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Bullard Student's Attorney 'Troubled' by Questioning of Client



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Did police act appropriately when questioning a Bullard High School student involved in a physical altercation with a Fresno Unified school board member?
The student’s attorney says no, but acting Fresno police chief Patrick Farmer says the department followed proper procedure.

“They interviewed (my client) twice without notifying the family first, which I am deeply troubled by.”— Attorney Roger Bonakdar
Fresno attorney Roger Bonakdar expressed concern about police investigators talking to his client. Bonakdar said police spoke with the student Jan. 14, three days after the incident involving trustee Terry Slatic.
“They interviewed (my client) twice without notifying the family first, which I am deeply troubled by,” Bonakdar said. “They pulled the kid out of class on Monday during his third-period class and took him by himself to a room and required him to give a statement to what I believe was the on-campus security officer, which is a police officer — a sworn officer.
“Then they took the child and moved into another room and had him interviewed by a district investigator shortly thereafter. Again, all by himself and without any notice or consent from the family, which I find troubling.”

Police Say Student Not Treated as a Suspect

Farmer provided a different perspective on the questions police posed to the student.
“It is my understanding that the student was listed an involved party and not interviewed as a suspect and therefore a Miranda warning would not be required,” Farmer said.  “The student was advised he was free to leave.”
The Miranda warning requires law enforcement personnel to inform a suspect of his or her rights, including the right to remain silent.
Meanwhile, the Fresno County District Attorney’s office confirmed Tuesday that it had received the investigative report from Fresno police, and will now decide whether charges are warranted.

Incident Recap

Surveillance video shows Slatic and the student engaging in a brief physical confrontation. Slatic grabbed the backpack off the student.
Slatic said he was on campus after school on Jan. 11 with his assistant, to view a snack program. As Slatic and Michelle Asadoorian passed the student, he allegedly directed profanities at them.
When Slatic turned around to reprimand the student, according to his account to GV Wire, the student then made threats to kill and shoot them. That is when Slatic grabbed the backpack and placed it on the ground. The student subsequently picked up the backpack and ran away.
Bonakdar disputed Slatic’s account, saying his client never said anything to warrant a physical response by Slatic.
Slatic said Tuesday that he stands by his account of the incident.

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