Police must pay $2.6M

Started by woof, Apr 04, 2006, 06:28 PM

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It's good to see some success with fathers fighting the system. I only wish that we could sue the corrupt judges that keep the unjustice in place.


Police must pay $2.6M
Jury: Girl wrongly taken from day care
Record Staff Writer
Published Tuesday, Apr 4, 2006

A federal jury returned a $2.6million verdict Friday against Stockton and two members of the Police Department, siding with a father and daughter who claimed police wrongfully took the girl from day care.

Crystal Keller was 4 years old and the subject of a custody dispute when police collected her from the home of her Orangevale day-care provider in 2002. Her mother lived in Stockton.

Police did not have a warrant or proof Crystal was in danger, Crystal and her father, Dennis Keller, claimed in a trial in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. The girl's seizure violated the family's civil rights, the Kellers claimed.

Stockton City Attorney

Ren Nosky said police believed that Crystal was in danger and that waiting for a warrant could endanger her even more. He said he would ask the City Council today for permission to appeal the verdict.

"This case is far from over," he said. "We're standing behind the officers."

Keller said Crystal cried for him the day police came for her.

"It was hard, because I didn'tknow what was going on," Crystal said Monday. "I was frightened. I was terrified."

Crystal spent two years in foster care before Keller won full custody in 2004, said the family's Oakland attorney, David Beauvais.

"It's like a bad chapter you can finally write off," said Keller, a 49-year-old mechanic who now lives with his daughter in Fair Oaks.

Police Sgt. Ken Praegitzer and Detective Kathryn Henderson, the two officials named in the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment. The chief's office referred calls seeking comment to the city attorney.

The jury awarded Crystal $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1million in punitive damages; it awarded her father $100,000 in compensatory damages and $1million in punitive damages.

Beauvais called the verdict a rebuke of a department that, without warrant, seized a child who was not in danger.

Nosky said police acted in the child's best interest and called the verdict inappropriate.

Contact reporter David Siders at (209) 943-8580 or [email protected]

Even a whole village can't replace dad, children need both parents.

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