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Sonoma County Sheriff releases new footage of Graton man’s arrest

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Sonoma County deputies investigating a Graton man they were told pointed a gun at a friend and his wife Saturday afternoon approached him with their guns and electro-shock weapons drawn, shouting orders that he step forward with arms raised and get on the ground, newly released body-worn camera footage shows.

The Sheriff’s Office video provides additional context in the arrest of Jason Anglero-Wyrick, 35, who was taken into custody after deputies stunned him with their electro-shock weapons and set loose a police dog to subdue him after he refused to follow their orders, Sonoma County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Juan Valencia said.

The annotated video was posted on the department’s Facebook page after 10:20 p.m Tuesday. It is one of several videos put together by the Sheriff’s Office in recent months in light of a state law requiring agencies to disclose body-worn camera footage in the wake of certain critical incidents involving use of force.

The new footage came several hours after The Press Democrat published a story that included details from a witness video that captured part of the arrest and was posted onto YouTube. The footage stirred some concern among law enforcement watchdogs and others critical about the use of force in the arrest, including the deployment of the police dog.

But the footage released late Tuesday “had the clearest picture of the incident,” Valencia said.

It does not include additional body-worn camera video that captured the agency’s initial contact with the man who reported Anglero-Wyrick. The Sheriff’s Office does not intend to publish that footage because it did not appear to shed light on the incident, Valencia said.

“We don’t want to persuade people, we want to give people all the facts and let them make their own assumptions,” Valencia said. Anglero-Wyrick “had every opportunity to comply with the deputies’ commands and get on the ground. We can only control our actions and react to their actions.”

But Jerry Threet, Sonoma County’s former law enforcement auditor who resigned from his position more than a year ago, questioned whether Anglero-Wyrick posed a threat to the deputies, as reported by the Sheriff’s Office in the community briefing video and in a press release published Monday that detailed the arrest.

He noted that both Anglero-Wyrick and Naustachia Green, a woman who was also arrested in the incident, kept their hands in the air throughout the encounter. Green was shown standing in front of Anglero-Wyrick as deputies tried to detain him.

The Sheriff’s Office said deputies believed Anglero-Wyrick was possibly armed, and ordered the closure of nearby streets when they approached the home.

“Certainly, they had great reason to be cautious and make sure there was no threat to them, but that doesn’t mean that once they got there and there was no threat presented, that they had a justification for escalating as quickly as they did,” Threet said.

Threet also voiced concern that the agency was not releasing all of its video footage from the incident.

Comments posted by the Sheriff’s Office to its Facebook page under its initial account of the incident also were troubling given the injuries sustained by the suspect in the arrest, Threet said. The comments suggested the police dog used to subdue Anglero-Wyrick deserved a treat.

“Vader did a great job time for a treat,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote in response to a comment from a guest on the post. That comment was edited Wednesday evening to say, “Thanks for your support.”

Witness video showed the dog did not release the man for about a minute after he had been handcuffed. The handler appeared to struggle to get the dog to let go.

“The dog did his job, he went in (and) bit,” said Valencia, a former K9 handler with the agency. He could not say whether the handler had meant the dog to stay attached to the suspect for as long as it did.

Warning: Graphic video

The incident is being reviewed to determine if deputies followed relevant protocols and procedures, as is the case any time deputies use force on another person.

Deputies began searching Saturday for Anglero-Wyrick, 35, at his home in Graton after a man called the Sheriff’s Office at about 4:40 p.m. He said Anglero-Wyrick had made his way into his mother’s home and pushed her to the ground earlier that day. Later, he threatened to kick in the door of the caller’s home while his wife was inside, according to dispatch audio included in the sheriff’s video.

Anglero-Wyrick returned to the man’s home again about three minutes before the 911 call and “pointed guns at us,” the caller told the dispatcher in the audio clip. The department previously said the caller additionally reported Anglero-Wyrick was joined by a woman in both visits to his home, and that they fled in a white pickup.

The body-worn camera footage, recorded by Deputy Tyler Villeggiante as he approached Anglero-Wyrick’s home, begins as Anglero-Wyrick and Green walk past a wooden fence on the edge of the property to meet with deputies.

From the camera’s view, Villeggiante is seen gripping his service pistol and pointing it in front of him, at the couple. Another nearby deputy points his stun gun at the couple and a K9 officer and its handler walk toward the pair, as well.

“Get on the ground! Come out here with your hands up!” Villeggiante says.

Green is shown standing in front of Anglero-Wyrick, asking deputies about the orders given to Anglero-Wyrick and telling them that he had been sleeping, the sheriff’s video showed. Both Anglero-Wyrick and Green have their hands raised in the air. Anglero-Wyrick at one point tries to step in front of the woman, yelling at the deputies, but Green repositions herself in front of him.

Villeggiante, now less than a foot from the Green, grabs her and pulls her to the ground after she pulls away from another deputy. A third deputy fires his stun gun, a tactic that appears to cause Anglero-Wyrick to fall to the ground. For a split second, the video captures the K9 officer, Vader, and his handler run toward Anglero-Wyrick, but they move out of the frame as Villeggiante and another deputy attempt to place Green onto her stomach with her hands behind her back, a task that takes just under a minute to complete.

The 8-minute video ends with a portion of the witness’s video and a notice that the force used by the deputies is being investigated by the department, which is protocol. No gun was found after a search of Anglero-Wyrick’s home and car after his arrest and the caller who originally reported the alleged crime became “uncooperative” after both he and Green were placed into custody, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies did not arrest Anglero-Wyrick on weapon charges, nor for making threats, but did arrest him on suspicion of violating parole and resisting officers. He was sent to a hospital for treatment and was released on bail. Green was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor battery on an officer and resisting arrest and asked to appear in court.

Karlene Navarro, the county’s independent law enforcement auditor, said she has been contacted by a witness to the incident and a relative of Anglero-Wyrick, who told her they intended to file a complaint against the Sheriff’s Office.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com.

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