Hoonah officer’s mother disputes details of pretend traffic stop

The mother of a Hoonah police officer killed in the line of duty nearly five years ago took the stand Monday in a civil trial against the small Southeast Alaska city.

Debbie Greene witnessed the fatal incident on Hoonah’s Front Street that took the lives of her son, Tony Wallace, and his fellow officer Matthew Tokuoka. Her testimony contradicted that of Haley Tokuoka-Yearout, Matthew’s widow, who’s suing the city in the wrongful death lawsuit.

Greene testified about spending time with her son while visiting Hoonah in late August 2010. She was participating in a ride-along while he was on patrol the night he was killed.

Haley Tokuoka-Yearout testified earlier that Wallace’s patrol vehicle pulled up behind the Tokouka family with lights flashing. She also said Wallace let out a short chirp of the siren and used the loudspeaker, saying something like, “Pull the vehicle over.”

But under questioning from attorney Leslie Longenbaugh, Greene testified that’s not how she remembers the incident.

Longenbaugh: “Before he pulled up, you heard testimony about what light, siren…”

Greene: “He had his light bar on. Two seconds, he turned his light bar on and it was off. And he got out of the car.”

Longenbaugh: “Did he use a siren?”

Greene: “No, he did not.”

Longenbaugh: “Not even a chirp?”

Greene: “He did not.”

Longenbaugh: “Did he use the intercom or P.A. (public address) system?”

Greene: “He did not.”

Longenbaugh: “Nothing was said?”

Greene: “He did not.”

Haley Tokuoka-Yearout’s attorneys say the alleged pretend traffic stop, and Wallace’s lack of training provoked John Marvin Jr. into shooting both men.

Marvin was convicted of two counts of murder and is currently serving 198 years in prison.

A 13-person jury is hearing the civil case in Juneau Superior Court.

Earlier Monday, defendants’ attorneys wrapped their cross-examination of Tokuoka-Yearout and plantiffs rested their case. The civil trial could run the rest of the week.

Greene, a nurse by training, said she moved to Hoonah after her son’s death and is currently working as a dispatch supervisor at the Hoonah Police Department.

Full Disclosure: Leslie Longenbaugh is a member of the KTOO Board of Directors.

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