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Ukiah police chief being investigated for assault claim unrelated to Carley suits

A salmon-covered building with a courtyard. The main sigs says "Ukiah Civic Center." Smaller signs indicate the presence of the Police Department.
Ukiah Civic Center and Police Station.

A woman has accused Ukiah police chief Noble Waidelich of assault. He's on administrative leave as the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office investigates the criminal matter. He is facing trial in civil court in Mendocino County for a domestic violence accusation.

June 15, 2022 — Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich is on paid administrative leave, pending the results of a criminal investigation into an alleged assault on a woman. Waidelich is facing a jury trial in September over accusations of domestic violence and financial abuse by his ex-girlfriend, Amanda Carley. Carley’s adult daughter Madisyn is also suing Waidelich for damages over what she says is harm she suffered by witnessing her mother’s abuse when she was a teenager. The Carleys are not involved in the most recent allegation, which is being investigated by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. Both of the Carleys’ suits are civil matters, which means they are not being prosecuted by the District Attorney.

Sheriff Matt Kendall said he received a call Monday afternoon regarding a report of an assault on a woman by Noble Waidelich. Kendall called the reporting party, who gave him enough information to make him believe that her claim needed to be investigated. The alleged assault was not in his jurisdiction, so he called the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, which took over. He added that outside agencies are often called in to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Kendall said he would have been notified immediately if Waidelich had been taken to the county jail.

Sergeant Juan Valencia, of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed that Kendall asked his department to take on the investigation, and that Waidelich spoke with investigators, but was not taken into custody. In a statement, he wrote that “Upon completion of the investigation, the case will be submitted to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office for review.” District Attorney David Eyster did not return a call requesting comment on the case.

The City of Ukiah issued a brief press release a little before 11:00 on Tuesday night, saying that Waidelich had been placed on administrative leave as of June 14, pending the ongoing criminal investigation; that no further information may be disclosed by the City at this time; and that the City is working to provide continuity of services.

But the Police Department is now without a chief. Ukiah Mayor Jim Brown said that typically, the next in command at the police department would take over as acting chief. City Manager Sage Sangiacomo confirmed that Crook, who is not in the office this week, has been appointed acting chief of the Ukiah Police Department. It’s not clear which of the lieutenants is in charge while he is gone, but Brown said the department is “not left to run amok,” and that he “feels confident the police department will run as efficiently as it ever has.”

Waidelich’s attorney, James King, did not return a request for comment, but Richard Freeman, who is representing Amanda and Madisyn Carley, agreed to a brief interview. He confirmed that the latest allegation does not involve either of the Carleys’ cases. “Those incidents took place a number of years ago, so there is nothing about the current investigation that relates to them,” he said. Amanda Carley’s case, which she filed in 2017, is against Noble Waidelich, the County of Mendocino, the probation department, where she worked as a probation officer, and her boss at the time, Albert Ganter. Madisyn Carley filed her case in December of last year, against Waidelich alone. Freeman said the question of whether the cases will be combined is “in a state of flux,” and that the question of whether or not Amanda Carley’s case will proceed to its trial date of September 26 “remains to be seen.” While Amanda Carley’s case has been winding its way through the system for years, “Madisyn Carley’s case, which does not involve the county, is in its very early stages.” As for the current allegation, he said that “ultimately, the court may need to make a determination as to whether any of it or parts of it would be admissible as relevant and material to the allegations of Amanda Carley, which date back several years…without the specifics, it is very hard to predict how that would be resolved.” Noting that the latest investigation is still considered an allegation, Freeman concluded that Waidelich “has an opportunity, as anybody suspected of criminal wrongdoing does, an opportunity to understand those charges, and to defend himself.”

In March, the City of Ukiah reached a settlement for over $300,000 including attorneys’ fees with Gerardo Magdaleno, a naked, mentally ill man who was beaten by police on April first of last year. And last month, the city paid a quarter of a million dollars to a woman who accused former officer Kevin Murray of sexual assault. The City also paid over a million dollars to settle with a man who claimed Murray beat him in 2018.