VALLEJO (CBS SF) — A Vallejo couple filed a claim for damages Thursday against the city of Vallejo, alleging its Police Department treated a home invasion and kidnapping involving them on Mare Island earlier this year as a “wild goose chase” and a “hoax.”
The San Francisco-based Kerr & Wagstaffe law firm filed the claim, a precursor to a civil complaint, in Vallejo City Hall on behalf of Denise Huskins and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn.READ MORE: Redwood City Man Suspected In Domestic Assault, Attempted Murder Arrested In Monterey County
Both plaintiffs are claiming their reputations were injured, their due process rights were violated and they suffered emotional distress and property loss when police publicly said the entire incident was an orchestrated event.
Huskins and Quinn, both physical therapists who worked at Kaiser Permanente’s Vallejo Medical Center, told investigators at least two people invaded Quinn’s Mare Island residence while they were asleep early on the morning of March 23.
They said they were drugged, had their wrists bound with zip ties and were forced to wear swim goggles with the lens taped over.
Huskins said she was taken in a vehicle trunk to an unknown location, then dropped off at her mother’s home in Huntington Beach, where she notified police on March 25.
Vallejo police then said the incident was “an orchestrated event and not a kidnapping” when Huskins declined to meet with them and provide additional details.
Matthew Muller, 38, of Orangevale in Sacramento County, was arrested at his mother’s home in South Lake Tahoe on June 8 and later was charged in federal court with the kidnapping.READ MORE: UPDATE: Fire Burns Pleasant Hill Senior Living Facility; Injured Resident Rescued From Balcony
FBI officials said Muller confessed to the kidnapping in a recorded jailhouse interview and said he acted alone.
In their claim against the city of Vallejo, Huskins and Quinn said their reputations were intentionally destroyed “through an outrageous, completely unprofessional and wholly unfounded campaign of disparagement.”
The claim seeks damages for lost wages, injury to reputation, emotional and physical distress, humiliation, mental anguish, attorneys’ fees and costs and punitive damages in amounts to be determined at trial.
Quinn also is seeking damages for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment by Vallejo police.
In a July 20 letter of apology sent to the attorneys for Quinn and Huskins, Vallejo police Chief Andrew Bidou said the department regrets the comments made during the initial investigation.
“We understand that these contributed to the difficulty and personal ordeal that you have experienced. While these comments were based on our findings at the time, they proved to be unnecessarily harsh and offensive,” Bidou said.
“In light of new evidence cited in the recently unsealed federal complaint … it is now clear that there was a kidnapping on March 23, 2015, and that it was not a hoax or orchestrated event and the VPD conclusions were incorrect,” Bidou said.MORE NEWS: COVID: Sonoma County Eases Capacity Limits On Indoor Gatherings As Case Rates Decline
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