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Police Officers Granted Temporary Restraining Order Against Harassment
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Manteca police officers hope a Superior Court temporary restraining order (TRO) will stop the alleged ongoing harassment of two patrolmen by Gabriel Duenez, brother of Ernest Duenez, Jr., a parolee killed in an officer involved shooting last June.

Police say that Gabriel Duenez has been threatening and harassing the officers and their families at their homes, at the police department and at a Santa Clara amusement park since late last year.

The restraining order was issued Friday at the request of Stephen Schluer, president of the Manteca Police Officers Association. San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Phillip R. Urie declared the order to prohibit Duenez from harassing, threatening or contacting officers John Moody and Armen Avakian as well as Avakian’s family members.

Duenez reportedly confronted and took photographs of Avakian and his family last month at the Winter Festival at the Great America Amusement Park in Santa Clara. The order continues to stipulate that Duenez has repeatedly harassed and threatened the officers during weekly vigils outside the police department and has circulated posters calling Moody a “murderer.”

The order also prohibits Duenez from contacting or harassing the officers through a third party.

“We have no quarrel with the right of the Duenez family to file law suits or make appropriate public statements about the incident,” the police association president said. “But it crosses the line when these officers and their families are being threatened and harassed where they live and work.”

Schluer said that Duenez, along with a group of about 10 protesters, routinely get to the fence by the officers’ parking lot about half an hour before the shift change and jeer the officers as they step out of their cars. They usually stay until about 5 p.m. the association president said.

Schluer added that as a police officer it is his duty to support the Constitution of the United States and the California Constitution especially regarding the right to free speech.

“But when our officers and their families are being threatened, part of my job is to protect our officers,” he insisted.

The restraining order obtained by the police officers’ association through its Sacramento based attorneys Christopher W. Miller and Jeffrey M. Schaff of Mastagni, Holstedt, Amick, Miller & Johnsen. The court costs are being paid for through the Manteca Police Officers Association – a union not connected with the City of Manteca.

A court hearing in San Joaquin County Superior Court on whether the temporary orders should be made permanent is scheduled for Tuesday, February 7, in the Manteca Branch of the court.