Monday, September 25, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Monday, September 25, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Grieving Parents Accuse|Police of Cover-Up

VALLEJO, Calif. (CN) - Police shot and killed an unarmed man, his parents claim in court, though police contend he pointed a rifle at an officer's stomach during a two-man hallucinogen-fueled rampage that included arson, vandalism and decapitation of birds.

The pro per plaintiffs, Lisa and Eugene Moore, sued the Vallejo Police Department and the City of Vallejo in Solano County Superior Court for wrongful death and civil rights violations regarding the October 2012 shooting, which was reported in national media. They also sued for negligent supervision of the officers involved.

According to news reports, around 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 21, neighbors told police that Jeremiah Moore, 29, and Jason Jessie, 28, were arguing, breaking windows in their house and their parked cars, and trying to set their house on fire. Officers arrived on the scene and pursued a naked man, Jessie, into the burning house, a local paper reported.

A second naked man, Moore, placed a rifle barrel against an officer's stomach, which another officer saw, the Vallejo Police Department said in a statement issued the day of the shooting. "Fearing for his life and the life of his fellow officer, [the other officer] immediately discharged his firearm at the man with the rifle." Officials said the rifle had a round in the chamber.

Police found a blood trail leading from the house to three decapitated pet birds in the back yard and they believed one or both men were under the influence of a hallucinogen, a local paper reported just after the incident. Later press reports identified the drug as "bath salts."

In their six-page lawsuit, filed nearly a year after the incident, the Moores accuse the City of Vallejo and the Vallejo Police Department of denying them access to information on the shooting and allege that the city and the police department "have engaged in a systematic cover-up of the use of deadly force by Vallejo Police Officers and a policy of violations of civil rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution." (Citation omitted.)

Officials with the Vallejo Police Department and the Vallejo City Attorney's Office were not available to comment on the lawsuit.

Following the 2012 incident, Jason Jessie was arrested on charges of battery on a police officer and obstructing an officer, but the charges were later dropped, a local paper reported on Feb. 25.

Jeremiah Moore's mother told the paper later on the day of the shooting, "I'm upset that this is going to be his legacy, what people are going to remember him for. He was not like this." She said he and Jessie, a gay couple, had been living together for over a year; that the couple had been planning a vegetarian, alcohol-free party at the time of the shooting; and that her son had Asperger's syndrome, had never been a drug addict and was not prone to violence.

"We've raised him as best we could," his father, Eugene Moore, told the paper at the time.

Categories / Uncategorized

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.