San Luis Obispo slated to pay $195,000 for alleged police brutality

December 18, 2009

Jeff Milne By KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo taxpayers are in line to pay $195,000 to a local business owner for alleged excessive force by police officers during a case of mistaken identity and police negligence.

Attorneys for both the city and Jeff Milne, owner of Babbo’s Pizzeria, have agreed to accept mediator Dave Peterson’s settlement suggestion. City council members are expected to approve the proposed settlement.

“Both sides have reached what they believe to be a fair resolution,” said attorney for the city, Jay Hieatt, of Hall Hieatt and Connely Attorneys at Law.

Jeff Milne's on his release rom jailIn July 2007, Milne arrived home after hiking up Bishop’s Peak, took off his shirt, shoes and socks and was settling down to watch television when four police officers descended on his home at 366 Christina and banged on the front door. Milne readily admitted the officers to a living room decorated with pictures of him and his family, asking, “I live here. What’s going on?”

According to court records, the officers ordered Milne to place his hands in the air and began frisking him. Upon discovering a knife in his pocket the officers pepper sprayed Milne and threw him face first to the ground.

“They kept bashing my face into the floor,” Milne said. “One officer tweaked my neck when he turned my face so another officer could force my eyelids open while another officer pepper sprayed me a second time.”

Officers than lifted Milne up from the ground by the handcuffs, kicked his legs out from under him and frisked him again, Milne said. At this point, officers discovered a gun in the bruised and bleeding man’s pocket.

“I had brought guns out to clean so I could go target shooting with a friend,” Milne said.

The cops huddled; this house call apparently was not what they had been expecting. Acting on a tip from a neighbor’s 10-year-old girl about a man forcibly entering the house, the officers – three from the city of San Luis Obispo, another from Cal Poly campus police – would later testify that they were prepared to confront a burglar. Instead, they found Milne at home.

Jeff Milne's on his release rom jailAfter the cops had conferred among themselves, Milne was booked into County Jail, charged with resisting arrest and obstructing an officer. He spent the night behind bars, dressed only in a pair of jeans.

Attorney Louis Koory of James McKiernan Lawyers successfully defended Milne on the criminal charges and filed a claim alleging police misconduct; unlawful arrest; excessive force; assault and battery; violation of civil rights; spoliation of evidence; and negligence.

“I’ve incurred two wrist surgeries,” Milne said. “I have three herniated disks and my seventh vertebrae is not lined up with the others.”

According to court records, police officers allege that none of their on-scene radios or police cameras were working during the arrest of Milne. In addition, San Luis Obispo Police officials claim that interrogation room audio and video recording equipment malfunctioned during the questioning of Milne, leaving no recordings available for the trial.

The officers involved are identified as Jeff Koznek, Amy Chastain, Crystal Locarnini, all of San Luis Obispo’s department; and Max Schad, Cal Poly police.

“If I had to do it over again, I would just call 911 and duck,” Milne said.

Daniel Blackburn contributed to this article.







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48 Comments

  1. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    Cindy mentioned here months ago about needing a police commission. A few disagreed if one was really needed. I wonder if anyone at this point still feels that there is no need to look into a commision?? I agreed with her then. EVEN MORE NOW!!!!

    (30) 44 Total Votes - 37 up - 7 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      P.S. I am sick and tired of thug cops thinking they are above the law and don’t have to answer to the people. Anybody else about had enough???

      (41) 59 Total Votes - 50 up - 9 down
    • Cindy says:

      BTDT, I didn’t say we need a “police commission”, I said we needed a citizens “over-site committee”. Of course this would include the police , we have a lot more “all around problems” to keep an eye on. I’d like to see a committee enacted that can deal with all the local gov travesties/GOB’s, no need to reinvent the wheel later, just one clean vote and one commission that can exercise some real problem solving and dispatch their just decisions/verdicts , forth width.

      (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down
  2. fat chance says:

    I wish the cops reponsible for the beating would have to pay the bill. This looks like something you would see in the 1930’s Germany. WOW!

    (29) 43 Total Votes - 36 up - 7 down
  3. Vagabond says:

    Holy Moly, Methinks SLO got off cheap on this one.
    I wonder how much the city leaned on this guy cause of his business?
    I wonder if he even got a stinkin apology.

    (30) 46 Total Votes - 38 up - 8 down
    • cheseburger says:

      Vagabond I guess you have a brain after all my apologizes, great post and I too have been treated unfairly by the men in blue, can’t go into it for fear and I was to poor to sue. We need Steven Segal on the force, watch exit wound, we need that kind of police intervention.

      (1) 13 Total Votes - 7 up - 6 down
      • Vagabond says:

        No Apology needed Cheese, I an an anonymous commenter and sometimes I will take an unpopular position.
        I know I’ll get flamed it doesn’t bother me a bit.

        (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
  4. TacomaRose says:

    “According to court records, police officers allege that none of their on-scene radios or police cameras were working during the arrest of Milne. In addition, officers claim that interrogation room audio and video recording equipment malfunctioned during the questioning of Milne, leaving no recordings available for the trial.”

    Give me a break … Do you think the public is that gullible? Do I smell a cover up.

    (55) 65 Total Votes - 60 up - 5 down
    • cheseburger says:

      TacomaRose, drove into town today from L.O. and saw what my home town has turned into, Duvals place abandoned and a junk pile next too it. Billions of rats, racing everywhere, I think I’ll take Vagabonds advice and go crawl back under a rock or just stay out in the ocean with the sharks, Avila beach looks like an abandoned Beverly Hills, (my Home Town) walked down on the beach with my family and here comes the cops, in the form of the Harbor Patrol, (driving on the abandoned beach), who I have great respect for and have known Jim Crow for 45 years, I stopped them because they were looking suspiciously at me and my wife and daughter, I asked them what they were doing, “You guy’s looking for people drinking beer?” answer, “yes anyone breaking the law!” The place was deserted, I asked what the fine was? They didn’t know! “It’s up to the state of California!” Then I went to Port beach and witnessed cars going by at 75 mph in a 35 mph zone, need revenue tickets, go after speeders. Maybe I’ll go back in May when fishing opens and I’ll be sure not to spit on the sand too! I guess the terminator turned California into a police state, pirates cove was packed, but if your a thin skinned little old person who wants serenity now Avila, is the hot spot. Businesses have tripled their prices for they don’t even have 1/3 the customers of 1997, when I was forced to move by an oil company. Peaceful though and plenty of parking, the rich bought it and No Fires, NO Glass containers, No Alcohol, No Dogs, and No Fun! Lots of pollution coming out of the creek now, in a town where I used to protect the weak! What the boys in blue did to this guy, is unspeakable! No wonder they broke or destroyed all the evidence.
      Anyone remember the Linderman case in L.O., Knocked down his fence and when he tried to protect his horses, beat him and almost shot him, female cop pulls her gun when gentleman Linderman started resisting,”Freeze” she shouted it is alleged her own Sargent belted her and knocked her down, gun sliding to a stop in the dirt! This is all hearsay, from his daughter who watched in horror. He moved to Washington, and is doing well after loosing his case in supreme court. This guy got lucky!

      (5) 19 Total Votes - 12 up - 7 down
  5. mccdave says:

    And another mystery: why was this poor guy even prosecuted? So the cops charged him and prosecutors proceeded? (Does the County DA have a choice in such a case?) Just another instance of people dumping on someone and refusing to acknowledge what they’ve done.

    (40) 48 Total Votes - 44 up - 4 down
    • Cindy says:

      I agree, they only charged him to try and cover up their own ‘criminal’ behavior. Beat the poor man up in his own house and then throw him in jail. This guy should have asked for a jury trial, I’d give him seven digits and send a message.

      (34) 42 Total Votes - 38 up - 4 down
  6. mccdave says:

    With all the misconduct and incompetence of local cops, you have to wonder whether it’s worse here than in the big city. The LAPD is infamous and the Cambridge, MA police recently achieved infamy, but do our cops out-sleaze them? I’ve seen enough myself to have completely lost trust.

    (32) 48 Total Votes - 40 up - 8 down
  7. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    Ah SLO’s finest are at it again!!!!!!!!

    The guy is on the ground, in cuffs and they force is eyelids open to pepper spray him?? Tell me this is a joke?? WHAT KIND OF THREAT IS A HANDCUFFED MAN AGAINST ARMED POLICE!!! And they hadn’t found the gun yet so no reason for this BULLSH*T!! Have any of these fine ASSH*LE officers been fired? Any of these buddies of our border cops? Unreal.

    Again to those out there defending pay of SLO officers. Is this what a hundred k per officer gets you?

    (45) 55 Total Votes - 50 up - 5 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      And where any of these accociated with the wrong bust in A-town this past summer in the Laundry mat?

      (15) 25 Total Votes - 20 up - 5 down
    • Cindy says:

      I was apphauled that they maced him the first time, they were in the mans house and had no business frisking him to begin with. But the forcing his eyes open to spray him a second time! These are BAD cops and they are dangerous. We need to get them off the streets. Wonder what kind of complaints are in their records?

      (30) 40 Total Votes - 35 up - 5 down
      • not suprized says:

        Please dont be suprized by any of this. As a life time SLO county resident I have seen this kind of stuff alot out of the SLO PD. Before Cal Coast news there wasn’t anyone that exposed it. The SLO PD. is as crooked as it gets. Always has been like there all from the North County or something. When Ian Parkinson is handed the Sherrifs job you will all learn about him too. His love life has a very colorfull past! Sorry wont elaborate affriad I will be next on the SS Slo polices hit list. As in any organization there not all bad. But the good ones seem to not stick around along time. Its a very sad thing but us life long residents are used to it. Anyone else remember who really started the Poly Royal riots? and it goes on and on. I hope Mr. Miline has a full recovery. And I hope some day soon The SLO PD. is cleaned up and becomes a first rate organization. But I really doubt it ever will!!

        (15) 21 Total Votes - 18 up - 3 down

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