In 2012 Sacramento sheriff’s deputy David McEntire fatally shot 24-year-old Jonathan Rose after Jonathan’s father called 911 for help with a mental episode.
Today, the family is moving forward with a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department and deputy McEntire over what they say was an unprovoked and unnecessary shooting.
Through the process of obtaining evidence for the lawsuit, the family’s lawyer, Stewart Katz said he discovered that McEntire has at least six internal affairs complaints during his career with the Sacramento County sheriff’s department.
“Deputy McEntire is the only deputy still employed with Sacramento County who has been the subject of six or more excessive force complaints since 2008,” Katz wrote in court papers.
Tim Rose, Jonathan’s father, said “He’s a habitual, serial excessive-force abuser,”
His lawsuit is one of three McEntire has faced for excessive force.
The county disputes the claims by the Rose family.
“There is no evidence that the complaints were not properly investigated and/or that the disposition of the complaints was in some way deficient,” the county states in court documents. “Officers are dispatched to calls and have little control over the demeanor, sobriety and/or hostility toward law enforcement of the subject or the subjects of the call.”
The county, as well as McEntire, assert that the deputy was fighting for his life when he gunned down an unarmed schizophrenic Jonathan Rose.
Sheriff Scott Jones testified that he was unaware of the number of excessive force complaints against McEntire.
“I would say the overall majority of our officers probably don’t have any complaints throughout their history,” Jones said in a videotaped deposition.
“There are some that have probably more than their fair share, whether sustained or not sustained, maybe by virtue of the assignment that they hold or the duties that they perform,” Jones said, according to a transcript of the deposition. “There are a number of people with large, larger numbers of, of complaints.”
The first lawsuit filed against McEntire came when he was a rookie working at the Main Jail in downtown Sacramento.
That case cost Sacramento County $50,000.
McEntire was reprimanded in 2008 for “discourteous treatment”. And again for “inexcusable neglect of duty.”
The latter incident, which happened at a Walgreens store during a traffic stop, also resulted in a lawsuit.
Ten months after Rose was shot to death in the families’ own living room, Amir Ekunwe said he was sitting in his newly purchased van eating snacks. Ekunwe claims McEntire erupted in anger and assaulted him when he refused to sign a citation for not having tags.
The department reviewed the incident and found McEntire’s use of force was “reasonable”.
However, the review also stated that McEntire’s actions “failed to demonstrate adequate concern for his duties” and that he “had to use what would be considered by the average law enforcement professional as extraordinary force to get Ekunwe to sign his citation.”
Ekunwe told The Sacramento Bee that he was very careful not to provoke the deputy. “If I had been a little more angry or acting out I would have been shot,” Ekunwe said.
“I’m no angel; I’m not perfect, but what happened that night was completely incorrect. It shouldn’t have happened.”
Apparently there is no video footage of what happened that night because Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies do not wear body cameras, and McEntire did not activate his dash camera.
There also is not a video of what happened to Johnathan Rose. The shooting happened in the families’ home after Ted Rose called 911 asking for help with his son.
Johnathan had a history of mental illness and it wasn’t the first time law enforcement had to come to the house. He was once on a 14-day psychiatric hold in Placer County, where his family lived at the time.
Ted Rose said his son was agitated and would not take his medication. 45 minutes later, still waiting for law enforcement to arrive, Jonathan went to sleep.
He was sleeping when McEntire showed up and asked “Where is he?”, according to the lawsuit.
Jonathan awoke, stood up and put his hands behind his back, waiting to be handcuffed. But McEntire ordered him to the floor.
Rose suffered from a compulsive disorder that made him phobic about germs and dirt, according to the suit.
He began to get on the floor, but then refused and said “I can’t, just arrest me,” according to the lawsuit.
McEntire then slammed Rose into the wall, leaving a hole, then hit him on his head with his flashlight. Johnathan Rose, in response, tried to hit the deputy “in a desperate attempt to stop the attack,”.
Ted Rose tried to intervene by pulling his son away but “Then, without warning, Deputy McEntire fired three shots in rapid succession into Johnathan while Ted Rose held his son,” the lawsuit states.
McEntire, of course, says he shot Rose to end a threat to his life.
“I started receiving strikes to my face … I was starting to recognize signs of going unconscious. … I was going to loose (sic) consciousness and possibly die or I was going to have to use force.”
“I fired two rounds right away and then about a half second later fired a third round and the subject stopped fighting.”
The department determined that McEntire acted with “reasonable mitigation.”