City council to discuss Kyle Zoellner's claim against City of Arcata


ARCATA, Calif. - Kyle Zoellner, the man accused of killing a Humboldt State University student last April before the charges against him were dropped, has filed a claim against the City of Arcata. According to the city's agenda, the council will be discussing Zoellner's claims during their meeting on Wednesday.

On April 15, 19-year-old HSU student David Josiah Lawson was stabbed to death outside a party on Spear Avenue in Arcata. Zoellner was arrested as the primary suspect, but a Humboldt County judge cited lack of evidence as the reason for dismissing the charges against him.

Almost seven months after the stabbing, Zoellner has officially filed a claim for damages against the City of Arcata.

"I was physically assaulted and brutally beaten unconscious," part of Zoellner's claim said.

Where the form prompts a "general description of the indebtedness, obligation, injury, damage," Zoellner's response was a list of bullet-points. The list included "lost wages, medical bills, loss of personal property, defamation of character, pain and suffering and emotional distress.

Zoellner also described the "date, place and other circumstances of the occurrence or transaction which gave rise to the claim asserted," a section of the claim form. His response read:

I was physically assaulted and brutally beaten unconscious at 1120 Spear Avenue, Arcata, CA, on the morning of April 15, 2017 by multiple assailants. I was taken to a police car by Officer Nielsen of the Arcata Police Department (APD) and detained at the above location for an extended amount of time without receiving any medical attention of being taken to a hospital for my injuries. I was still in a semiconscious state due to my injuries during the interrogation with APD. I was arrested without probable cause and transported to the Humboldt County Jail for booking. I claim the Arcata Police Department (APD) filed a false police report with the Humboldt County District Attorney's office. I am claiming malicious prosecution and wrongful imprisonment by APD. I am claiming the search of my home and vehicle and the seizure of my personal property following my arrest was illegal. Also, I claim APD failed to submit a supplemental police report to the Humboldt County District Attorney for the above-mentioned assault when requested. I am claiming defamation of character by employees of the City of Arcata, specifically the City Manager, City Council members, and the Arcata Police Department by means of pblic statements and press releases.

He listed the following names of public employees who caused the "injury, damage or loss:" Karen Diemer, Susan Ornelas, Sophia Pereira, Paul Pitino, Bret Watson, Michael Winkler, Tom Chapman, Todd Dockweiler, Eric Losey, Devin Nielsen, Krystle Arminio and Bart Silvers.

Zoellner also included his need for medical treatment to the claim, for which he provided information about St. Joseph Hospital and the McKinleyville Community Health Center.