put out at least something about the lawsuit. Good job on getting this local news dome attention.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. The thing is, these lawsuits, if allowed to proceed by the court, always result in settlements, never verdicts. Any reforms that do happen are always the result of political changes, seldom from unilateral changes by police officials. Sometimes individuals are reassigned or resign.

    Its in the surviving family’s interest to settle because both years of litigation that revisit painful events is both stressful and life interrupting. Its in the city’s interest to settle to ‘put the divisiveness behind us and move forward’ and limit legal fees. The public’s memory is short and these incidents are controversial with people taking sides based mostly on their predispositions.


  5. NAN wrote:

    “The thing is, these lawsuits, if allowed to proceed by the court, always result in settlements, never verdicts.”

    Mostly true, but not always. Eureka and the officers involved with Martin Cotton had a verdict against them. A big one. 4.5 million for the city and 30K in punitive for each of the officers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re correct JP, I overlooked that(short public memory?). But it was a mixed bag, Cotton’s estate sued and settled.


    • Actually, the Cotton family sued, won a favorable verdict of 4.75 million, then the City of Eureka wanted to argue in an appeal about whether the pain and suffering that the cops caused could result in money going to the family (the cops BEAT him to death). So instead of going through another whole process (trial was 4 years after the murder) and after the City had to pay a 5 million dollar bond just to bring that appeal , they settled for 4.5 million. It would be like the City of Eureka (and Nancy Delaney) to argue that cops should be able to cause all the pain and suffering they can, and as long as they kill the person, no one would be able to sue for the torture they inflicted. That is the issue that the City of Eureka wanted to appeal. Disgusting.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Lets say for argument’s sakethat Tommy had an unloaded replica BB gun in his waistband Are the police justified. Killing because he comited a 13.63.020 Unlawful activities involving replica or simulated firearms.

    Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, draws, exhibits or brandishes a replica firearm, or who simulates a firearm in a rude, angry and threatening manner, or who in any manner unlawfully uses the same in any fight or quarrel and causes the victim to reasonably believe that the person is actually in possession of an operable firearm, is guilty of a misdemeanor.


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