View inside of Penny Trent’s home

AV deputy-involved shooting lawsuit settled for $600K


An Apple Valley woman has been awarded a $600,000 settlement in a civil lawsuit against San Bernardino County after a sheriff’s deputy shot her while responding to a domestic abuse call in 2012, defense attorney Jerry Steering said.

San Bernardino County spokeswoman Felisa Cardona said the county isn’t admitting fault in the case and agreed to the settlement to save legal costs and protect taxpayers from the uncertainties of a trial.

Steering, a Newport Beach attorney, filed a civil complaint against San Bernardino County on behalf of Apple Valley resident Penny Trent in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Dec. 17, seeking compensation for injuries and damages allegedly sustained during the incident.

A bullet grazed Trent’s leg, according to a report from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office.

“Penny Trent was obviously wrongfully shot by Carolyn Chadwell, a deputy sheriff,” Steering said.

At 5:13 p.m. on June 3, 2012, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies Chadwell and Kirsten Mitchell of the Apple Valley Station responded to a domestic disturbance at a residence in the 12400 block of Kiowa Road.

No one answered the door and the deputies entered the home through an unlocked door. They found Trent and her husband, Wayne Trent, hiding in a bathroom, sheriff’s officials said.

Deputies found a large bruise on Penny Trent’s arm, and Mitchell arrested Wayne Trent on suspicion of domestic violence, according to the Sheriff’s Department. County court records do not show any domestic violence charges filed against Wayne Trent.

Chadwell told investigators she went back into the home to give Penny Trent domestic violence resource information; Chadwell said that woman’s behavior had changed and she had a “blank stare” on her face.

Chadwell said Penny Trent was seated on the couch and her hand was hidden under a pillow. The deputy said Penny Trent appeared to become “enraged” as her left arm flexed, and Chadwell thought the woman might be holding a “tool or weapon.”

Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering Press Release

Domestic violence Penny Trent shot by SBSD deputy after husband arrested for beating her because the deputy didn’t see her hands

On June 3, 2012, at approximately 3:30 p.m. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Sheriffs Carolyn Chadwell and Kirsten Mitchell answered a call for service of a

SBSD Deputy Sheriff Carolyn Chadwell

husband beating his wife at their home at 12486 Kiowa, Apple Valley, California [1]. The deputies received no response to their knocking on the Penny and Wayne Trent’s door, so they entered the house and found Penny Trent and her husband partially undressed in the bathroom [2].  Rather than leave the residence once the welfare of the residents was confirmed, Deputies Chadwell and Mitchell interrogated them about the call for service (i.e. the domestic violence call.) After discussing the incident with Penny and Wayne Trent, the Deputies decided to arrest Mr. Trent for felony corporal injury on a spouse (Penal Code Section 273.5), handcuffed him and put him in their patrol car.

When the deputies took Mr. Trent out to the patrol car to go to jail, they told Penny Trent to have a seat in the living wait in the living room, and they’d be right back. Deputies Chadwell and Mitchell placed Mr. Trent into the patrol car, and Deputy Chadwell returned to the residence with a Marsy’s Victim’s Card [3]; the brochure that is given to Domestic Violence victims [4] by police officers.

Bullet path through Penny Trent’s pants fired by Deputy Chadwell

When Deputy Chadwell returned to the door of the home with the Marsy’s Card for Mrs. Trent, she saw Penny Trent sitting on her living room couch. The couch appears at an angle to the front door area (See below, photo of view of couch from front door.) Deputy Chadwell apparently could not see one of Penny Trent’s lower arms when she saw her and stated to her: “Penny; where’s your other arm.” In literally less than one second after asking that question, Deputy Chadwell shot Penny Trent twice in her left leg. Although the bullets grazed her leg, Penny Trent was horrified from being shot, and at a complete loss as to why Deputy Chadwell would shoot her. This is all audio recorded [5]; a copy of the audio shown below.

Deputy Chadwell claimed that she shot Penny Trent because when she reentered the Trent residence, she saw Penny Trent with a blank stare on her face and said that Mrs. Trent’s hand was under a couch pillow. Mrs. Trent’s hand was just resting on the pillow on the couch, but from the front doorway area, Deputy Chadwell could only see her right hand. Deputy Chadwell didn’t give Mrs. Trent a chance to respond to her question, or to show her left arm. She just shot her within one second of asking her where her left arm was. Neighbor witnesses told the Sheriff’s Department that Deputy Chadwell then broke-down and cried about having shot Mrs. Trent.

Immediately after Deputy Chadwell shot Mrs. Trent, Deputies Chadwell and Mitchell ordered Penny Trent to exit her residence, and when she did, the deputies threw her to the ground on the rock front lawn, handcuffed her and placed her into their patrol car; imprisoning her there.

Audio recording by Deputy Chadwell of the June 3, 2012 shooting incident (the shooting takes place at 17 min. 02 sec. of the audio recording.)

SBSD Interview of Deputy Chadwell 6-8-13 – 5 days after shooting

Audio recording by Deputy Mitchell of the June 3, 2012 incident, showing illegal arrest of crying innocent domestic violence and police shooting victim Penny Trent.

Click here to view entire SBSD Officer-Involved-Shooting Investigation Report of Penny Trent Shooting

Thereafter, several Sheriff’s Department supervisors and other officers came to the Trent residence and decided what to do with Mrs. Trent [6]. After discussing the shooting of Mrs. Trent with each other, the Sheriff’s Department then conspired to take Penny Trent to the Apple Valley Station, so they could interrogate her in a coercive manner [7]; to try to get her to say something to try to justify their shooting of her [8] (she never did.) It’s a federal crime and federal constitutional violation to take a person to the police station for questioning, without probable cause to arrest them (Hayes v. Florida, 470 U.S. 811 (1985)). That’s just what they did to Penny Trent, and it’s shown on the recording shown below.

Notwithstanding Mrs. Trent’s repeated requests to leave the station, the Sheriff’s Department investigators kept Penny Trent at the station. They even created police reports showing that a crime had occurred (i.e. Cal. Penal Code § 245; assault with a deadly weapon), that Penny Trent was the “suspect” of the shooting, and that Deputy Chadwell was the “victim”. The geniuses at the Sheriff’s Department did a gunshot residue test on Penny Trent, even though she was the one shot. Even worse, the investigators at the Apple Valley station made Penny Trent undress down to her underwear, to take photos of any marks or bruises on her; supposedly for the criminal case against Mr. Trent.

Moreover, to add insult to injury, the Sheriff’s Department (Investigator Robert Thacker) unlawfully obtained a search warrant for the search of Penny Trent’s house, and used the bogus pretense of a criminal investigation, to perform their civil liability investigation. This was the Sheriff’s Department’s only chance to inspect the premises, as police officials cannot obtain a search warrant to do civil liability investigation; only to investigate crimes. Therefore, the Sheriff’s Department had to misrepresent the purpose of their application for a search warrant to Judge Stanford Reichert; claiming that their search would reveal evidence of a crime (the only crime really being Chadwell’s shooting of Penny Trent.)

Eventually, in the early morning hours of June 3, 2012, the Sheriff’s Department drove Mrs. Trent home after they were done with their illegal search of her residence.

Although ever since O.J. Simpson decapitated his wife “Domestic Violence” seems to be the worst crime that one can commit, because the Sheriff’s Department shot the domestic violence victim (Penny Trent), when they took Mr. Trent to the hospital that same evening, they posted no guard in / at his hospital room, and actually let him “escape.” To date, no criminal charges have been filed against Mr. Trent, because the Sheriff’s Department can’t prosecute Mr. Trent without publically implicating themselves in shooting the very victim of that crime.

None of this is surprising, save the actual shooting itself. Police agencies typically arrest the victims of their outrages, and in the coercive atmosphere of custodial interrogation, attempt, and often succeed, in getting their victims to make statements against their interest; statements that “spin” the facts or otherwise somehow shift all or part of the blame to the citizen – victim. This is normal, notwithstanding it being obvious to any peace officer that it’s unlawful to take someone to the police station for questioning in the absence of probable cause for their arrest. See, Hayes v. Florida, 470 U.S. 811 (1985.) The ends that the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department will go to, to protect themselves from civil liability is incredible.

Moreover, although the Sheriff’s Department just couldn’t keep themselves from illegally taking Penny Trent to the police station in handcuffs (i.e. false arrest, kidnapping civil rights criminal violations), because they screwed up and shot the victim that they were there to save, they need to get a coerced and skewed statement of what happened. They need to get Penny Trent to the station there and now, even though they had no right to have done so, because the coercive environment of police interrogation, allows the cops to shape the story, and to get you to agree with statements that are not true and that are against your interest, because after that moment in time, you are going to not be so vulnerable, and will likely have a lawyer.

Notwithstanding all of that, the Sheriff’s Department didn’t get an actual formal statement from Deputy Chadwell, until five days after her attempt to kill Penny Trent; an audio copy of her interview being below and playable.

Moreover, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office is actively aiding the Sheriff’s Department’s efforts to falsely arrest and to literally frame the victims of their misconduct, by the recent establishment of a division of that agency known as “CAPO”; Crime Against Police Officers. See, Inland Empire Weekly, June 20, 2013; “Contempt of Cop? San Bernardino’s new prosecution unit aims to assist law enforcement in court—supposedly”. CAPO has only one purpose; to protect police officers and their employing agencies from civil (and often criminal) liability, by forcing the victims of police beatings, false arrests and other outrages, to plead to crimes that don’t exist; even if the face of the police report fails to show that a crime was committed. Shocking? Not to those in the know.

Jerry L. Steering has filed a federal lawsuit for Mrs. Trent in this matter; Penny Trent v. County of San Bernardino, et al; United States District Court, Central District of California (Riverside); Case Number EDCV 12-02221-VAP (DTBx) (United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips.)

[1] The call to the Sheriff’s Department was made by Penny Trent’s son’s girlfriend, who was calling from out of state.

[2] Mr. Trent had forced a beaten and terrified Penny Trent to go into the bathroom; hoping that the police would just leave.

[4] To advise them about how to legally protect themselves, and where and how to seek help.

[5] One of the bullets went through the couch and took-out the kitchen stove. The audio recording of Penny Trent’s shooting and the aftermath of the same can be found at

[6] Like a dog chasing a car. Once he catches the car, what is he going to do with it?

[7] For example, by keeping Mrs. Trent in a cold room with the intent of making her so uncomfortable, that she might eventually say what the Sheriff’s Department want her to say, to justify their outrages perpetrated against her.

[8] This is a typical police technique; to arrest the victims and somehow shift the blame to them.