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Sister of jailed man challenges District Attorney’s office in formal complaint

Friday, March 21st, 2014
Issue 12, Volume 18.
Alex Groves
Staff Writer
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The sister of a man convicted of attempting to murder a peace officer has made a head-on challenge to the individuals who put her brother away by questioning their decision to press charges and by saying they planted evidence against him.

Jennifer Ryan, an Arizona resident, said police officers were in the wrong when they fired shots at her 59-year-old brother David Hanley. She said her brother wasn’t armed and officers weren’t in the right to be on his property because they didn’t have probable cause.

David Hanley was arrested on Monday, April 23, 2012. Initial reports from that time period indicate that police discovered Hanley behind his trailer with a gun in hand as they responded to reports of shots fired in the area.

Rather than give up his gun when asked by officers, Hanley allegedly pointed the gun at the officers in a menacing way and so the officers proceeded to open fire.

But Ryan remains unconvinced. She pointed to deputy testimony from the time of Hanley’s trial in an attempt to paint a different picture of what happened.

The fact that one of the deputies, Michael Yarbrough, attempted to open the door of Hanley’s mobile home could lend itself to the idea that Hanley was merely trying to defend himself because he feared someone was invading his home, she said.

The Arizona resident and misconduct analyst also believes that evidence was planted after the fact. She said she believed that the placement and type of shell casings along the ground could not have come from Hanley’s gun.

Specifically she noted that there was disparity between the type of bullets which varied between 30/30 and 32, the latter of which has a higher velocity and is somewhat larger.

Ryan has detailed her case and provided evidence on why she thinks her brother is innocent of any crimes while also trying to prove that sheriff’s deputies and members of the District Attorney’s office acted outside of their purview. She’s compiled points that she considers to be important on a website called

Recently, in early March, Ryan took her quest to prove her brother’s innocence one step further by writing a formal complaint to the Department of Justice in which she accused the District Attorney’s office of prosecutorial misconduct, the Sheriff’s Department of police misconduct, and the judge in the case of judicial misconduct while saying that Riverside County and The State of California had violated her brother’s civil


For Ryan, the primary crux of the issue comes down to whether or not police had a right to be on Hanley’s property in the first place. She said arriving deputies went to Hanley’s home in error on the word of a bad tip and made no effort to determine whether they were doing the right thing.

"This all comes down to the fact that they took an informant’s information, did not check it out, and proceeded without any warrants or probable cause and shot the wrong person," she said. "And they have done everything they can to try to cover this up (and did so) very poorly because they thought he was an old man without any family because he lived in an RV behind someone’s house."

John Hall, a public information specialist for the DA’s office, said sheriff’s deputies had every right to be on the 59-year-old man’s property and they acted in accordance with what law dictated.

"We disagree," said Hall. "The exigent circumstances of the situation warranted the immediate action that was taken. No motion to suppress evidence was made by the defense based on that safety-oriented action."

Hall declined to comment as to whether or not evidence was planted at the scene of the shoot-out, saying the District Attorney’s office wasn’t familiar with Ryan’s claim.

Meanwhile Ryan continues to work to clear her brother’s name. She said she doesn’t want people to think her relation to Hanley is what’s propelling her to come to his aid.

"And I am his sister and nobody wants to believe the sister because they think it’s done with emotions, with fabrication of what they read," she said. "And so I have fought with people because I am a police misconduct analyst and if he was not my brother he would not be sitting in




Comment Profile ImageDane
Comment #1 | Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 5:34 pm
This is a strange case. It would not be the first time a police mistake was made. A case for a subsequent cover up to mitigate a large damage claim may not be that far fetched. He should have had cameras on his property because this is typically the only way to provide credible supporting evidence. The courts will never take a citizens word over an officer.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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