STOCKTON (CBS13) — A woman who was taken hostage in a Stockton bank robbery and police chase has now filed an injury claim against the city and its police force.
Bank of the West manager Kelly Huber walks with a cane six months after she was taken hostage and shot during the botched robbery. Her attorney, Michael Dyer, said she's had a gun pointed at her face four or five times by robbers, but this time she blames the police for putting her in the most dangerous situation in her life.
Dyer said he and Huber believe the police forced the robbers to take hostages.
"They would've left without Kelly, without anyone else, had the police not confronted them," said Dyer. "They had robbed the place before and at the end of the thing they said 'We need car keys, give us car keys."
Dyer said the robbers first pulled Huber outside to have her show them her SUV. A police officer blocked the exit and drew his gun. The robbers then dragged Huber back inside and made the decision to take hostages.
The complaint lists several things the police did wrong, according to Dyer.
1. Confronting the robbers before they disengaged with the claimant and the other victims.
2. Confronting the robbers without a plan for containment or communication.
3. Failing to communicate with the bank security which had video cameras.
4. The police caused a chase to ensue with gunfire.
5. police put complainant in a more dangerous position.
"The bank has video cameras active at all times that they can share with police and they had at least five or six cameras," Huber said the police had access to real-time surveillance at the bank.
During the chase, Huber was forced to drive her SUV with the three gunmen and two hostages inside. At Hammer Lane and Lower Sacramento Road, Dyer said the SUV hit a bump and suspect Jaime Ramos's gun went off, accidentally shooting Huber.
"And he immediately said, 'Sorry, sorry," Huber said of Ramos. "The bullet went through her right leg, her upper leg, and exited down by her knee and went into her left leg and broke some bones close to her ankle of the left leg."
Injured, Huber could no longer drive the get-away car.
"They told her to open the door and get out," said Dyer.
Despite her experience, Dyer said Huber does not blame the bank and wants to return to work.
"They [Bank of the West] bought her a brand new car with all the bells and whistles on it to replace the old one and just helped her and encouraged her to recover well," said Dyer.
Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones has previously said on-camera that his officers reacted according to the constantly changing actions of unpredictable suspects.
The Stockton Police Department and Mayor Anthony Silva said they have not seen the complaint and cannot comment on it.
The attorney for the family of Misty Holt-Singh, the hostage killed during a shootout at the end of the pursuit, released this statement on Monday:
The Singh family is aware that a Governmental Tort Claim has been served on the City of Stockton by Bank of the West branch manager Kelly Huber for injuries she sustained in the events of July 16, 2014. The information discovered about the tragedy of that day only confirms that City of Stockton Police officers violated numerous standard police protocols in their response. Their actions resulted in the tragic death of Misty Holt-Singh, a beloved wife and mother of two.
On July 16, 2014, 34 Stockton Police Officers fired over 600 bullets at a disabled vehicle with full knowledge that Misty was inside. She was struck at least ten times, instantly causing her death. Of the bullets that struck Misty, every single one was fired by a member of the Stockton Police.
In an effort to fully investigate this matter, and with the hope that the City would admit its mistakes and accept responsibility for its actions, our office has communicated with the City and reached an agreement extending the time for the Singh family to file a Tort Claim until April 16, 2015. Unfortunately, the City has refused to accept responsibility for its actions, forcing the Singhs' hand – they too must file a Tort Claim. The Singh family mourns with Ms. Huber and will have no further comment until the filing of the Tort Claim on their behalf.
Gregory L. Bentley
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