Tag Archives: R. Lewis Van Blois

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Cukor family settles lawsuit against Berkeley police

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The family of Peter Cukor, who was allegedly killed by a mentally disturbed man in February 2012 while he waited for police to come to his house, has dropped its lawsuit against Berkeley in exchange for promises to change the questions dispatchers ask those calling during an emergency.

Berkeley has not admitted any fault in connection with the tragedy, said R. Lewis Van Blois, who represents Cukor’s widow, Andrea, and her adult sons Alexander and Christopher.

“The changes will result in better communication between the Communication Center and the emergency caller regarding police response to calls,” said Van Blois. … Continue reading »

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Family of murder victim Cukor files suit against Berkeley

Peter and Andrea Cukor. Photo: Matthew Sumner
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The family of Peter Cukor, killed by a mentally disturbed man outside his Berkeley hills home on February 18, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against the city.

R. Lewis Van Blois, the Cukor family attorney, charged in the lawsuit that the city and police acted grossly negligently in their handling of Cukor murder. At the core of the case is the issue of how seriously police took Cukor’s call and how promptly officers responded.

“Peter Cukor had called the Berkeley Police Department on their emergency number for help to request a police officer be sent to their home right away because the intruder was attempting to get inside the Cukor home and was acting strangely,” Van Blois said in a press release. “The police dispatcher promised to get someone to their home soon and the Cukors relied on this representation. In fact, the Berkeley Police Dispatcher never intended nor requested a police officer to respond and when a police officer called to say he could respond to the call, he was told not to go. Soon thereafter, the intruder attacked Peter Cukor and fatally struck him on the head with a flower pot.” … Continue reading »

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Family of murder victim criticizes police response

The entrance to the house where Peter Cukor was attacked and killed. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Peter Cukor used his cell phone and what he had been told was an emergency number when he called Berkeley police to report that a strange man was lurking around his property, his family said at a press conference Friday.

Just about a week before Cukor was allegedly attacked and killed by 23-year old Daniel DeWitt, he received an email from a neighborhood group informing him to program 510-981-5911 into his cell phone to use during emergencies, according to R. Lewis Van Blois, an Oakland attorney representing the family. Cukor used that number at 8:45 pm on Feb. 18 to convey that he needed a police officer to help immediately, said Van Blois.

Berkeley police did not respond immediately to Cukor’s request for help because the dispatcher did not think there was a crime in progress or any threat to life. Cukor called on a non-emergency line and spoke in a calm voice, Berkeley police have repeatedly said. … Continue reading »

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