California Family Traumatized by False Arrest


Kristy Hoenck, 36, was sleeping in her south Gilroy Spanish-style home on a quiet cul-de-sac when she heard her Ring doorbell alert going off and saw a video showing two shadows next to her cars in the driveway. She had just had surgery that day and was still dazed from anesthesia.
Her 72-year-old father was sleeping downstairs and she asked him to go outside and check it out. He came out with his antique gun, afraid they were being burgled, as they had been in April.
Before she could process what was happening there was a helicopter, SWAT teams, snipers with rifles, dogs, a Bearcat tank and officers in military style uniforms saying they were looking for her son.

Police told her they had positively identified her 21-year-old son as the suspect in a shooting and they said they found his wallet and cell phone at the scene of the crime. She was dumbfounded and terrified.
“We’re traumatized,” said Hoenck. “They took my 15-year-old daughter, who had been sleeping and handcuffed her on the ground with a gun pointed at her head. And we were cooperating. I told them to search my house, they didn’t need a warrant. I was doing everything I should do.”
She said they ransacked her house, turning over the couch, leaving a cardboard box in the garage touching a water heater and leaving scuff marks on the carpets and walls.
Gilroy Police have since said that her son was not involved in the crime. They arrested four other people at the house, and kept them handcuffed outside the police station. Her son was there for five hours, her daughter, three, and their high school friends for four to five hours.
The 21-year-old who isn’t being named because he committed no crime, had been celebrating his birthday at Ninja Sushi and the Garlic City Card Room, and he’d gotten home at 3 a.m. with two female friends and two male friends. They were parked on Monterey Street, near the house, and while they were getting out of the car, a man shined a flashlight on them.
The son, having seen police cars with lights and sirens go by, was afraid of the guy with the light and took off, leaving his cell phone and wallet in the car. He was heading to his grandmother’s but realized he also left his keys in the car. He walked around the streets, not knowing he was the subject of a search, but wary of the action.
The man with the flashlight turned out to be a retired sheriff’s deputy, who reported the boy as a suspect to Gilroy Police. That led them to the cul-de-sac.
Gilroy Police were investigating a 3 a.m. shooting at Hyde Park and Victoria drives, where a man who caught burglars breaking into his car was shot three times in the leg. Police arrested a juvenile at the scene, but the others with him fled.

When they got the call from the former officer, they thought they had their man.
“We’re investigating a shooting and people ran,” said Sgt. Jason Smith. “Why else is someone going to run? We did what was right. We looked at the facts and when the smoke cleared, we determined they were not involved.”
Before they knew it, the Hoenck family members, including their 15-year-old daughter, were plastered on TV by KSBW. The last five days have been a living hell, they said, with friends’ families afraid to let their kids come over, and golf partners canceling games with the son, a prolific golfer.
“It was the house we believed was involved,” said Sgt. Jason Smith. “We believed it was right.” Add to that the fact that the 21-year-old appeared for have run away, and that raised their suspicions.
“It’s unfortunate that an adult male, who was in the general vicinity of the incident, decided to run from police at the same time officers are conducting a shooting investigation,” Smith added. “Subsequent evidence and investigation proved otherwise and he was released. Officers have a duty to protect the public and we are still actively investigating this case.”
In an interview the son said he left even when he saw police around. “I panicked,” he said. “Why are cops looking for me?”
Was he partying?
“I don’t even drink. In the back of my mind, I was thinking, I’m a 21-year-old African American man. I get stopped all the time. They stopped me once because they thought I was too young to be driving,” he said.
The man was a 4.0 student at Christopher High School, a member of the golf club for four years who did 600 hours of community service in high school and is now an accounting major at San Jose City College.
“I’m embarrassed, I’m mortified,” said Hoenck, a hairdresser whose family has been in Gilroy for 100 years. “I felt like a police officer wouldn’t lie to you, they tell you the truth. I was raised to always respect police officers, to comply, to help. Now, I know the officer I spoke to lied to me. He said my son’s wallet and cell phone were found at the scene of the crime. I couldn’t fathom my son being in that situation. He’s always been a 4.0 student. He’s always held a job. When someone for the law tells you those things, I was mind boggled.

“Was all that necessary to a family that was compliant? I gave them the video of 24 hours of surveillance at my home. I was very cooperative,” he said.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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