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Eyster Continues the Waidelich Stonewall

Mendocino County District Attorney Dave Eyster continues to stonewall the status of an investigation into allegations that fired Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich sexually assaulted a woman while on duty and in uniform. The probe has dragged on for five months, with few details made public.

Now Eyster is refusing to provide details about his recent attempt to pass off the Waidelich case to the state Attorney General’s Office for review and possible prosecution of Waidelich.

State Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office in early November readily released a written response to Eyster’s formal request for possible recusal from the high profile Waidelich case, the second police misconduct prosecution handled by Eyster’s office this year.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Laurence concluded that “a recusal inquiry must focus on whether there is evidence demonstrating likelihood that the Waidelich investigation will not be handled in a fair manner, and not on how proceeding with the local prosecutor may appear to the public.”

Eyster is refusing to release the contents of the formal request he made to the state Attorney General.

So far Eyster has not publicly addressed any concerns about the Waidelich case, or his office’s controversial prosecution this past summer of a former Ukiah Police sergeant who had been accused of sexually assaulting two other women. At the last minute, the most serious sexual assault charges against veteran Ukiah cop Kevin Murray were dismissed by Eyster’s office, and the disgraced officer was allowed to plea to lesser charges. He was placed on probation in what one of his alleged sexual assault victims labeled a “sweetheart plea bargain.” 

In the current criminal investigation into Waidelich, Eyster is formally refusing to publicly release a copy of his unusual request for state intervention. 

“Disclosure at this point in time would endanger the successful completion of the overall investigation or a related investigation,” the DA’s office claims.

Eyster is also contending that any information exchanged between he and state prosecutors is “privileged.” 

The DA’s formal denial to a request for information under the state Public Records Act is dated Nov. 15 and signed by Eyster’s top assistant Dale Trigg. It declares that the office is exempt from Public Record Act provisions because the DA letter to the Attorney General reflects attorney “impressions, conclusions, opinions or legal research or theories.” 

The state AG’s Office, meanwhile, says it is processing the request for disclosure of Eyster’s original letter of recusal request and will advise. Under state law, public agencies have 10 working days to respond.

Eyster has publicly refused to provide any information since the Waidelich case rocked local law enforcement five months ago, including identifying the specific allegations made by a Ukiah Valley woman. Local law enforcement for months have only publicly acknowledged an investigation is being conducted into an unspecified “criminal complaint” made against Waidelich.

It was not until the state AG’s written response to Eyster in early November that the public finally learned that what is really at issue is a criminal complaint of sexual assault. 

The AG’s Office publicly stated that, “The investigation arose from a complaining witness’ June 13, 2022, complaint to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office that Mr. Waidelich sexually assaulted her while he was on duty.”

Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall took the complaint and at the time immediately asked for an outside investigation by Sonoma County authorities into the bombshell accusation. 

Within days, Waidelich was fired. Sonoma’s conclusions were turned over to Eyster’s office by late summer, but the DA refuses to comment on any findings, or whether there may be grounds for possible prosecution.

Besides keeping the public in the dark, the uncertainty of the case status hangs over the heads of Waidelich, a popular Potter Valley native who rose through Ukiah police department ranks to become chief in November 2021, and members of his family. Waidelich declines to comment on the accusation he faces.

City Manager Sage Sangiacomo said at the time that personnel polices limited any explanation behind Waidelich’s sudden firing other than he violated established city policies. Sangiacomo said the actions of the former police chief were unworthy of the position he held. Veteran Ukiah Police Captain Cedric Cook is serving as interim police chief.

Waidelich’s unresolved case continues to dog the former police chief, city officials and Eyster.

The lack of any public statement by prosecutors, and the fact that details are still under wraps months after the complaint was filed has only exacerbated public concerns about the second high profile police misconduct case to be aired this year. 

The woman involved is well known by local law enforcement and is a friend of many. She has, through an intermediary, declined to speak publicly about her experience with Waidelich.

Some insiders in the local law enforcement community believe Eyster may simply let the statute of limitations apply in the case without any public explanation. They say there appears to be no evidence to support prosecution of a criminal act, but that Waidelich’s conduct as police chief “was definitely outside any acceptable norm.”

For the public, however, it is hard to judge the reality of Waidelich’s predicament. Nothing is officially known about his encounter on June 13 by anyone except the woman, and investigators who looked into her criminal complaint. Eyster’s office for weeks has had the results of the investigation, and the time to decide whether there is any evidence to support the claim of sexual assault.

In effect, a blue wall of silence encircles Waidelich’s case.

His is the second of two cases that have raised questions about how allegations of police misconduct are handled in Mendocino County.

In July, former UPD Sergeant Kevin Murray and his team of Santa Rosa lawyers struck a plea deal with Eyster and his assistant prosecutor Heidi Larsen. Murray, whose criminal trial on five felony charges including sexual assault was twice postponed, ended up with only a year probation after three of the most serious charges were dropped by the DA’s office.

Murray’s plea deal provoked condemnation from one alleged sexual assault victim, generated widespread media coverage, and sparked demonstrations outside the Mendocino County Courthouse. The response was so negative that Eyster limited public comments on the DA’s web page, an act that flaunts accepted standards for government information sites. 


  1. Concerned Citizen December 8, 2022

    They’ll probably let him off to with nothing just like they did Murray what a bunch of crap somebody needs to come in to Mendocino county clean it up seems like everybody’s is dirty all the cops DA judge I’m over it something Hass to be done is not right . Anybody else gets in trouble they’re on them big-time . How about the redbearded burglar that invaded please for a year he was just going through cabins and staying alive they gave him life in prison what the fuck . He did assault women it hurt anybody but he got life things are not right around here hopefully there’s more people agree with me between the cops getting away with everything and over sentencing people for things that are way less than what those two cops dead is ridiculou

  2. izzy December 9, 2022

    Keeping in step with the times, even here in way-out Mendocino County the public is treated to a banquet of ineptitude, corruption, and malfeasance in government operations. It’s one thing after another, with rarely any sort of accountability. Disappeared into the churning black hole that swallows so many of our collective embarrassments. As above, so below, apparently.
    Happy Holidays

  3. Longduckdong December 11, 2022

    Yeah the Red Bearded burglar did get totally fucked over. That guy wasn’t dangerous to anyone & I’m positive he never fired shots at any officers. That claim was an obvious excuse for letting him get away the first time officers encountered him.

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