The parents of Julian "Jules" Collender, who was unarmed when he was shot to death outside his Yorba Linda home on June 30, 2010, by Brea Police Detective Shawn Neel, have filed a federal lawsuit that accuses the department of bungling the case from the start.
The suit names as defendants the Brea Police Department, Neel, his fellow detectives David Dickinson, Brian Parker and Austin Phillips and officers Jesse Garduna, Travis Leever, Lamarra Tinnin and Darnesha Montgomery. And the announcement of the suit includes some choice words for the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).
The OCDA released an 11-page letter on June 29 explaining why criminal charges would not be filed against Neel.
The announcement of the federal suit by Richard and Yen Collender quotes the father saying, "The OCDA and Senior Assistant DA Jim Tanizaki "coldly released their decision" around the one-year anniversary of his son's death.
"They took the knife that they and the Brea Police put in our backs and twisted it," he continues. "This civil suit is now our only recourse for some justice for our son."
The OCDA is not named as a defendant in the complaint, however.
The introduction begins, "This case challenges the unjustified shooting and killing of Plaintiffs' son Julian Stanley Collender ("Julian") by Defendant Shawn Neel, and the subsequent unlawful arrest, detention, search, abusive treatment and excessive force used against Plaintiffs after their son's death." Read the full complaint at www.sdshh.com.
Three people inside a car were robbed at gunpoint around 8:15 p.m. June 29, 2010, in the parking lot of the Mercado Del Rio shopping center on La Palma Avenue and Weir Canyon Road in Yorba Linda. One victim recognized the gunman and called Brea PD, which patrols Yorba Linda. Neel was the first to arrive at the home of Collender lived in with his parents in the 24000 block of Avenida de Marcia.
Police and the OCDA claim the 25-year-old made movements that indicated he was carrying a gun before Neel--who is alleged to have feared for his own life--shot Collender once in the stomach with a high-powered assault rifle.
The family claims Collender, who later died at a local hospital, was trying to surrender when Neel shot him. The parents also claim the mistreatment did not stop there, alleging that when they tried to rush to their son's aide, they were kept away from him by cops, held against their will in police units and originally forbidden from going to the hospital.
The death of Jules and treatment of his parents have drawn protests in front of Brea PD and in the chambers of the Yorba Linda City Council, which has even been urged to kill its contract with the police agency.
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The Collenders are represented by Woodland Hills attorney Dale L. Galipo and the Venice-based law firm Schonbrun Desimone Seplow Harris Hoffman & Harrison LLP, which also has an office in Pasadena. Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of UC Irvine's School of Law, works "of counsel" for the firm, meaning he's not a partner or associate.
The announcement follows on the next page . . .
POLICE SHOOTING OF JULIAN STANLEY COLLENDER CHALLENGED IN FEDERAL COURT
Richard and Yen Collender, the parents of Julian Collender, have challenged their son's June 30, 2010 killing by Brea Police Detective Shawn Neel in the United States District Court in Santa Ana, California.
Julian, a Cal. State University student with no prior record, was shot with a high powered assault rifle in front of his home in Yorba Linda shortly after midnight as he surrendered to police officers on the scene. Julian was unarmed.
A month ago, the Orange County District Attorney declined to file criminal charges against Detective Neel. The Collender family is deeply disappointed by the fact that Detective Neel will not be brought to justice by the County officials responsible for holding police officers accountable.
"The OCDA and Senior Assistant DA Jim Tanizaki coldly released their decision on what they knew was the exact one year anniversary of Julian's shooting, a hard day for everybody close to Julian," emphasized Richard Collender, Julian's father. "They took the knife that they and the Brea Police put in our backs and twisted it. This civil suit is now our only recourse for some justice for our son."
Yen Collender, Julian's mother, stated, "I miss Julian every minute. He was a wonderful son and a talented, creative person who inspired those around him. The Brea Police have mishandled everything. What happened to Julian never should have happened."
The Collenders are being represented by Paul Hoffman, Michael Seplow and Victoria Don of the law firm of Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris Hoffman & Harrison LLP based in Venice, California, and Dale L. Galipo of the Law Offices of Dale L. Galipo, based in Woodland Hills, California.
A copy of the amended complaint filed July 27, 2011, is available on the the following website: www.sdshh.com.