Police Probe Fracas Involving Officers
The San Diego Police Department’s internal affairs office is investigating a confrontation in Paradise Hills involving eight off-duty officers who were attending a bachelor party that was disrupted by a dispute between two officers and several men from a house across the street.
Two men who allegedly threatened several of the officers were arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
But at issue is who provoked Friday night’s confrontation and whether the officers identified themselves as such before becoming engaged in the brouhaha.
According to statements from officers quoted in the police report of the incident, one of the men slashed at an officer with a knife, a second was holding a pool cue “over his left shoulder like a baseball bat” and “rotating it as if to swing,” and a third drove into an officer with a slow-moving truck.
However, the two men and several witnesses from the same house maintain that the officers initiated the brawl and identified themselves as police officers only after the fight had ended.
The incident began when Officer Timothy Long, who was off duty, drove into the cul-de-sac of the 3000 block of Plato Drive about 8:45 p.m. Friday and began looking for a parking spot. He was waved down by fellow Officer John Manke, who had been yelling for him to park in the driveway of the house where the party was being held.
At the same time, Nicholas Ross, 25, began walking toward the two officers from the house across the street and made threatening comments to Manke, according to the police report. Moments later, Ross’ brother, Michael, walked from the house across the street and joined his brother while holding a pool cue, the report said.
Terrance Everette, 18, who was later arrested in connection with the fight, gave the following account to police: “Those guys (the officers at the party) across the street were drinking and making lots of noise. We asked them to be quiet. Then they yelled, ‘Right here, park right here.’ Nick and Michael went outside and said, ‘Do you got a problem? We’ve been living here longer than you. You can’t be making noise in a neighborhood like this.’ ”
Everette continued: “Then those guys (Long and Manke) said, ‘Who . . . do you think you are?’ That’s when they started showing us a gun and started beating us up. One guy said, ‘You’re going to sleep!’ They never identified themselves as police officers.”
The officers involved, however, offered a different version of the incident: As Michael Ross approached him while carrying the pool cue, Long stepped back and displayed his gun and identified himself as a police officer. After more words were exchanged, Nicholas Ross returned from the house across the street with a knife. Manke then went back to the party to summon assistance.
According to the report, Long was then confronted by the Ross brothers, one holding a pool cue and the other brandishing a knife. Also, a man later identified as 18-year-old Terrance Everette “drove a pickup truck at a slow speed” until it struck Long, forcing him into Nicholas Ross, “who slashed at him three times,” with a knife, the report said.
Manke returned to the scene with six other officers who were attending the party. After Long and off-duty Officer Brett Righthouse took the knife from Ross, several other officers wrestled with Everette to obtain the sawed-off .22-caliber rifle he had brought back to the scene, the report said. Michael Ross had reportedly fled and was not arrested.
Police arrived and arrested Nicholas Ross of the 3000 block of Plato Drive and Terrance Everette, of the 6400 block of Garber Avenue on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. Ross and Everette were taken to County Jail and released Saturday after posting bail: $10,000 for Ross and $15,000 for Everette. Their arraignment has been scheduled for early this week, police said.
Officers Manuel Rodriguez, Steve Kingkade, Kent Hoflen, Kevin Rooney and Paul Libassi were also involved in the incident.