Sacramento, CA

Former police chief testifies in police killing trial of Darell Richards

Robert J Hansen
Matsui Federal courtroom downtown in Sacramento(Robert J Hansen)

Sacrament, Calif. - By: Robert J Hansen

Former Sacramento Chief of Police Daniel Hahn testified Wednesday as the trial over the shooting death of 19-year-old Darell Richards by police continues.

Sergeant Todd Edgerton, one of the officers who shot Richards, also took the stand.

In 2018, Richards led police on a four-hour manhunt from Broadway and 16th Street to 20th Street and First Avenue.

Shortly before midnight, Richards dropped his backpack and ran when he was spotted by police, eventually climbing over the fence of a home on 20th Street.

In the backpack, officers found a receipt from Big 5 for the pellet gun.

He was shot by Edgerton and Patrick Cox who said Richards pointed a handgun at another officer that later turned out to be a pellet gun he had purchased the same day from a sporting goods store.
Darell Richards(Courtesy of Christine Vang)

Edgerton shared with the courtroom that his body-worn camera did not record what happened because it got turned off accidentally.

Patrick Buelna, one of the attorneys for Richards’ parents, questioned how the bullets struck the side of his torso and not in the front.

“You said that he was squared up with you as he pointed the gun,” Buelna said. “Then how did they hit his side?”

Edgerton did not have a clear explanation.

“He was rolling up from his side like he was rolling over from the fetus position,” Edgerton said.

Hahn, who was not present in Senior U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez’s courtroom last Thursday, answered questions regarding hostage and barricaded subject situations.

“Initial response of officers is mandatory to call for SWAT and negotiations team,” the Hostage Manual said.

Hahn said that sounded right.

Attorneys for Richards’ family said officers violated department policy by using the SWAT team to apprehend Richards yet failed to include the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT).

Roger Clark, a police procedures consultant, identified several failures by the Sacramento officers.

The body camera not working, not calling CIT, and not waiting until daylight to engage Richards were all failures according to Clark.

What he thought most concerning was Lt. Sameer Sood, the watch commander that night, making no mention of the receipt for a pellet gun to his officers.

“Nothing in the discovery mentioned the receipt of a pellet gun, something police knew and could have easily known what Richards was armed with,” Clark said.

Clark said that an incident commander must find out as much as they can, like harvesting whatever they can from the backpack.

“These are basic things that a patrol officer would have in his car and be able to find out,” Clark said.

Heatings for the trial will resume next week.

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Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento County, CA

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