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Waidelich fired

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.

Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich was fired Friday afternoon. Noble faces criminal as well as civil charges in separate matters.

June 17, 2022 — Noble Waidelich has been fired from his position as Ukiah Police Chief, effective Friday. He was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday, after city management learned that he was the subject of a criminal investigation into an allegation of an assault on a woman. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the charge.

The press release from Friday afternoon quotes City Manager Sage Sangiacomo saying that “Waidelich was also in violation of police department policy separate and apart from the accusation and ongoing investigation of criminal conduct. He was placed on administrative leave within hours of learning of this incident. His weapons, vehicle, and badge were taken away at that time. Within three days, he has been notified of his termination from City employment.”

Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley said the city was not able to answer questions about how much Waidelich was paid while on leave, or if he received a severance package. City staff would not discuss any details of the termination.

The timeline has been swift. On Monday afternoon, Sheriff Matt Kendall notified the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office of the matter, and asked them to take on the investigation. Juan Valencia, of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, said the results would be turned over to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s office for review. Valencia said investigators interviewed Waidelich, but he was not taken into custody. Sonoma County declined to release the crime report and any related information, citing a continuing investigation.

Waidelich is also facing a jury trial in a civil charge of domestic violence. Back in 2016, Waidelich’s ex-girlfriend Amanda Carley, who was an adult probation officer with the county at the time, was summoned to an interview with a sheriff’s investigator concerning a report her teenaged daughter had made to her school counselor about Waidelich abusing her mother. Amanda Carley hedged during that interview, then came back a few months later, told the investigator she had not been truthful, and said that Waidelich had been abusing her. Eyster placed her on the Brady list, a roster of dishonest cops whose testimony is useless in the prosecution of criminal suspects.

Longtime reporter and former DA spokesman Mike Geniella characterized Eyster’s decision to place Carley on the list as ‘draconian.’ He thinks Eyster should recuse himself, and hopes someone else will get to the bottom of the most recent charge.

The original 15-count complaint that Amanda Carley filed five years ago is against Waidelich, the county, and the probation department. Her attorney, Richard Freeman, spoke with kzyx on Friday afternoon, saying his client intends to pursue both parts of the case, against Waidelich and the county. Waidelich is being sued personally in this matter.

But there’s more history to violence within the Ukiah Police Department than the one case with Amanda Carley.

In recent months, the city has paid out more than a million and a half dollars to settle with three different people claiming to have been assaulted by members of the Ukiah police force.

Forrmer Officer Kevin Murray, who is facing trial next month, was accused of sexually assaulting an unnamed woman, whose settlement came out to a quarter of a million dollars. Christopher Rasku, a disabled veteran, settled for a little over a million for a 2018 assault in which he says Murray broke into his home, beat him, and falsified the report about it. Gerardo Magdaleno and his attorney received $300,000 for a sustained beating that Magdaleno received in a parking lot on the south end of town at the hands of four police officers. Waidelich spoke with kzyx in March, after that settlement, saying the idea of a police oversight body “doesn’t necessarily scare me…because, along the lines of our equity and diversity committee, if we can demonstrate to those people the work that we’re doing and the value in it, that only goes to my aid in terms of credibility in the community.”

“This is the man who’s going to straighten things out at the Ukiah Police Department,” Geniella said. “And here we are.”