SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — A retired San Francisco police officer is facing multiple charges after allegedly chasing down an 11-year-old boy who had allegedly been doorbell ditching, forcing him into a vehicle, and threatening to “put a bullet in his head” if he did it again.
Dean Taylor, 63, a San Rafael resident, was arrested last Friday night following the alleged incident. He appeared in court Thursday for his initial arraignment on charges of kidnapping, criminal threats, false imprisonment, battery and child endangerment. He is currently out on bail.READ MORE: Lake County Luxury Hotel, Housing Project Raises Concerns Over Wildfire Risk
San Rafael police said officers responded last Friday at 8:30 p.m. to the 400 block of Point San Pedro Road after a witness reported seeing an older man yelling at a boy and grabbing him aggressively before both got into the man’s car and left the area.
As patrol units searched the area for the vehicle, a woman flagged down an officer to say her son had been in a group that had been ringing homes’ doorbells and running away, and that one of her son’s friends had been chased by a man who lived in the area, police said.
At the same time, dispatchers received a call from a man saying his son had been victimized by the man. An officer interviewed the boy, who said he and his friends had been doorbell ditching and at one of the homes they hit, an older man came out and began chasing them, according to police.
The boy went on to say the man got in his car to chase them and eventually blocked the boy’s path with his car, got out of his vehicle, grabbed him by the neck and forced him to the ground, police said.
When the boy got up, he was pushed into the suspect’s car, where he told the boy he was going to take him to his parent’s house and that if he ever did that again (rang the doorbell and leave), he would “put a bullet in his head,” police saId.
After the threat, the suspect dropped the juvenile off about a mile away in the area of Point San Pedro Road and Loch Lomond Drive in San Rafael, police said. The boy then ran to his parents’ location to report what happened. He had redness around his neck but didn’t require medical attention.
Investigators determined the identity of the man as Taylor and officers went to his home at about 10:10 pm that night. When Taylor answered the door, he “immediately asked the officers if they were there because of the kids,” according to a press release.
“He said he was looking for the child’s parent. Obviously, he felt that the behavior was wrong and he decided to take it into his own hands and discipline the child by putting him in his car and driving him to his parents house – which he did not do,” said San Rafael Police Lt. Dan Fink told KPIX. “There was probably an overreaction. There’s no excuse for chasing down kids, for using force on kids, the threats were obviously way out of line and illegal. It definitely got out of hand very fast.”READ MORE: Theft Leaves San Jose Couple Bereft: 'We’re Heartbroken, All Our Precious Things Are Gone'
Taylor claimed the kids had rang his doorbell at least four times prior and he was fed up; when it happened again he went out and chased them, police said. Taylor denied grabbing the child around the neck or threatening to shoot him, and claimed he told the boy he was going to give him a ride home.
Taylor was arrested and booked at the Marin County Jail where he posted bail.
Neighborhood parents are appalled by the incident.
“It’s not okay for somebody else to decide how to discipline your child. They can’t take that matter into their own hands,” said San Rafael parent Nicole Rotem.
Her son, 11-year-old Lucas said he doesn’t know how he’d respond in that situation.
“I’d be really scared,” said Lucas. “I would be probably speechless that anyone would try to do that to a kid.”
After Thursday’s arraignment, Taylor’s lawyer told the Marin Independent Journal that his client was a 34-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department and a volunteer coach as San Rafael High School.
“On the night in question, Mr. Taylor found himself at home recovering from a recent very painful surgery, while he was subjected to yet another night of interrupted sleep due to teens pounding on his door as a form of prank,” Brass told the Chronicle. “Needless to say, this event is an aberration for Mr. Taylor, a man with a spotless record who was home minding his own business struggling with his painful recovery.”
Anyone with information about this incident was asked to call San Rafael Police at (415) 485-3000. Tips can also be made online at http://www.srpd.org/tips.MORE NEWS: Indoor Restaurant Dining Resumes, Movie Theaters Reopen in SF and Santa Clara Counties
Andria Borba contributed to this story.