by Dave Waddell
posted Aug. 25
In disturbing detail, a woman who is herself a law enforcement officer alleges 13 months of domestic abuse from Gridley policeman Devin Pasley, according to court records.
The woman, who was pregnant with Pasley’s son for much of that time, claims she was restrained in a variety of police holds, including the “twist-lock,” “c-clamp” and “carotid control position,” among numerous other abusive actions.
Butte County Superior Court records show Pasley’s trial date is set for November on felony charges of domestic violence and animal cruelty. Court records detail 15 alleged incidents from April 2021 into May 2022 involving Pasley, who has been on paid administrative leave since his arrest last year.
The animal cruelty charge stems from allegations that Pasley choked, kicked, and in many other ways abused “Weenie Dog,” the woman’s dachshund. Pasley was alleged to have repeatedly threatened to kill the dog.
Pasley’s on-duty conduct also drew scorn and scrutiny well before his felonies arrest, including from:
–A Gridley businesswoman who claims her bar was “stalked” by Pasley.
–A Northern California “cop watch” videographer who filmed Pasley shoving him behind Gridley PD.
–A plaintiff in an excessive force lawsuit against Pasley that cost the City of Gridley $175,000 in a settlement.
–A top expert on police practices who panned Pasley’s overly aggressive actions just prior to a wild shooting by another Gridley officer.
Gridley Police Chief Rodney Harr said Pasley has been on paid leave since his arrest on May 24, 2022. In 2021, Gridley paid Pasley about $90,000 and spent another $30,000 to fund his health and retirement benefits, according to the Transparent California website.
Sophia Parsons, a Chico Police Department investigator, made a declaration to Superior Court in support of a motion by police to take away Pasley’s weapons. The motion was granted, and confiscated from his Chico residence were a shotgun, an assault rifle, three semi-automatic handguns, a revolver and brass knuckles.
Pasley’s Sacramento attorney, Ryan Friedman, did not respond to a request for comment on allegations contained in court documents.
Three weeks before Pasley’s arrest, Detective Parsons interviewed the alleged victim’s brother, who “suspected abuse from the day he met” Pasley, says Parsons’s declaration.
“While Victim and Respondent [Pasley] were visiting her family in Idaho, Victim’s brother invited them to his house. During this visit, Respondent removed his carry gun from his person to show Victim’s brother. Victim’s brother described the gun as a .38 special revolver. Respondent mentioned that he could not wait to use it and wanted to shove it down someone’s throat and pull the trigger until the chambers were empty. Victim’s brother was taken aback by Respondent’s comment and believed Respondent was not right in the head.”
Court records show a chronology of incidents of alleged abuse. The woman identified as the victim wrote a description of each incident in the “notes” section of her cell phone soon after it occurred. She also disclosed the alleged abuse along the way to several people who recalled her telling the same story she later told police.
“I asked the Victim why she began documenting the incidents of abuse in the first place,” wrote Parsons. “The Victim stated that after she learned she was pregnant, Respondent would regularly make remarks and threaten to take custody of the (unborn) child.”
The first of the alleged incidents occurred during the couple’s visit to Idaho to tell her parents about the pregnancy. On April 27, 2021, the woman claims, Pasley “slammed her head against the shower wall and … put the blade of his forearm to the Victim’s face and used that to pin her against the shower wall for approximately 30 seconds.”
The next day, Parsons’s report says, the couple was fighting when he began calling her insulting names. She reacted by pouring his half-empty beer on him. “Respondent picked Victim up and ‘slammed’ her onto the ground. The Victim’s right leg hit the ice chest, causing a large bruise which she later photographed. Respondent got on top of Victim and placed his left knee on her neck and head. The Victim said her head was pinned down. Respondent grabbed another beer, opened it, and poured the entire beer on Victim’s face,” says the detective’s report.
On July 15, 2021, when the woman was four months pregnant, she alleges Pasley first choked Weenie Dog and then her in a carotid control position. Later, she claims Pasley told her to “say two sweet things or he would break her arm,” says Parsons’s report. After she refused, “Respondent put her into another twist-lock and forced Victim onto her stomach on the couch. Respondent (lay) on top of Victim while she was face down … and began pinching (and) pulling her fingers and toes. Respondent then placed Victim into another choke hold, and she could not breathe.”
The last of the 15 alleged abusive incidents occurred on May 23, 2022, after the woman refused Pasley’s request for a kiss. “Respondent grabbed Victim and took her to the ground … Respondent pinned Victim’s … hands … above her head (and) shoved his right knee in Victim’s chest/sternum … Respondent then shoved his left knee into her inner right arm/bicep and Victim screamed … Respondent laughed (and) then gave Victim a kiss and got off her.”
After their son was born, the woman claimed Pasley threatened to throw things at her while she was holding the baby, including on one occasion a fully loaded handgun magazine. He also attempted to drill holes into a box containing the ashes of the woman’s deceased horse, according to Parsons’s declaration.
There were multiple public concerns about Pasley’s policing before his arrest.
Businesswoman Barbara Caramba-Coker said recently that Pasley “stalked” her bar, the Bungalow Bar, to the point that a private Facebook page was used to track his whereabouts.
Caramba-Coker said Pasley, at night, would hide in the dark on a side street and then tail her departing customers. He also at times parked outside the Bungalow during the day, driving away business and making customers at the bar wary of leaving.
Caramba-Coker said Chief Harr backed Pasley when she complained. However, Pasley’s parking outside her business didn’t set well with City Manager Cliff Wagner, who, she said, called it “intimidation” and had it stopped.
Additionally, shortly before his arrest, Pasley’s aggressive actions became the focus of a “cop watch” video focusing on Gridley PD that has been viewed more than 290,000 times on YouTube.
In the video, produced by Bay Area Transparency, Pasley becomes agitated and pushes the videographer multiple times. Pasley’s actions prompted Sgt. Todd Farr to order him into the stationhouse.
Pasley also was a defendant in a lawsuit stemming from a 2021 encounter with Michael Libby that resulted in Gridley paying out $175,000 to settle. In his complaint, Libby alleged that Pasley “used excessive force, including … intentionally twisting and breaking (Libby’s) previously injured left arm, after receiving warnings about the preexisting injury.” Libby also alleged that Pasley’s actions resulted from Gridley PD’s “culture permitting or encouraging personnel’s use of unreasonable and excessive force.”
In 2019, shortly after Pasley joined Gridley PD, he was, according to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, being “trained” by officer Anthony Lara when Lara fired six times at an unarmed, fleeing teenage driver while the teen’s girlfriend screamed from the backseat. The incident resulted in Gridley paying a $150,000 settlement to 19-year-old Marco Anthony Garcia-Padilla, who was wounded by one bullet and never charged with any crime.
Just before the shooting, Lara and Pasley both charged the teen’s vehicle after a high-speed pursuit, with Pasley shouting: “Show me your fucking hands! I’m going to fucking shoot you! Show me your fucking hands!”
Pasley’s body-worn camera video (shooter Lara never turned his camera on) was obtained under a Public Records Act request. In the video initially provided to this reporter by Harr, the girlfriend’s screaming and Pasley’s yelling were silenced. After that sound redaction was challenged as unlawful, the Police Department unmuted the video.
“Whoa!” responded police expert Seth Stoughton, an ex-cop and law professor at the University of South Carolina, after viewing Pasley’s camera video. “That video raises some red flags. Tactically, officers definitely shouldn’t run up to a vehicle after a pursuit like that.”
Dave Waddell is a contributing writer to ChicoSol.