County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000 title=
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)
22 Comments
Reads 4542

This story was originally published by the Santa Barbara Independent and is reproduced here in partnership with Edhat.


By Tyler Hayden of The Independent

The County of Santa Barbara reached a $850,000 settlement agreement with the family of 26-year-old Bryan Carreño, who was fatally shot by Sheriff’s deputies in 2017. Carreño at the time was suicidal and holding a knife when a group of five deputies cornered him ― and themselves ― on the small back patio of a La Cumbre–area home he’d broken into. The deputies fired a total of 27 shots, 20 of which struck Carreño.

Carreño’s family had filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office in federal court, arguing the deputies used excessive force to subdue Carreño when less-lethal means were available, including a K-9 unit at the scene. They also presented evidence that two of the deputies had firsthand knowledge of Carreño’s suicidal tendencies, as they’d been dispatched to his home twice in the year prior when he was threatening to kill himself. The department ought to have taken Carreño’s mental-health issues into greater consideration as they formulated their response, the lawsuit argued. Carreño’s father, a retired custody deputy with the Sheriff’s Office, had called 911 asking for help for his son.

According to internal county records ― obtained last year by the Independent as part of a public records request ― a Sheriff’s Office Shooting Board convened after the incident found “supervisors did not implement basic emergency incident management protocols” that night. It was also “unclear if a perimeter was established prior to making contact with the subject,” when all five deputies found themselves trapped with Carreño in a tight outdoor space that offered little means of maneuvering. “Provide training emphasizing in establishment of inner and outer perimeter,” the board recommended.

Despite these apparent tactical errors, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley found no fault with the deputies’ actions and ruled Carreño’s killing a justifiable homicide. In public statements, Sheriff Bill Brown also claimed that the shooting was “within Sheriff’s Office policy.”

Nevertheless, Brown told the paper this week, Carreño’s death was “a tragedy.” “Mr. Carreño,” Brown continued, “who suffered from mental illness and co-occurring substance misuse, threatened deputies with a large knife at the time of the shooting. The settlement, which was made for the benefit of Carreño’s minor daughter, and with no admission of guilt on the part of the Sheriff’s Office or Sheriff’s deputies, was a business decision made by the County and its insurance carrier. The Sheriff’s Office continues to extend its deepest sympathies to the Carreño family.”

The County of Santa Barbara has now paid nearly $9 million to settle multiple misconduct lawsuits filed against the Sheriff’s Office since 2010. Last March, it paid $950,000 to a man whose back was broken as he attempted to flee from deputies during a traffic stop. 

One active-duty deputy ― Jeremy Rogers ― has been involved in five fatal incidents, including a wrong-way collision and three shootings, that have so far cost taxpayers $5.5 million. The most recent of those shootings is now the subject of another wrongful-death lawsuit filed against the Sheriff’s Office by the family of 30-year-old Cameron Ely, who was shot 22 times at point-blank range by four deputies in 2019. 

Ely had allegedly stabbed his mother to death earlier in the evening but was unarmed and, according to the family’s complaint, posed no threat at the time he was killed outside their Hope Ranch home. They cite body camera audio recordings of the incident that don’t match statements given by the deputies, who told investigators Ely had yelled and lunged at them before they opened fire. Authorities claim the microphones worn by the deputies ― which captured clear audio immediately before and after the shooting ― failed to pick up that particular moment of the interaction.

The case remains in its early stages, and a hearing is scheduled for later this spring.

Login to add Comments

22 Comments

Show Comments
ZeroHawk Apr 16, 2021 10:20 AM
County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

Brown and Rogers both need to go and be brought up on charges. Brown is not good for SB. Look at the numbers. The Sheriff department under Brown has committed more murders in town than the bad guys have. Seriously. This isn't a joke. There is something very very wrong with that fact. Brown is a failed politician acting as a sheriff. The amount of money that has been paid out over the past 7 years is astronomical. There are more than 5 deaths under Brown in 7 years.

SBgal74 Apr 16, 2021 08:52 AM
County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

It’s shocking that Rodgers continues to be employed by the Sheriff’s Dept. Most officers go their entire careers without ever being involved in a single fatal shooting and now this POS has killed 3 by fire plus 2 by other means?? He has to go...

PitMix Apr 16, 2021 08:20 AM
County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

Unfortunately that is not true. Plenty of examples of private industry leaders that cost their companies $ and kept their jobs.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2012/05/12/oops-5-ceos-that-should-have-already-been-fired-cisco-ge-walmart-sears-microsoft/

doulie Apr 15, 2021 06:51 PM
County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

For whatever reason, right or wrong; coincidental or not, Deputy Rogers has a propensity to be involved in calls where people die. Rogers remains employed by the SO indicating there's no evidence of wrongdoing. But, based on this history I believe it would be in the agencies best interest if he stayed off the street for a couple years. When Rogers was hired he was not guaranteed any specific assignment. I heard a term today: "Dancing on the edge of a razor blade." I believe this is where the SO is positioned regarding Rogers future work related actions.

ChillinGrillin Apr 15, 2021 04:56 PM
County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

Brown needs to go. Other similar law enforcement agencies are light years ahead of SBSO with less funding and staffing. I'll never forget when he caught a panga boat right before his re-election. The deputies did a stake-out north of Goleta and caught one within 3 hours. Not only did he use public resources for his political gain, he knew drug smugglers were up there to find if he just did a little extra work. We have a pathetic old hack for sheriff.

MarcelK Apr 16, 2021 12:01 PM
County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

In this case, the crimes of manslaughter and use of excessive force have cost the county nearly $9 million. And how many videos do we need of police shooting and killing 13 year old boys with their hands in the air for folks to realize that there's a problem? Heck, even Pat Robertson has figured it out: https://twitter.com/wkamaubell/status/1382741800725536769

sacjon Apr 16, 2021 10:55 AM
County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

FERNALD - did I offend you by my question? You said, "crime pays," to which I asked "which criminal is getting paid here?" How is that "fighting and insulting?" You need to learn the difference between debate and insult. I debate with VOR and others quite passionately sometimes, but I make a concerted effort to avoid insults as it is petty.

"You need a new trick" - is that not an insult or picking a fight? Also, you planning on answering my simple question or just complaining that I'm "insulting" you?

ZeroHawk Apr 16, 2021 10:22 AM
County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

Fernald, SAC has done nothing wrong here aside of state his opinion. You are the one calling him out and starting up a war of lame words on edhat. So someone is fighting because they ask you a question? Oh boy I bet you're just fun to talk to in person too...

Kew Apr 15, 2021 01:29 PM
County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

County public employees with their fatcat salaries & pensions have given away $9 MILLION in taxpayer dollars in the past 10 years? And, all the while, nickle & diming County services to families, seniors and children. How do you justify that it is okay to do your job so poorly? Stop sticking your chest out like a proud rooster! You should be ashamed.

a-1618609695 Apr 16, 2021 02:48 PM
County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

They get away with it because no one is held personally accountable for their actions. In the private sector we are held accountable and, as a minimum, would lose our jobs for that kind of performance. But our elected "leaders" don't hold public employees accountable as long as the taxpayers can keep paying the bills.

hz Apr 15, 2021 11:19 AM
County Settles Bryan Carreño Wrongful Death Lawsuit for $850,000

so we have our own trigger happy chauvin cop..involved in five violent deaths! Something is wrong here and he needs to be let go! Now, immediately! these rogue, bully cops are costing us a huge amount of money. Time to stop protecting bad seeds....!

Please Login or Register to comment on this.