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City sued over child endangerment arrest

Original post made on Jul 8, 2009

A mother who was cleared of child endangerment charges in 2007 after leaving her toddler locked in her car outside of Costco is now suing the city for false arrest.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 8, 2009, 10:27 AM

Comments (26)

Posted by Peter, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2009 at 11:05 am

Re: "Krivenko is suing the city for damages, which include about $12,000 in attorney's fees and an amount for emotional suffering to be determined by a jury."

You have to be kidding me! You have to be kidding me!!! Rather than write obscene objectionable material in opposition to this suite, let me just say that Krivenko is an ungrateful person who was probably lead on to sue by her lawyer. (Show me the money!) GIVE ME A BREAK!

Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2009 at 1:17 pm

USA is a registered user.

The issue is not whether the decisions by the firefighters and police ultimately were right/good or not but whether the decisions were reasonable or not with the information they had at that time.

From the viewpoint in my armchair, it appears that the firefighters and police made the right call.

Posted by ALEX, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Seems like the only one making out here is the lawyer! I hope the city does not just "settle" with an out of court undisclosed monetary settlement. Kick her to the curb!

Posted by curious, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 8, 2009 at 2:35 pm

It is clear the fireman, police, and the DA acted unreasonably and had an agenda against Ms. Krivenko. Perhaps she did not grovel enough for the all-powerful cop and he did not like her 'attitude.' To take this innocuous incident to trial is outrageous. It's just the cops and the DA closing ranks. Looks like the jury in her trial agreed since she was acquitted. I hope this goes to trial and I am on the jury so I can slap a hefty judgment on the city. It's too bad the taxpayers are going to suffer instead of the out of control fireman and cop but something has to be done to protect individual rights.

Posted by harvardmom, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm

What? Is she kidding: "...left Victor asleep in the backseat for a 'one-minute absence.'" This is a much longer absence than one minute! She chose a walk through the Costco store looking for her husband instead of staying with her son through thick and thin. Anybody would have helped her by offering a cell phone or making the phone call. And what if it had been expensive to get police assistance? Guess what? That's life! The PD and FD did exactly the right thing. Thank goodness MV's finest are there to care for abandoned children! I wish I were the prosecutor; she'd have gotten more than a little slap on the hand.

Posted by me, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 8, 2009 at 2:49 pm

[Post removed]

Posted by Keisha, a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 8, 2009 at 4:21 pm

I think they did the right thing. Anyone in there right mind wouldn't have went inside the store to find there husband. I would have asked someone for help if anything, i wouldn't have went in the store for my husband that's just crazy.

Posted by Rene, a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2009 at 4:30 pm

curious said, "It is clear the fireman, police, and the DA acted unreasonably and had an agenda against Ms. Krivenko. Perhaps she did not grovel enough for the all-powerful cop and he did not like her 'attitude.'"

First of all you are ignorant. Wonder what you'd be saying had the child died. I know for sure the City would be sued had they not done what they did and the child died. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Thumbs up to MVPD and Fire, they did their job.

Posted by Luca, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm

I think an arrest was highly unreasonable, and I am not happy that police time and cost are being spent in such a silly and community harmful way.

Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2009 at 5:51 pm

USA is a registered user.

"[Miguel] didn't like Ms. Krivenko."

I tried that same argument in the third grade ... the reason I got an F on the test was because the teach didn't like me ... Well, that argument didn't work for me then and won't work for her now.

Posted by becky, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm

People are so reactionary. Especially the police. This issue has become a favorite hot button. Police get up on their high horse and they go way beyond what is necessary when kids are left in the car. We all saw those stories about suffocation and every cop feels like such a hero now when they arrest a parent.
Just because a child is left in a car does not automatically make for reckless endangerment. If he is not suffocating, you might be able to save the window. That is not a crime. This is a real problem, and the police have been mishandling it over and over. My (then) eight year old twins were eating their burritos my car (not locked in) while I quickly ran into REI, and I was nearly arrested for reckless endangerment. Since it was patently ridiculous to suggest that they might suffocate (though she tried) she then continued to say that a stranger might abduct them while I was in line -despite my pointing out to her that a lightning strike would be more likely. I was aware of the risks, and I am totally fine with my two eight year old kids waiting outside in a car for a few minutes. I was harassed and detained for a long time and publicly berated in front of my Twins. That officer was a total idiot. The cops need to cool their jets and use their head a bit. I'm glad this is being prosecuted. My children will never trust cops quite the same again after what they did.
What none of you seem to realize is that clearly the child was upset, but not suffocating, nor about to suffocate immediately. Mom was trying to get help! So what if you would have stood there 'till help came. It might not have made any difference to the kids distress nor the quickness of the response. Why these officers feel they are serving children by arresting law abiding parents who haven't hurt their kid in any way is a wonder. You could just as easily say that going for a drive at all is reckless endangerment.
I don't have a problem with the window break in, It is the Idea that you must persecute the Mom and arrest her without using any common sense that I criticize. I know from my experience, that some police are so zealos about this issue they become poor judges and poorer child advocates. I wish I had taken my story further, and I wonder if it is the same Idiot policewoman. Real bozos and a disgrace.
This is not a waste of time.

Posted by Jim, a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 8, 2009 at 7:02 pm

God bless the policemen and firemen, but not on this one. For them to arrest a Mother for this is taking this way to far. And obviously the DA has nothing better to do then to go after a Mother. That is a SHAME. All the money spent for the trial over this was a big-time waste, but then again this is the government we are talking about, so nothing new.

The police and firemen should be there to help a Mother, not take her to jail in front of the child and brake her car window when there was no danger to the child. The weather was 66 degrees. Not only is this an emotional hardship for the mother and baby involved, but for the whole family. The right thing for the policeman and fireman to do would have been to open the car door for her and not by braking the window. It would surprise me if the cop and fireman did not have a simple tool such as a slim jim or a door wedged, which could of opened the car door in seconds.

Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2009 at 8:21 pm

It sounds like the PD and FD over reacted. Clearly the mother had a plan to solve the situation. I question why charges were pursued in the first place with so many other problems that need to be solved.

Posted by Glenn R, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 8, 2009 at 11:18 pm

The mom is lucky that someone didn't kidnap her child.

Posted by law unattended child, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 9, 2009 at 6:38 pm

15620, 15630, 15632

15620. (a) A parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible
for a child who is 6 years of age or younger may not leave that child
inside a motor vehicle without being subject to the supervision of a
person who is 12 years of age or older, under either of the
following circumstances:
(1) Where there are conditions that present a significant risk to
the child's health or safety.
(2) When the vehicle's engine is running or the vehicle's keys are
in the ignition, or both.
(b) A violation of subdivision (a) is an infraction punishable by
a fine of one hundred dollars ($100), except that the court may
reduce or waive the fine if the defendant establishes to the
satisfaction of the court that he or she is economically
disadvantaged and the court, instead, refers the defendant to a
community education program that includes education on the dangers of
leaving young children unattended in motor vehicles, and provides
certification of completion of that program. Upon completion of that
program, the defendant shall provide that certification to the
court. The court may, at its discretion, require any defendant
described in this section to attend an education program on the
dangers of leaving young children unattended in motor vehicles.
(c) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under both
this section and Section 192 of the Penal Code, or Section 273a of
that code, or any other provision of law.
(d) (1) Subdivision (b) and Section 40000.1 do not apply if an
unattended child is injured or medical services are rendered on that
child because of a violation described in subdivision (a).
(2) Nothing in this subdivision precludes prosecution under any
other provision of law.

Posted by curious, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 10, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Rene you have no common sense. You are a zealot. The kid was not in danger. It was 66 degrees. The mother was trying to get help. Arresting her and then prosecuting her was an outrageous over reaction.

"Wonder what you'd be saying had the child died. "

If you follow this standard children should never leave the house. After all cars are dangerous and car accidents are among the largest causes of deaths of children. Wait a minute. Kids die all the time in houses. Oh horrors!

Posted by Tony, a resident of Castro City
on Jul 10, 2009 at 1:41 pm

We should just fire all the cops and fire fighters. We're so smart, we can handle everything ourselves. Whenever there is a problem, we'll just call 911 and everything will be fine.

Posted by Resident, a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2009 at 10:12 pm

After reading stories like these, I have to say I am embarrassed to be living in the United States. Enough is enough. There are actual problems going on in this country, and instead law inforcement is after these poor parents, who are just trying to get by and do what they think is right. An arrest is ABSOLUTELY not necessary. It is laughable. It is wrong.

Ok, maybe this woman didn't have the best judgment. She is an immigrant, maybe she wasn't thinking clearly. I know many immigrants who would also not know what to do. In other countries, doing what this woman did would be considered the correct solution. She was trying to get help! But come on - arresting her?! It is obvious that she had no malicious intent. There are parents that purposely abuse their kids emotionally or even physically. We are all human. We accidentally lock our keys in our cars once in a while. I say, get over it.

Of course it is wrong to leave infants and toddlers locked in a hot car. But this is not what the woman was doing. We are no longer innocent until proven guilty. In any situation such as this one, parents are likely to automatically become criminalized.

Posted by rob, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2009 at 1:44 am

30 minutes in the sun and she doesn't call for help, someone else has to do it? She must have immigrated from a country that doesn't teach commonsense. If it was a dog in the car think of how upset everyone would be.

Posted by Z, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2009 at 6:55 am

No mention of 30 minutes in this article, even if it was 30 min, the child was in no danger, securily in the car. The temp was 66 degrees.

The Distress the Fireman claims, was do to all the bystanders and the sirens from the fire truck. Any child would be distressed having all those people and fireman gauking at him.

There was no significant risk to the child's health or safety. Also the woman did not go into the store looking for the husband, according to the article. Also the engine was not running, doesn't say where the keys where.

Sounds to me the cop had to justify the firemans actions of breaking the window by taking someone to jail.

Cops and Fire personal need to be trained not to handle honest ordinary citizen, like criminals.

Posted by Manny, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 11, 2009 at 6:55 pm

"Kallis admits that Krivenko had consciously chosen to leave Victor in the car prior to locking him in. He said that to appease her older 3-year-old child, who wanted to go into the store with her husband, Krivenko left Victor asleep in the backseat for a "one-minute absence.""

So because the 3 year old wanted to see daddy she leave the toddler asleep and alone in the car? How long was she gone the first time?

"When she returned she accidentally locked Victor in the car, sometime after which the toddler woke up and began crying."

Upon return she now realized she has a crying toddler and he is looked in, so she leaves him alone again. I think mommy leaving him crying just might be a bit scary to a toddler who is strapped in a car seat and can't understand why mommy is leaving.

"Kallis said Miguel was named as a defendant because he "instigated the whole arrest," which was really an "attitude adjustment arrest." Kallis believes Miguel thought, "I don't like your attitude" and "went into the store to investigate Ms. Krivenko," he said."

Seems to me that this implies that the fire department went in search of mommy in the store. Does that mean that they arrived found on responsible adult and broke the window to check on the welfare of the child and then when no parent had arrived yet they went looking for them.

If the temp was 66 degrees outside the inside could have been what 15-20 degrees hotter? If the child was crying and struggling in the car seat, how much did that cause core body temp to rise.

I suggest you click on the demonstration of heat in a car in this link:
Web Link

Or this one (scrowl to the chart of the difference between outside and inside temp and how time plays into it:
Web Link

Maybe those job who is public safety actually were doing their job.

Posted by M, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 11, 2009 at 7:12 pm

66 degress. what danger was the child in?

Posted by dfb, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 11, 2009 at 8:32 pm

This all turns on whether the officers' actions were reasonable, even if they were wrong. These are judgment calls that require quick decision making on the spot. Taken together, can all of the things happening at the scene justify breaking the window and then arresting the mother? I personally feel the officers' actions sound reasonable from the information provided by this article. The city should make it a point to not settle this kind of lawsuit. Otherwise it opens pandora's box and should expect many more suits like this, both legitimate and frivolous.

Posted by alex, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 13, 2009 at 1:54 pm

"She is an immigrant, maybe she wasn't thinking clearly"
This says it all!
Language barrier is biatch, I know; but still though, did she really need to be arrested?
Don't put yourself in this woman's shoes. You have no idea what you would do untill you are THERE dealing with the situation.

Next time I am in a stressfull situation I am not sure what I will do.
I am an immigrant and also from former soviet union, oh no!~~

Posted by June, a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2009 at 6:23 pm

For those of you saying the kid wasn't in danger because it was 66 degrees outside, you forget cars are like hothouses; windows trap the heat inside (tell me you've never 'burned' your hand on a hot steering wheel/seat belt buckle?), & there's no way for a firefigher to know exactly how hot it is inside a car. Also, if the parents are no where to be found, how's the firefighter supposed to know why the child's crying - is he bored/cranky, or is he feverish/in pain? Plus, crying burns energy & further raises the body's temperature. All the rescuers had to go on was: no responsible parent could be found, none of the bystanders knew how long the kid had been in the car, none of the bystanders knew if the driver was even aware they had left their kid in the car (let alone that she had done it on purpose), kid was still conscious but in obvious distress with no way for the rescuers to determine the cause of the distress from outside of the car, AND that the child had been in the car for at least 5 minutes without any responsible party stepping forward (assuming elapsed time from 911 call thru final breaking of window)!
For those of you saying the child wasn't in danger because Ms. Krivenko had gone for help, given that she didn't grab a by-stander, explain what she was going to do, & ask them to stay with her car/child; she didn't leave any kind of note on her car; & she left her child alone in the car for long enough that it alarmed passer-bys enough for them to call, you must be assuming rescuers are telepathic, because how else would they have known that she had gone for help/her child was 'not in danger'?!?
And (becky, z) please don't tell me you think it should be policy that, in the absence of useable information, rescuers should just wait until a kid in obvious distress actually does suffocate/becomes unconscious before you think firefighters should attempt to rescue them!?!
Just because Ms. Krivenko was cleared of child endangerment charges doesn't automatically mean that this was a case of "false arrest"; it probably means that the court probably took pity on her, felt she had learned her lesson, & didn't see any reason to punish her further (save money on incarceration/parole costs).
Once his client was cleared, Mr. Kallis's job (& it's billable hours) ended. But now with this allegation against the City, Mr. Kallis can try to extort money out of our city & us taxpayers. As for his comment that "the Police Department is also being asked to better train its police officers"; maybe he should look into getting some training for Ms. Krivenko on how to better care for her child! (And, yes, I DID mean it THAT way!) Oh, wait, that would be altruistic on Mr. Kallis's part, not opportunistic. Too bad.

Posted by Rob, a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 12, 2009 at 4:19 pm

what happened at the trial?

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