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Raymond Zack Family Files Claim Against City of Alameda, County of Alameda

Raymond Zack’s brother and sister have filed a claim against the City of Alameda and the County of Alameda over his death on Memorial Day this year, while public safety officers stood on the beach and watched. Such a claim is typically a precursor to a lawsuit.

Robert Zack and Bernice Joliff, both of Ohio, and, according to the claim, Raymond Zack’s next of kin and only known heirs at law, filed the claim at Alameda City Hall yesterday with the assistance of the The Cartwright Law Firm of San Francisco.

The claim describes Delores Berry as a longtime friend and co-tenant of Raymond Zack, and someone who refers to herself as his foster mother. It was Delores Berry that stopped passers-by on the beach on Memorial Day and asked them to call 9-1-1 to rescue Raymond Zack.

According to the claim, the City of Alameda, Alameda Police Department, Alameda Fire Department, Alameda County Regional Emergency Communications Center are liable to Zack’s survivors for having “breached their mandatory duty and a duty of ordinary care to Claimants by negligently undertaking a rescue of Raymond Zack on May 30, 2011.”

Robert Zack and Bernice Joliff are claiming un-specified economic damages for past medical bills and funeral expenses, as well as non-economic damages which include “loss of companionship, society, comfort, care, assistance, protection, love, affection, and support.”

Their claim is reproduced below.

Raymond Zack Claim

10 comments to Raymond Zack Family Files Claim Against City of Alameda, County of Alameda

  • DHL

    Finally! A document that accurately describes the wholesale failure that was the AFD response on Memorial Day: those 15 points are accurate.

    It is beyond shameful (and completely embarrassing for our city) that the Grijalva Report ignored many of them, and that City Manager Russo not only accepted that incomplete report but proffered it to the Mayor and City Council who also accepted it, and all of them together—Russo, Gilmore, Bonta, Tam, Chief Grijalva, Acting Fire Chief D’Orazi,—spun the spin (the problems are all solved by more training and equipment) that conceals the hard facts: the problems have been for year (!) and continue to be a city management that fails to properly manage the AFD and relationships with the fire unions, recent corruption (trading in influence) between the fire unions’ PAC and the city mayor and her council, and substandard (relative to the industry of firefighting) protocols and procedures that allow firefighters to underperform without accountability (and don’t give them the information and performance requirements to do their best, something I believe the average firefighter wants to do).

    The problems on Memorial Day were not tactical. They were not training issues. Our firefighters are well-trained: they know how to effect toxic, water, and technical responses and rescues. They know how to manage incidents and effect a proper ICS. That they did not on Memorial Day 2011 was a choice. Who’s choice was it? Are they so arrogant that they think they can continue to provide fire services without working well with other agencies? The AFD has shown a history of failing to engage other agencies for mutual aid when appropriate. In the most recent city council meeting, the AFD and Lena Tam reiterated the importance of being self-sufficient, of prioritizing this over all else. This is wrong. This is one of the reasons why Mr. Zack died. The AFD called not a single agency to come help. Moreover, the primary agency they have worked with in the past is the USCG, but there are many to collaborate with to with many various kinds of equipment and skills that would better save lives.

    The AFD management and union leadership are showing us that they remain focused on creating an agency that is wholly independent and doesn’t need no stinkin’ mutual aid. This is not only wrong, it’s dangerous. And this focus contradicts the Grijalva Report’s correct findings that say Incident Command System and ability to engage mutual aid were sorely lacking that day. Everything Acting Chief D’Orazi and Lena Tam have said indicates that mutual aid won’t be anything AFD will be using, wanting to use, or maybe even skillful in using, anytime soon. Tam has done an enormous disservice to public safety here, strengthening part of the problem at the AFD rather than fixing it.

    Why are Lena Tam and Acting Fire Chief D’Orazi emphasizing responses without mutual aid? Financially, it’s absurd, extremely costly. But in possible costs to real lives not saved like on Memorial Day, it’s unacceptable.

  • Trixie Green

    I can hardly imagine how horrible it must be for Raymond Zack’s family to have to initiate a lawsuit to wrest justice from our worst responders. That they have accurately fingered the 3 agencies who failed Raymond Zack is heartening; they are all to blame for the negligent homicide of Raymond Zack. Perhaps this lawsuit will result in justice for Mr. Zack and consequences for those who failed to offer him basic human compassion, and who continue to fail us in their sworn duty as first responders.

  • Trixie Green

    Here’s an idea: How about we replace Alameda Fire and Police and County dispatch with careful and kind dogs, like this one in Chile:

  • Dr Poodlesmurf

    At the end of the city council meeting on Tuesday, the mayor and city council CLAPPED along with those first responders who were present at city hall that evening … AND NOT EVEN A MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR RAYMOND ZACK.
    How cold is that?

  • 94502

    This will make an interesting trial.

    Who wants to write a book about this city? Narrow it down to May 30, 2011, and it’ll have intrigue, emotionalconflict, political high stakes, water adventure (at a calm beach), and life and death circumstances that result in death.

    And two mystery people: the windsurfer and the volleyball playing woman who pulled Raymond Zack out of the water onto the beach.

  • Barb

    Time to look at regionalizing our public safety and other services. Cities double, triple and quadruple the re-invention of identical services. Alameda County Fire and Sheriff provide far higher quality services than our local home grown teams. Touting our local island stuff has gotten us nothing but a hospital that kills, and a Fire Department that buys its support from the Council with money rather than public safety. The Council and Manager are in it for themselves and whatever they too can rip off from the taxpayers. Why is Berkeley so well run? Can we clone Tom Bates? I’m a conservative, but when a liberal manages the money and keeps a City solvent in these economic times, he must be doing something right. All our leaders are doing is covering their rear ends and holding their noses from the stink that creates.

  • dlm

    Beneath it all is the sense that the folks who are ultimately responsible — the Mayor and the City Council — are not going to take action no matter how bad it gets. In the face of the arrogance and belligerence of the FD, the Council (the Council majority), does nothing but kowtow.

    Look at out the Council and Russo have handled this. First, they commission a report that is “not administrative”, meaning that no on is held accountable then, once this superficial report is presented, they start urging everyone to “move on”, like it’s all over with. Well thanks to this complaint, it’s not and it shouldn’t be.

    They can’t sweep this under the rug.

  • 94502

    They’d like us all to just go away, swept away with their brooms of rationalizations and excuses.

    Won’t happen. We’ll be here to hold the AFD, APD, city council, Russo, Grijalva to a microscope.

    They will not be able to gloss over the Death of Raymond Zack.

    If we let them, history will repeat itself.

  • john

    Nothing but a good law suit to get to the bottom of it,and if it is what it take to keep anyone else alive so let it be.
    Iit was not an accident , it was not downing , it was Murder by negligence , anyone know you can walk on the same sand bar , everyone knew he was hypothermic ,everyone knew he did not have weapon .

  • not mayberry

    The lawsuit alone is a better analysis of the Crown Beach Incident than anything Grijalva came up with. The City should ask for its money back!
    94502:It might interest you to know there was a film crew from NYC, 22/7 Pictures, @the council meeting Tues night; which is making a documentary about the Crown Beach Incident. National news is not easily swept away & forgotten. Jon Stewart has already mentioned Alameda FF on Comedy Central @ least once. Personally, I think our 1st responders provided great material for a SNL[Sat Nite Live]skit. No disrespect meant to Raymond Zack, of course. I hope he’s looking down & laughing.