Our coverage of day 1: Justice for Tommy McClain

Nov 14, 2016: The civil rights case brought by the parents of Tommy McClain against the City of Eureka and EPD Officer Stephen Linfoot for shooting their son to death on Sept 17, 2016, began trial today at the federal courthouse in McKinleyville, California. Dale K. Galipo, a skilled and compassionate civil rights attorney from Southern California, is representing the Plaintiffs, Tommy’s mother, Jeanne Barragan, and Tommy’s father, Lance McClain.  Defendants Linfoot and the City of Eureka are represented by the wretched Nancy Delaney of Mitchell, Brisso, Delaney, and Vrieze in Eureka, CA. It is difficult to listen to Delaney who, for hundreds of tax dollars an hour, has spent decades lying on behalf of violent and killer cops.

The trial is presided over by federal Judge WIlliam H. Orrick in the new federal courthouse. About 18 people, including some of Tommy’s relatives, were present in support of Justice for Tommy McClain. Tommy was 22 years old, happily working and living with relatives in Eureka when he was killed.

Officer Linfoot began testifying today, questioned by the Plaintiffs. Linfoot will continue testifying Tuesday morning. There will be other witnesses testifying Tuesday as well.  And possibly a use-of-force expert.  Because the trial days are long, a lot can happen in one day.  On Monday, a jury was selected, opening instructions were given by the judge, opening statements were made by both lawyers, and Linfoot got on the witness stand.

The jury consists of 8 people (2 are alternate jurors)- 6 women and 2 men.  No people of color. Jurors come, not only from Humboldt County, but from as far as Lake, Mendocino, and Del Norte Counties.

The Defendants (cops) designated EPD’s Captain Stephens to sit as a representative of the EPD for the trial.  However, Stephens is also a witness, had pointed a gun at Tommy, and was a senior officer on the scene when

Tommy was killed.  Typically, witnesses cannot sit in the courtroom and listen to everything; they come in when it is their time to testify. The EPD claimed that Chief Mills was too busy “with Administrative duties” to be the representative and argued that they needed to use Stephens as the rep. So, even though Stephens will be testifying, and it’s better if, as a witness, he doesn’t hear what other witnesses are testifying, and usually that is the rule- as the EPD representative, Stephens will be permitted to be present in the courtroom through the entire trial, privy to all the testimony.  After a break early in the first day of trial, Chief Mills showed up and stayed the rest of the day watching the trial- apparently not too busy to be there. It’s not a surprise that the EPD and its lawyer do these dishonest things to get around rules that make trials more fair. Delaney’s narrative, in her opening argument, about what happened the night that Tommy was murdered was offensive, long and boring, and seemed like a fiction that only Delaney could believe.. Delaney wants jurors to believe that Tommy was causing trouble that night, and that he reached for his waistband for a (replica) gun, and that’s why the cops shot him down.  However, Attorney Galipo explained that the evidence will show that Tommy was in a good mood, simply outside his home, was a kind young man, complied with the police orders when they approached him, was barraged with conflicting and confusing orders, and that he did not touch much less try to use a weapon on the night he was killed. This case Barragan et al v. City of Eureka et al is about excessive force, use of deadly force, negligence on part of the officers, and loss of life.

Officer Linfoot testified that he shot Tommy 7 times.  That he only encountered Tommy for a matter of seconds, watched Tommy comply with officers’ orders mainly to put his hands up before he shot him, and continued shooting Tommy as he was falling to the ground.  Shot him again while he was laying on the ground. Linfoot said that he never saw a weapon in Tommy’s hand; in fact, he never saw a weapon on Tommy before shooting him dead. Linfoot says he didn’t talk to any other officer who had seen a weapon on Tommy before he was shot down. Linfoot explained that he knew of no crime being committed by Tommy. Linfoot never even heard a word from young Tommy, never talked with him before, had never been in any kind of interaction with him, but Linfoot drove up, got out of the car, and shot into Tommy’s 22 year old body, taking his life forever.

Delaney, in her opening, had the nerve to tell the jury that “Officer Linfoot’s clip for his gun held 15 bullets.  It’s not like Officer Linfoot just kept on shooting. [Because he ‘only’ used 7 of the 15 bullets in the gun.]

Summated by our reporter at the trial:

Verbena Lea

Trial begins at 8am in the mornings and ends at 4or 4:30pm.  Please come in support of Tommy McClain’s family and send a message to the police that we do not accept them terrorizing or murdering any of us. 

Editors note:

The Examiner has maintained since right after the unjustified killing of Tommy McClain that then “Sergeant” Stephens was senor officer on the scene and was in charge. Will believe he shares culpability with Officer Linfoot.



6 thoughts on “Our coverage of day 1: Justice for Tommy McClain

  1. …he ‘only’ used 7 of the 15 clips in the gun.

    That is incorrect. A “clip” would be what holds the bullets for the gun. Each clip apparently holds 15 bullets. If he used 15 clips then he would have fired 15(bullets) times 15 (clips), or over a hundred rounds of ammo.


  2. In reading the other coverage, it seems to be the claim of EPD that they were worried Tommy was going to commit a vandalism on someone’s unoccupied car. If that was the reason EPD kept surveillance on Tommy then is EPDS policy that vandalism is a high priority crime in Eureka, punishable by death????

    Thanks for the additional perspective TE and Verbena.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope the lawyer for the family is researching the law behind allowing Capt. Stephens to be present during testimony. I’m not a lawyer but it doesn’t sound right. I’ve served on juries and even before testimony the witnesses were not allowed to talk together before testifying. To me that approach seems a clear indication that it is unfair. How can Stephens be a fair and impartial witness when he has been selected by co-workers to be ‘their’ witness at the trial? Certainly seems like a conflict of interest. I hope there is already a statement from him prior to this trial as to what happened.
    I, too, appreciate the depth of coverage. The family deserves no less.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The city has Eureka started out with its thumb on the scale that is the most aggravating thing about dealing with the city if they just have no honor. They sent as a representative for the city from the police force Captain Stevens [sic] one of the chief Witnesses in the case Stevens a sergeant at the time was the supervisor on scene when Tommy was murdered they also managed to exclude any people of color from the jury.

    We learned that the recording systems for the police are inadequate as they do not automatically record audio and video

    “he was just standing there” said Officer Stevens of the Eureka police referring to his encounter with Tommy McLain moments before the young man was murdered

    I’m at the courthouse in McKinleyville supporting the McClain family during a wrongful death case. We will be here all week please come and join us if you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am hoping to get an update report to you Wed night about the trial. Lots has been said, a lot to analyze, criticize, call bullshit on. It was very emotional when the video/audio was played about 4 times of the cops yelling then shooting Tommy. It was mostly audio, so we heard but didn’t see.

    Liked by 1 person

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