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Police say Tasing of naked, alleged mentally ill man justified

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It was Super Bowl Sunday, and a naked man was spotted walking on Blackstone Avenue, north of Herndon. He was sitting naked at a bus stop and later complied with Fresno police without an incident. He was taken to Community Regional Medical Center for a mental evaluation.

Two days later on February 7, that same man encounters police under similar circumstance. He is naked. He is walking along the street, this time, near Fresno Street & Indianapolis Avenue. A video, initially posted on Facebook shows at least four Fresno police officers around him as he continued forward.

“He was walking as if nothing was wrong. Bare naked, no clothes whatsoever,” witnessed Irma Sigala. who lives in the area.

Police say the estimated 6’6”, 260-pound Buchnoff was making verbal threats. According to Deputy Chief Lydia Carrasco, officers ordered Buchnoff to stop after spotting him at Ashlan & Fresno. He continued walking, allegedly saying “he was going to make it rough” for them. He was not complying with repeated orders to stop and refused commands. “He appeared very angry. His fists were clenched. The officers were concerned that he was going to become combative because he was not complying with their orders to stop.” Then the officers deployed the Tasers seen in the video.

The video, shot by Yvonne Marie, shows 38-year old Scott Buchnoff falling forward as he is being Tased. Sources tell GV Wire that he has mental health issues and is a dependent of the county. Officials at the Fresno County Department Behavioral Health would not confirm, citing privacy issues.

Sigala tells GV Wire what she observed. “He was not threatening or nothing. He was just walking quickly. His hands were as if he were marching with his hands to the side.”

Cynthia Murphy, a girl who lives in the same home as Sigala, concurs that Buchnoff was just staying quiet, walking. “What came to my head was that he had mental issues or something,” Murphy says.

Buchnoff was transferred to CRMC and cited for resisting arrest. According to Steve Wright with the county District Attorney’s office, they have not received any criminal complaint from the police.

Carrasco says Buchnoff told officers he was hearing voices to take his clothes off. She said the deployment of the Taser is justified because officers feared for their safety. “The subject is a very large man. All of those things led to officers to deploy the Taser. The deployment of the Taser was withing policy.”

Sigala had mixed feelings about the Taser’s use. She didn’t want Buchnoff to be Tased, but felt police needed to do something to get him off the street.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email