• Superior Court and SFPD label felons “hecklers”

    Whoever thought up the latest deus ex machina for saving the SFPD – with less than a month before the start of Kathy Yount, Individually And In Her Capacity As v. City And County Of San Francisco Et Al – must have been severely affected by the record hot temperatures in the city last week.

    Never mind that a parallel waste of time and money was going on simultaneously with a legal services agency summarily passing out thank-you bonus checks here in Missouri to various folks in exchange for my subpoenaed records. And never mind that the city lawyers’ pockets are so flush and deep that they can afford to hire outside help for subpoena collection from independent agencies such as West Coast Legal Services in San Jose.

    And never, never ever forget that this lawsuit will most certainly not be about police accountability if the city lawyers for San Francisco can help it.

    It will be about me.

    Apparently, the victim’s mother must be rigorously investigated. I am the San Francisco city lawyers’ official red herring, the ultimate distraction being dragged through a nasty litigation process. I am the poster mom cover-up to glaze over what 24 San Francisco police officers did – and did not do – when they enthusiastically emceed the suicide baiting entertainment death of my only child, Dylan Gifford Yount, in Hallidie Plaza, San Francisco, on February 16, 2010, without ever lifting so much as one finger to stop the ongoing felony.

    The superfluous investigation of me is further harassment, confirmed so far by my psychologist, funeral director, one-time business partner, and current school superintendent, all indicating what records regarding me had been subpoenaed during these last two weeks.

    Believing that a likely settlement procedure was underfoot, I was quite hopeful and prepared to turn down any settlement offer – publicly and vigorously. After all, our trial was still set to begin August 25, 2014, and the last thing I knew was that the Et Al group had requested a jury trial the same as we had.

    Yet while I was receiving phone calls or being sent copies of what people had furnished as subpoena requests, the settlement offer was abruptly yanked off the radar.

    Naturally, all this subpoenaed information – particularly my 38-year teaching personnel file and my psychologist’s notes from the 117 visits she and I had shared – became the property of the San Francisco city lawyers anyway. And naturally, those files will, in turn, probably be used to distract us from what we hope to accomplish when we finally get to trial.

    That’s right. You read the sentence correctly. After learning that CGC 13 533102 had been dismissed, I wallowed in a two-day pity party at first, trying to summon all the encouragement from others:  “They plan on your giving up, running out of money, or dying. Don’t give in to the. . .”

    I am 66. Go figure. Yet I am still signing the checks and my soul is more important than my pocketbook (cue MY attorneys, wishing THAT were not the case). I have already experienced the worst day of my life. I relive it everyday. What could be worse? Why would I quit now? What are they going to do – sue me?

    This newest dismissal will bump our case from San Francisco Superior Court to the First District Court of Appeals, an appellate process that will take twelve to eighteen months if everything goes well. This new legal limbo is as effective as locking me into an illegal police chokehold, but I am far from being finished as Dylan’s mother.

    Even as I prepare for this new challenge, the four arguments still disgust me. The first three argue we are dismissed because the SFPD did not “create a special relationship” with Dylan, “did not encourage him to jump,” and “did not owe a duty to arrest the hecklers” BECAUSE “the defendant was focused on Mr. Yount and securing the scene“! (Sorry, these are my caps, italics, and exclamation mark, the only way I can possibly read that remark).

    The fourth dismissal argument says the plaintiff “speculates that Mr. Yount heard defendant and the hecklers that encouraged Mr. Yount to jump,” and adds a flourish I could never have invented in ten long bazillion years – “While Officer Perez called Mr. Yount a fool,” he had – after all – “told him to go back inside.” Oh, wow.

    I will respond briefly until I know more. I have not published anything since April because I thought that would be unseemly since we had been awarded what we wanted – a trial.

    First, Officer Cezar Perez did actually create a special relationship with Dylan, the last one my son would experience as an earthly being. As a uniformed authority figure, Officer Perez was a functioning police presence who did, indeed, loudly (his words) engage in contact with my son Dylan, denigrating him publicly and grandstanding cockily to the obvious delight of many in the frenzied and/or horrified crowd. Officer Perez’s lack of training in crisis intervention and his ignorance of de-escalation techniques cost my son his life.

    Second, many other SFPD officers did actually encourage – both overtly and subliminally – Dylan to jump to his death. Everyone standing in Hallidie Plaza recognized at some point that the SFPD had no intention of stopping the crowd’s baiting or of enforcing the law, at least those who actually knew there was such a law (CA Penal Code 401).

    The SFPD did exacerbate the danger to Dylan and did escalate crowd violence either from incompetence or a refusal to control or discipline anyone who was breaking the law. Many SFPD officers continued to agitate the crowd within their nearby range with inappropriate remarks and laughter. SFPD officers instigated more aggressive crowd violence with loud comments such as “He’s not going to jump! He’s high!” or “Come on! You’re wasting our time!”

    The SFPD did outline a jump zone for a man with a disordered brain. This overt action also spoke subliminally as the yellow outlined square reserved as the place for the victim’s death. The police taped-off zone symbolized what the weak man should do. The SFPD waited like grinning jackals at a picnic. The movie files show this. The witnesses’ written documentation confirms this.

    By now, I know I should be so accustomed to reading between the lines of testifying, the portmanteau of testify and lying – the common vernacular describing police falsification – that I should not be shocked by the oldest trick in language manipulation, Shakespeare’s observation that a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. Even so, argument three is quite offensive.

    Whoever decided to call felons “hecklers” might find this statement come back to bite him in the butt. The SFPD “did not owe a duty to arrest the hecklers”? Say what? If a felon is called a heckler, does that erase his crime? Would the SFPD not owe a duty to arrest felons? If 24 SFPD officers had watched a rape, would they owe a duty to arrest those felons or can they just exonerate them by calling them “hecklers”? Suicide baiting is a raw assault, an exploitation of a person in mental distress. Someone who yells, “JUMP!” is more than a “heckler.”

    Equally ludicrous is the excuse that the SFPD could not make any arrests because “the defendant was focused on Mr. Yount and securing the scene.” How long will we have to wait to hear the answer to this question:  How many of the 24 were focused on Dylan and how many on securing the scene? The defendant should have to defend itself! No one should ever be above accountability.

    The final lame argument – whether Dylan did or did not hear Officer Perez and the “hecklers” screaming at him to kill himself reminds me once again that the police and the court cannot have it both ways.

    Our first visit to Hallidie Plaza as a grieving family after Dylan’s death did not come until October, 2011. At that time, it was quite clear to us – as the movie files had already demonstrated, as the hundreds of comments and letters to me had established – that Dylan would have heard everything. One cannot claim on one hand that he had been unable to hear all this and on the other allege that he had not responded to Officer Perez’s old school command-and-control training, clearly a failure in interactions with the psychologically distressed.

    Those who love me will be happy to hear that after my two-day pity binge, I began to feel a strange sense of peacefulness that is with me still. I feel sorry that there are those who would refuse to acknowledge the unalloyed truth even if it slapped them in the face and I am glad I am not a city lawyer.

    Like most everyone, I still experience epiphanies from time to time, even though I have lost my greatest reason for living. I will always hate what happened to Dylan and thus to me, but I have learned much. While traditional viewers regard the suicidal as quitters, others of us understand how they come to regard death. For the suicidal, it is the end of personal pain. They regard death not so much as giving up as realizing when they have had enough. Dylan was the epitome of the desperate and impulsive suicidal.

    I, myself, have not had enough. I still have miles to go before I sleep.

      • Madgew

      • July 28, 2014 at 9:37 am
      • Reply

      So sorry this is postponed again. I know the waiting will serve you well in developing more ways to make case stick. Holding you in the light. You are doing the right thing.

      • I wish I knew how to make it “stick” as you so aptly say, Madgew, and bless you for telling me I am doing the right thing. I know that, but it helps to HEAR it!

    • Kathie, so sorry. So glad for the gift of peacefulness may it last and may the change and the waiting time serve you and your lawyers well. Justice comes because the people who fight for it don’t quit. BLessings!

      • Thanks, ahuntca. I am hoping the peacefulness lasts as well. I was hoping for some kind of life “after” or post-lawsuit, but maybe there will not be anything BUT this fight for the rest of my life. Thanks for the blessings.

    • With your encouragement as a catalyst, I am “just today–just now” finally on board (FB). Nothing worth having comes easily and no one knows this better than you. Although we can do very little to assist you in your daily battle, it is important for you to know “you are NOT alone”. We have loved Dylan and you as our own blood family and are willing to stand with you “at the battlefront or in the line of fire”. You knew they would try to make this about YOU. Keep an original argument in mind — “The SFPD are charged with the task of ‘protecting and serving’. By failing one citizen they failed all citizens”. THEY are the ones having committed and being charged with, first but not foremost, “failure to do their job”. As you know, “the best defense is a strong offense”. They can attack you all they want, but at the end of the day THEY are the ones who committed a felony — NOT YOU!!! Originally you wanted only information and you got no response. After many of your pleadings and requests they could have given information and even a little sympathy. But, again — no response. Now, after over 4yrs, someone should be held accountable for not only the actions of those responsible parties on that fateful day, but as importantly the in-actions of many of those same parties. We are here watching and waiting for our cue. Continue to stand strong–HUGS TO YOU!

      • Thanks for the support. It is harder for ordinary people to demand police accountability than most people will ever know, but I will pursue this fight as far as I can. Deciding to take this lawsuit on to the First District Court of Appeals is intimidating, expensive, and TIME consuming, but it has given me a small measure of peace to be able to do this in Dylan’s memory. He loved you and your family. He would have been grateful for this support.

    • Hugs to you, Kathie. It is such a disappointment( understatement) for the case to be delayed again. They don’t know who they are messing with. I am with you. We are with you. Stand strong.
      What can they possibly find in your dark past of teaching,writing ,&researching this case?
      Maybe you need to let them take a statement from Moses,your cat ,on your comings & goings & the status of cat treats in your household.
      Investigate YOU? How dare they! Some slick slime of a lawyer & SF think they’ll out last you. They need to think again!

      • Thank you, lidine, for your unwavering support and enthusiasm! I wish I could be the warrior you think I am! I really do not care what information is gathered about me, for this case is about what the police did or did not do. If they were gathering information about me in order to arrive at a financial number for a settlement offer, this might be a requirement. At any rate, our trial is not about me or what happened to me or what is wrong with me. The trial is really not even about Dylan. It is about how our police as first responders are going to interact with the suicidal, the folks in psychological distress, the pariahs on their ledges, desperate and alone. Dylan suffered a medical emergency without any assistance OR basic human compassion. If everyone’s heart were as big as yours, there would never be suicide baitings and lawsuits to force the police to help. You are a joy to know, a person I really admire!

    • Readers, if you have not supported our Suicide Baiting Prevention page on Facebook, we would appreciate your clicking on our “like” button to help us extend awareness and advocate for better training for our first responders interacting with potential jumpers. You can google our name or find us at https://www.facebook.com/SuicideBaitingCrowdPrevention?ref=ts

      • Alexandra Fiona Dixon

      • September 11, 2014 at 3:59 am
      • Reply

      Dear Mrs. Yount. I live in San Francisco and just heard about your son’s death. I am sickened and appalled at what happened. If there’s anything I can do to help … please let me know.

      • How kind of you, Alexandra, to take the time to write to me. I am never amazed, in the least bit, by how the terrible story of Dylan’s death continues to widen and expand, yet I will probably always be touched by the number of remarkably good people in the world willing to offer condolences! Thank you. The story of Dylan’s suicide baiting death continues to shift focus from those culpable in his death that day TO those who wish to cover it up NOW (city attorneys). It is what we do — legally — about what happened to him that will define us as a society. The 4.7 years have raised the bar for accountability.

      • Natali

      • June 4, 2015 at 10:01 am
      • Reply

      I am so proud of you! You are an amazing example of a phenomenal mother. Please feel free to check out jw.org for some encouraging articles that kept me going when I lost my loved one. Losing a child is he worst pain but please know that this pain is temporary and you have a lot of people who love you very much! This world is not governed by a fair and humane spirit. Please feel free to contact me anytime to talk. Much love and support headed your way!

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