If you’ve been reading my series about the Placer County DA Office Vacancy – you should be familiar with Jeff Wilson’s reign of terror (more on that soon as several have come forward). Other names I am hearing mentioned are Dave Tellman and Doug Van Bremen. Tellman and Wilson are candidates for Placer DA. Van Bremen has been alleged to be a hatchet man for Jeff Wilson by people I have spoken to.
There was a just completed trial of a Rocklin Cop named Brad Alford. Alford was ACQUITTED on all counts in less than two hours. We pick up the story:
Alford went off duty shortly after the event occurred on the morning of September 24, and wrote his report that evening when he returned for the graveyard shift. By approximately 9 a.m. on the morning of September 25, the Rocklin P.D. Internal Affairs lieutenant was looking at some of the video evidence concerning this incident. He did not like what he saw, and would later testify that, based simply on his view of the video, and without reviewing either the report written by Alford or the reports written by Nitz and Adams (which described active resistance by Perez during the period of time when Alford was striking him), he formed the opinion that Alford’s use of force was excessive and unreasonable. He reviewed some of the existing video with his captain for approximately 30 minutes, and together with the captain and the chief for a similar time period, and then took the case to the DA’s Office. Alford was placed on administrative leave on the late afternoon of September 25.
The DA’s Office was asked to investigate the possible use of excessive force on the same afternoon. Within 24 hours, the DA’s Office had an arrest warrant prepared and Alford was taken into custody. Although the seminal case of Graham v. Connor (1989), 109 S.Ct. 1865, tells us all that the analysis of an officer’s use of force depends upon the perceptions of a reasonable officer on the scene at the time of the incident, the Rocklin Police Department administration had no idea of what Alford’s perception was or what the perceptions of Nitz and Adams were, because they did not read their reports. The DA’s Office gave pitifully little if any consideration to anything written by the officers and didn’t even bother to consult a use-of-force expert before issuing the felony criminal complaint and taking Alford into custody.
You can see that the slipshod behavior of people in the Rocklin PD and the zeal of the Placer County DA’s office (see also Jeff Wilson and Dave Tellman) led to Brad Alford being put through 2+ years of hell.
Next speaks to how lousy the DA’s case was against the officer: (IA = internal affairs, the POST / Learning Domain refers to police training protocols)
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask the IA lieutenant if he could conceive of a use-of-force expert giving an opinion concerning the propriety of an officer’s use of force in California without knowing what POST is or without understanding Learning Domain 20 or Learning Domain 33. The IA lieutenant agreed that such an individual would be ill-qualified to offer an opinion.
When the former Henderson police chief testified, I asked him if he could envision a situation in which an individual offering an opinion concerning an officer’s use of force would be reliable or accurate if they did not even bother to review the officer’s report in order to understand what the perceptions of that officer were when the officer applied force. The police chief indicated that an opinion offered under such circumstances would essentially be worthless.
The IA Lieutenant in Rocklin should be terminated immediately for what he did. The attorney for PORAC took him apart and then took apart the “expert witness” Jeff Wilson and his crew brought in (the Henderson police chief) as well.
When the dust of this trial cleared, the jury was asked to do the analysis that had never been done by the administration of the Rocklin P.D. or the Placer County DA’s Office — to apply the use-of-force analysis required by the United States Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor, required by POST in Learning Domain 20 and required by the Rocklin P.D. in its use-of-force policy and determine, whether, given the perceptions of Alford, Nitz and Adams, Alford’s decision to use force and the use of force itself was reasonable under the circumstances.
The jury’s verdict was swift — only about two hours of deliberations following the conclusion of instructions. No requests were received for testimony to be reread, and no requests were made to review video evidence. The not guilty verdicts made all of us at the defense table and the supporters of Alford in the audience jubilant that he could return to his family for the first time in over a year and half without facing the infamy of felony charges and a possible prison sentence.
In the attempted lynching of Brad Alford, Wilson and crew failed to do basic prosecutor work. This should give you pause about everyone involved. But wait, there’s more. Wilson and crew retaliated against every cop involved in the case – even though the exoneration happened and by definition there was no longer a crime.
Wilson, Doug Van Bremen and Dave Tellman executed a “Brady Listing” the officers involved. If you are a cop, being Brady Listed is basically the kiss of death on your career as a cop.
Our collective happiness did not last long. Within only a few hours of the jury’s verdict, Nitz and Adams received letters from the Placer County DA’s Office advising them that the DA’s Office was considering placing them on the Brady list for (1) failing to report criminal offenses committed by Brad Alford on September 24, 2017, and (2) giving testimony at trial that was inconsistent with some of the video evidence.
Pretty amazing, given the fact that the jury had just told the DA that no crimes were committed on September 24, and both the DA’s own expert from Henderson, Texas, and our expert Sean McCann had agreed that an officer’s account of an event will always be different than video evidence.
We are now waging the fight against this retaliatory, vindictive action by the Placer DA’s Office on behalf of Nitz and Adams, hoping that someone in that office will come to their senses and realize that Nitz and Adams did not report criminal or other inappropriate behavior by Alford on September 24, 2017, because they observed him acting reasonably under the circumstances. They did not see or even hear all of the events that transpired in a span of seconds the way the cameras captured it because they, like Alford, are human — not perfect, just human — and no amount of training can ever change that.
Brad Alford and RLS join in thanking the PORAC Legal Defense Fund for giving us the resources and the ability to make this acquittal happen. Had we not been allowed to do the necessary video analytical work or call a use-of-force expert of the high quality of Sean McCann, challenging these serious charges and making sense of this graphic video would have placed Officer Alford’s liberty in jeopardy.
I’ve been told that Dave Tellman is also a candidate for Placer County DA but I have not confirmed it myself. The Placer GOP Endorsed Morgan Gire. I personally have no preference other than anyone in current management of the Placer DA’s Office.
Well isn’t that special. Survive a lynching and Doug Van Bremen, Dave Tellman and Jeff Wilson Brady List the officers that testified on your behalf. See all three of them on the letter sent to one of the officers. Lovely. They were Brady Listed for not reporting a crime that never occurred. These vengeful arrogant attorneys should know – especially as prosecutors that an innocent verdict by definition means no crime occurred. There is no other conclusion a reasonable person could draw than this being retaliation for the humiliation the DA’s office suffered losing a high-profile attempted cop-lynching in 2019. This happened under the watch of all three.
When we continue our series, we will be hearing from several anonymous (because they fear retaliation) employees and former employees of the Placer DA’s office that have all mentioned Wilson and sometimes the other two in their communication with your intrepid blogger, and we will also be providing even more detail regarding the three people mentioned in this blog and their role in the attempted lynching of Brad Alford. Stay tuned.