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Suspect shot by Ceres officer files claim against city
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A suspect who was shot by Ceres police earlier this year but survived has filed a claim for damages with the city.

Members of the Ceres City Council rejected the claim of Kennya Kwame Moseley of Ceres. He was shot May 29 this year after he led officers on a chase into Modesto and he reached for something in his waistband after bailing from his car. The shooting took place along Highway 99 north of Kansas Avenue.

The official police version of the incident was described this way: At 11:19 p.m., Ceres Police officers were on foot patrol in the 1900 block of Darrah Street. They saw a 1997 Dodge Stratus with no front plate driving down the street, then take off.

An additional Ceres officer, James Yandell, and trainee Joshua Klinge, who were finishing another call, responded for backup. The suspect vehicle was spotted driving southbound on Central Avenue. When a traffic stop near Ceres High School was attempted by Yandell, the suspect took off and was seen throwing an object out of the window.

Yandell engaged in a pursuit. Moseley drove onto northbound Highway 99, reaching speeds of 90 to 100 mph. Moseley crashed into a chain-link fence just north of Kansas Avenue. Officer Yandell tried to tackle Moseley, who was by then trying to jump over a chain-link fence, into custody. Yandell said Mosley was reaching for something in his waistband and that he stepped back to fire four rounds into him.

An investigation into the shooting conducted by both Modesto and Ceres police departments later proved that Mosley was not armed.

Mosley, who had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, recovered after surgery at a Modesto hospital.

Leaders from the Stanislaus County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) later condemned the shooting as racially motivated. Moseley is black.

Moseley's attorney, John L. Burris of Oakland, paints a different picture of what happened. He said Moseley was "visibly unarmed, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and jeans with no pouch or other means of concealing a weapon." He claims his client was shot in the back and "then shooting him several times while he was facing the officer with no weapon, was an unwarranted use of lethal force." Burris concludes that "no reasonable law enforcement officer in similar circumstances would have proceeded in that manner."

City Attorney Michael Lyions said it's his opinion that "the officers acted in the appropriate scope in the conduct of affairs."

"From what we know at this point, the officers used a degree of force that was justified under circumstances," said Lyions. "They obviously feel otherwise."

The City Council rejected Moseley's claim during its Dec. 10 meeting. Lyions had the claim added to the agenda on an emergency basis, saying that it needed to be acted upon within 45 days. The claim was received Nov. 27 and spent some time being processed by the city's self-inurance pool. It came back to City Hall after the agenda was prepared. Since the council has cancelled its Dec. 24 meeting, the council had to reject it on Dec. 10. Rejecting the claim is a formality that sets the clock ticking on the window to file a suit.

Moseley is seeking in excess of $25,000 for medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of earning capacity. Lyions said Moseley did not specify an actual dollar amount but said the California Government Code "makes it improper to claim a monetary amount" in excess of $25,000.

Mosley has six months to file a claim. He is represented by Oakland attorney John L. Burris.