May 9, 2019

Action Alert:
Call for Charges Against Officers who Fired 76 Times at Substance Abuser

On July 21, 2018, Anaheim police officers Sean Staymates and Kevin Pedersen responded to a 911 call about a man who was “hallucinating,” under the influence of an unknown drug, and possibly armed. That man was 50-year-old Eliuth Penaloza Nava, who lived with his parents. The call came in from Nava’s brother, who was concerned about his mental state.

When Staymates and Pedersen arrived, Nava was sitting in a parked truck outside his parents’ home. He then started up his truck and began to pull away. Officer Pedersen made a decision to block Nava’s truck “so he would be unable to flee or do anything dangerous.” This escalated the situation. Nava made a U-turn and fled the scene. When officers gave chase, Nava began to wave an Airsoft BB handgun and point it at them. Staymates and Pedersen mistook it for a real handgun.

Nava never fired a single round at the officers, but by the time the chase was over, Staymates and Pedersen had fired 76 rounds (!) from a handgun and rifle at Nava, killing him and endangering an untold number of additional civilians in a residential area.

Pedersen, a probationary officer, has been fired by the Anaheim Police Department. Staymates will face “department discipline.” But neither officer is being charged with any crime at this point.

Please contact Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer through one of the channels below with the following message (personalized to your liking):

I was outraged to learn that charges have not been brought against officers Sean Staymates and Kevin Pedersen for the murder of Eliuth Penaloza Nava on July 21, 2018. This was an absolutely savage response to a man under the influence of narcotics who was experiencing mental health issues. The 76 rounds(!) fired by officers Staymates and Pedersen during the reckless car chase they precipitated not only killed Nava, but also threatened the life of every other civilian in the vicinity (a residential area). This CANNOT be the standard for how the Anaheim Police Department deals with substance abuse and mental health issues in the field. You helped a vulnerable man commit suicide. This community demands better from the Anaheim PD, and from you. Bring criminal charges against officers Staymates and Pedersen for the murder of Eliuth Penaloza Nava. Nothing less is acceptable after this travesty of justice. I will be watching your actions closely and organizing politically as necessary. 

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer
Phone: (714) 834-3600

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