The Huntington Beach Police Department did nothing to prevent a 17-year-old boy from committing suicide even though officers knew where he lived and knew he'd posted on social media that he was about to kill himself, alleges a suit his parents filed against the city.
Matthew Cline shot himself in the head
inside at his Huntington Beach home on July 17.
(The teen actually shot himself outside of his family residence, according to a family member.)
Matt Reynolds writes for Courthouse News Service that the teen posted on iFunny July 16: “My name is Matthew Cline. This will be my last post on ifunny as I will be committing suicide tonight.” Ana Gutierrez, a teen in Los Baños, read the post, found Cline's Facebook page indicating he lived in Huntington Beach and called police.
William and Kathleen Cline's lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court claims an HBPD officer identified only as “Rodriguez” “lulled” Gutierrez into believing police would intervene. Rodriguez is also accused of finding Cline's address but doing nothing to contact the teen's parents or send a police car to the home.
The suit includes Rodriguez's police report that states, “I attempted 2-3 phone calls but no one answered. Due to the fact we were unable to determine where the Mathew Cline lived who made the post, no units were sent to any of the addresses we located under that name.”
That's a “blatant, bad-faith” lie, according to the parents' suit, which notes Matthew Cline shot himself about 20 hours after Rodriguez received the call from Gutierrez. Speakiing of calls (or the lack therof), the suit also claims Surf City cops had William Cline's cell-phone number “substantially prior to Matthew's suicide.”
Police never called the number, the suit alleges. The parents, who are represented by attorney Douglas Ames, seek unspecified damages for negligence/failure to warn, and costs.
A Huntington Beach Police spokesman told the Orange County Register in September that the department takes suicide threats seriously but “can't follow up all the time.” City officials have no comment on the suit.