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BRIAN STATLER WAS UNARMED: Police say he grabbed their gun in Scientology org shooting

[Brian Statler, with sword, fan, and cane, when he first came into the Inglewood org]

In the 2019 death of Brian Statler at the Scientology “Ideal Org” in Inglewood, California, much was made of the “samurai sword” that witnesses said he had with him. But we pointed out at the time that breaking news coverage seemed to make little sense: Stories said that Statler was wielding a sword, but that somehow he shot and injured the two Inglewood police officers who ended up shooting Statler fatally. That didn’t make much sense, but the city of Inglewood was giving out no more details.

Now, in a motion for summary judgment intended to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit brought against the city of Inglewood by Statler’s family, those two police officers admit that by the time they arrived on the scene, Statler had already returned to his parked car to put the sword away.

That’s right, Brian Statler had no sword.

And although he did have a cane, the two Inglewood police officers say that what made them feel threatened was that Statler, 30, was sitting in a chair with his hands in his pockets and wouldn’t take them out. When they moved to arrest him, they claim that Statler wrestled with one police officer and got his pistol from his holster, which then rattled to the floor. The two officers say that Statler picked up the gun, and the second officer then pulled his own weapon and shot Statler in the chest.

The motion for summary judgment comes after Statler’s family dropped most of the counts in their lawsuit after the two sides had met. And to support their motion, the police submitted a lengthy document of “uncontroverted facts” they say come from depositions with the Scientology employees and the two police officers.


The Scientology employees describe that Statler had showed up that day in a bizarre getup, with a samurai sword strapped to his back, a cane in one hand and a blue fan in the other. They said he also appeared to have a tattoo of a “third eye” on his forehead. They testified that he had called ahead to say that he was coming and that he was “packing.” When he arrived, he demanded to see Decery Capponi, the mother of his young daughter, and said he was there to take Decery and his daughter away from there.

When the church’s security officer, Armando Dominguez, told Statler that he couldn’t come into the building with a sword, Statler initially said it was a part of him that he couldn’t remove. “I know you manipulate people and I am not going to be manipulated,” he supposedly said. But then, when Dominquez again said Statler couldn’t bring the weapon in, Statler said he would return it to his car. And then he did just that, Dominguez testified.

Dominguez had asked a receptionist to notify Scientology’s Los Angeles security headquarters, but instead she had dialed 911.

According to police dispatch records, by the time the two officers arrived, they had been told that Statler had returned his sword to his car.

When Officer Jonathan Rivers arrived, he was told by Dominguez that Statler had a history of domestic violence with Capponi, and he didn’t want Statler in the building. Another officer, Julien Baksh, was second on the scene.

Neither officer had their guns out when they were brought in to see Statler, who was sitting in a chair in the org’s testing area.

According to Officer Rivers, “Statler took an unidentified dark color object off of the table and placed it inside of his pocket. Officer Rivers felt uncomfortable at this moment not knowing what Statler took off of the table and placed into his pocket. Officer Rivers increased his distance from Statler after he grabbed the item off of the desk.”

Dominguez, from the reception area, heard Rivers say, with an elevated voice, “Put your hands where I can see them.”

Dominguez testified that he could still see Statler. “Statler kept his hands in his pockets, staring at the Officer, not obeying his commands. Statler had a smirk on his face.”

Contempt of cop. It’s often fatal in this country.

Officer Rivers then instructed the Scientology employees to clear out of the area. What happened next comes only from the testimony of the two police officers. Officer Baksh then joined him, and they decided that with Statler not showing his hands and not following orders, they needed to take him into custody.

Their testimony is that when they went to grab him…

— Statler tensed up and resisted them.

— Statler put his arms behind his back and was “struggling.”


— Statler then somehow freed Rivers’ firearm from his holster.

— Rivers’ firearm fell to the ground. Both officers heard it hit the ground.

— “During the violent struggle, Statler gained control of Officer Rivers’ gun.”

— Baksh yelled “Gun, gun, gun!”

— Baksh then pulled his own weapon and shot Statler in the chest.

“After the initial shot, Statler was still moving and fighting so Officer Baksh fired two (2) rapid fire shots toward Statler’s upper torso. Officer Baksh was not able to focus on his gun sights when firing at Statler,” the filing says.

This is as close as the document comes to saying that Baksh, “not able to focus on his gun sights,” ended up being the one to injure his fellow officer.

Did Statler, with his arms behind his back, somehow cause Rivers’ weapon to fall from its holster? And did he then pick up the gun? That claim comes only from Rivers and Baksh in their depositions, and the filing says that Statler’s DNA was later found on Rivers’ holster.

The document then sums up the reasons why River and Baksh were justified to kill Statler, and why they want his family’s wrongful death lawsuit dismissed:

“On March 27, 2019, Brian Statler, whom Armando Dominguez was aware had a history of drug abuse and violence, came into a peaceful Church with a deadly weapon. He wanted to “take away” a female, Decery Capponi, and her child. Armando Dominguez knew Statler had been violent with her during their relationship. The Inglewood Police were contacted to respond. Armando Dominguez, a senior Church official and supervisor wanted the individual to leave the Church…At no time during his contact with Statler did Officer Baksh have any intent to interfere with any constitutional right through threat, intimidation or coercion. Officer Baksh’s intent was to investigate the underlying circumstances of the 911 call and request for assistance from the Church, to assist his fellow officer, to conduct a lawful search for weapons when Statler failed to show his hands and comply with the commands of a peace officer and to protect Officer Rivers, himself and the civilians at the Church from a threat of serious bodily injury or death after Statler fought with them, grabbed and took possession of a deadly weapon.”

We don’t know why Statler, a mixed-race African-American man, felt compelled to dress in such a getup, or to demand to see Capponi. We still have a lot of questions about what happened that day. But this is the first time we have learned that Brian Statler faced these two police officers with no more weapon than his hands in his pockets.

A hearing for the motion for summary judgment is scheduled for August 20. Here’s the document submitted by the defense with the testimony we’ve cited here.


[Brian Statler’s cane, which he did not have in his hands when he was killed.]



Leah Remini podcast: The Bridge, part 1

Says Mike: “We earlier had Jon Atack join us for two episodes taking a deeper look into the life of L. Ron Hubbard. This week, our old friend Bruce Hines joins us for Part 1 (of 3) where we take a look at the scientology “Bridge to Total Freedom” in more detail. In this episode we address the lower levels of the Bridge. Bruce was a highly trained scientology “Auditor” (counselor) and “Case Supervisor” (one who oversees auditors to ensure they are following the words of Hubbard exactly).” Listen to the episode here!


Source Code

“I got in a silly cycle. I don’t know, a trillion, trillennia, trillennia, trillennia ago. And every time they had a war, why, I went out. I would either be a pilot in, or commander of, or somebody connected with an interceptor squadron on the outside of the capital. Societies used to last longer than they do now. And it wasn’t anything for a society to go a billion years without much change. But, every time the society would get into trouble, usually with the same adversaries, why, that was the drop of the hat. That was the signal. The whistle had gone and you would go down and snappily report to the Seventeenth Interceptor Squadron, which had in charge of it the protection of the capital, don’t you see? And the enemy would come over and you would take off in an interceptor and you would go up to the center of the airport and you would either shoot down the attacking plane or be shot down and always at the center of the same airport — for a billion years. ” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 20, 1961


Avast, Ye Mateys

“The ‘alarming increasing debt’ stat of the US is a negative stat. Actually it parallels almost exactly the decrease of the value of the dollar AND SO HASN’T RISEN IN 53 YEARS! Yet the ‘financial wizards’ in the world bank use it to reduce credit in the US which will bring on a depression which lets them grab the securities and properties cheaply. The eggheads in charge continually indulge in false stats or think negative stats are useful. And ignore the psychiatric negative stat of increasing insanity and crime which parallels cash received by governments and psychiatrists. But you can only prove how bad something is by negative stats. You can’t really determine production. Imagine having how many Ethics orders put on one as his stat! Negative ideal scene — One who flunks is penalized without regard to value or production. US Citizens have that stat! And any other country!” — The Commodore, July 20, 1970



Overheard in the FreeZone

“Spiritual cleansing of Mexican pyramids is one OT Project that Captain Bill Robertson would certainly approve. In the cleansing of pyramids in Mexico, the practice of human sacrifice appears as a key event. But this practice of extracting the heart and drinking the blood is actually a ritual of a group known as the ‘Brotherhood of the Snake.’ The investigation of abductee Truman L. Cash has discovered that this practice was carried out in the pyramid of Giza, in Egypt. Those who performed it were human-looking ETs whom he calls the Serpent Staff Pleiadians. This ritual performed at Giza is connected with the secret rituals of Freemasonry and human sacrifice in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.”


Past is Prologue

1995: Canada’s Supreme Court this week upheld the libel award against the Church of Scientology. From Reuters: “Canada’s Supreme Court Thursday upheld a million-dollar libel award against the Church of Scientology in a case that saw writers and news organizations siding with the church. Casey Hill, a former Ontario prosecutor, sued the Church of Scientology for accusing him of acting improperly in connection with a raid on church offices in Toronto in 1983. Journalists, writers and newspaper groups pressing for free speech had backed the church in arguing for laxer rules on defamation, but the court upheld the $1.6 million Canadian ($1.2 million U.S.) award in favor of Hill. It is believed to be the largest libel award ever made in Canada.”


Random Howdy

“Seeing as how Louanne and vaLLarrr are dead in the head, that makes you the last Internet canary clam in the coal mine, Marco. How’s the 2-pack-a-day anti-cancer therapy working out?”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker


Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for August 9. Trial tentatively scheduled for early November.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference August 21 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Sept 9.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition to US Supreme Court submitted on May 26. Scientology responded on June 25.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments scheduled for Oct 5.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 24.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society. Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in a weekly series. How many have you read?


[ONE year ago] Why Scientology can worry if John Travolta and Lisa Marie Presley seek solace in each other
[TWO years ago] Scientology failed to destroy Sylvia DeWall, but its latest letter to her is simply bizarre
[FOUR years ago] Tommy Davis’s Hollywood experiment is apparently over as he moves to Splitsville
[FIVE years ago] BILLBOARD UP IN FLORIDA: Scientology ‘disconnection’ on view near Clearwater ‘mecca’
[SIX years ago] Stacy Murphy is still dead, but Oklahoma gives the Scientology rehab that killed her new life
[SEVEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology has only its ‘humanitarians’ to help it refurbish eyesores
[EIGHT years ago] Leah Remini’s Friend, TV’s Michelle Visage, Says Scientologists Are ‘Scattering Like Roaches’
[NINE years ago] Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20: Another Death at Scientology’s Flagship Narconon Drug Treatment Center in Oklahoma
[TEN years ago] Scientology Loves Making Fun of Itself, Apparently


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,367 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,872 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,392 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,412 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,303 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,610 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,478 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,252 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,582 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,056 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,372 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,938 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,857 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,025 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,606 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,867 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,905 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,618 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,143 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 498 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,673 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,224 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,373 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,693 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,548 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,667 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,023 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,326 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,432 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,834 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,706 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,289 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,784 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,038 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,147 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 20, 2021 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, 15 years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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