From: Marin Independent Journal
By Nels Johnson 4/3/15
An ex-sheriff’s deputy fired after emptying his semiautomatic at a Marin City motorist was reinstated but demoted by a county commission Friday.
In an action that stunned Sheriff Robert Doyle, the Personnel Commission tossed out Doyle’s firing of ex-deputy Evan Kubota, saying that instead, Kubota will be “demoted to a position in the sheriff’s office.”
“I don’t know what it means,” Doyle said initially, adding later that Kubota would continue as a civilian staffer without a firearm. “I’m disappointed,” Doyle said, adding the panel found Kubota acted incompetently by firing off 16 rounds, but did not violate a use of force policy.
“It’s a win!” said a jubilant Julia Fox, Kubota’s attorney, who left the commission session with a smiling Kubota. Kubota said he will consider the job offer depending on what it is.
Supervisor Judy Arnold, learning of the commission decision, backed Doyle and called it a bad day for county government. “It’s not right,” she said of the commission action.
The panel, which had held a series of meetings on the matter to hear testimony behind closed doors, began deliberating for several hours Friday, took action behind closed doors, then met in public to announce the results.
The panel voted 3-2 to reinstate Kubota in an office job. Commissioners Janet McAllister, Lawrence Kaplan and Christopher Burdick were in the majority. Commissioners Andrew Marshall and Eileen Murray dissented. Burdick sat in as an alternate after Commissioner William Stephens, a former judge, recused himself.
The panel announced a series of other split votes on a variety of unexplained personnel rule and related issues, but did not say who voted which way or why. Most votes split 3-2 but one, apparently involving an assertion Kubota did not act competently, drew a 5-0 affirmation.
Doyle noted the commission voting as outlined Friday afternoon made no sense.
The panel indicated it will issue a formal written ruling within a month.
Kubota, a six-year veteran, was fired by Doyle following a July 7, 2013 incident in which Kubota fired 16 bullets at an ex-felon suspected of driving with a suspended license.
The Marin City motorist, Chaka Ali Grayson, 45, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the county, saying he suffered nerve damage and permanent injuries after he was hit by three bullets in the blaze of gunfire from Kubota.