Deputies transgressions caught on videotape

July 16, 2010

Deputy Darren Murphy is at right.

Which has the most weight in a court of law — the testimony of a law enforcement official, or that of an average, law-abiding citizen?

A rare opportunity to see, and hear, how some San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputies view the U.S. Constitution is contained in a 22-minute “mini-documentary” on a news website just launched. That opportunity is presented by deputies themselves, talking into their shoulder microphones and standing in front of their vehicle-mounted cameras.

In this case, the recordings tilt the argument in favor of the citizen… in a big way.

Deputy Darren Murphy is featured in the first video report by KCCN.tv, a project of Central Coast News Agency. Murphy leads a squad of heavily armed deputies into the yard of a North County man,  then into the man’s house , and ultimately, into a locked gun safe. Sheriff’s department recordings made by the deputies themselves clearly illustrate their lack of concern for individual rights; deputies can be overheard manufacturing reasons for the intrusion into the home, the gun safe, and for the pending arrest of longtime resident Matt Hart.

The video report is the first of what Central Coast News Agency editor Daniel Blackburn says will be monthly offerings by the new Web site.

Blackburn, who helped found CalCoastNews.com, cited “Deputy Murphy’s uncensored, darkly disturbing observations and behavior following his Code 3 arrival at the rural home of Hart. Those utterances were picked up by Murphy’s and other deputies’ own recorders,” Blackburn said.

“Those recordings provide a rare, frighteningly revealing, behind-the-scenes perspective of how one local law enforcement agency views the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and other laws its personnel are sworn to uphold,” he said.

Watch the full video documentary at KCCN.tv. Note, you may have to download plug-ins in order to view the video.


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jeanbug

This is pretty scary. The sheriff’s department needs to start being accountable for their employees. It’s not just the deputies, but also their correctional officers and jail guards. The sheriff’s department is becoming famous for circling the wagons when their employees break the law. They will go to any length to keep it quiet, cover it up, and make sure nobody finds out about it so their deputies and officers can go back to work, abusing their positions and committing offenses. I hope CCN can keep helping to expose some of these scandals within the county, so we can start weeding out the people who don’t deserve to call themselves “protectors of the community”.


Speaking of, Karen I heard you on the Congalton show, talking about some story you’re working on about two county employees who filed a false report. Are you still going to be posting something about that? I think we’re all pretty curious! Keep up the good work!


JordanJ

I would be interested in knowing if the Sheriffs Dept suppressed the video evidence from Matt’s initial attorney? I suspect they did, otherwise this would have come out a long time ago. What attorney would throw his client to the wolves when he had evidence like this. Even if the client couldn’t afford the fees for representation during the criminal trial the attorney would know how much could be recouped on the civil rights suit against the government. If the evidence of the video was suppressed then I would say that Matt deserves a new hearing and the Sheriffs Dept can add this charge to all the rest that they are guilty of.

Many people have faulted Matt for reaching for his cell phone while at gun point and have asked what he was thinking. I agree that he used very poor judgment but it was also apparent to me why he reacted like he did . When Matt was ordered to put his weapon down and approach the deputies with his hands up, he complied. The entire time that he was approaching the deputies, they continued to hold him at gun point while demanding that his hands remain above his head. This was confusing Matt because he had complied and disarmed himself. If you watch, he is trying to show the deputies that what he has on his waist band is a cell phone. He turns toward them so they can see it but they are now yelling get on the ground. He reaches with two fingers while yelling , cell phone, cell phone cell phone. I’m certain he was under stress at the time with all the guns pointed at him and wanted to assure them that he wasn’t armed so that they would stop with the overwhelming threat of force that they were posturing.

I don’t like to see the citizens sued by citizens but this is a serious crime that was committed by our LE. I believe that it will be necessary for a law suit against our gov reps to prevail if we are going to protect our civil rights. Those rights are invaluable and no amount of money is worth compromising our 4th amendment right to be secure in our homes, free from unreasonable search and seizure etc. Matt deserves a large settlement. The deputies deserve jail time. Matt , it is my opinion that you will do all the citizens of this county a great service if you sue us for all we are worth.


Thanks Dan Blackburn for bringing this event to our attention, including the person who did the right thing and made the tapes available.


Thanks Calguns for bringing in the “big guns” to assist Matt. You are assisting all of us.


I am told that other media outlets are attempting to obtain copies of the tapes so that they can verify the story and report on it. I know KSBY has been trying to investigate for a couple of days now.


choprzrul

CalGuns.net rocks! The non-profit CalGuns Foundation provides legal assistance to CA gun owners who have been wronged. With nearly 56,000 members, if you have a question, someone will be able to give you a great answer.


Ladybird12

Until you walk in the shoes of the men and women who leave home every day with the knowledge that there are people everywhere who would take their lives just because they wear a uniform, you cannot possibley understand the mind set of those deputies. From the very beginning of their law enforcement careers, they are taught that the #1 thing to watch for with any suspect is their hands. Those deputies had no idea what was in Matt’s pocket and they continually warned him to keep his hands in the air. While it may seem harsh, to the general public, these guys have watched too many videos of members of the law enforcement community lose their lives because they allowed someone to reach into their pockets. There is also a little something that is called suicide by cop.


I would hope that if I had heard shots fired near my home that the cops would arrive ready for a gun fight if necessary. I would also hope that they would not be naive enough just accept the word of a man who they just saw holding a riffle. It would have been more inexcusable of them to not enter that house and be certain that no one had been harmed inside. They were also under an obligation to confirm that the weapons that they found were registered. Imagine if they did not take them and something happened after they left. They do not have the luxury of hoping things are on the up an up.


It is their job to consider the worst case senarios and proceed as if the worst could have happened. It is also their job to decide what the law will allow them to do and that involves discussion. They were not trying to manufacture a way to get in, they were trying to decide if they had a legal right to do so.


Cindy

They knew the guns were registered. The dispatcher informed them that he had those weapons and that they were all registered. They knew it was illegal to open the safe. They also arrested Matt with a bunch of bogus charges, thus compounding the violation of his civil rights . How do you explain that ladybird12? We all saw the video and heard what the officers were thinking and how they were thinking. If these officers weren’t so dangerous I’d say that we don’t need bozo the clown speeding around in his car with the circus lights flashing but this is beyond funny, they are criminals. I would like to see them brought to justice, every one of them and stripped of their LE credentials, as would 98% of the citizens that saw the video and read the story.


Crusader

“OK, what an asshole! I think we need to go in and clear the house” — Deputy Darren Murphy


Crusader

Note to Sheriff Hedges:


You need to teach your deputies firearms safety. The way they climbed over Mr. Hart’s gate with their firearms in tow was both unprofessional and dangerous. It wouldn’t be tolerated in a hunting situation or at a public range and it shouldn’t be tolerated by law enforcement officers.


I now realize some of these deputies are rather limited by birth, but they should be able to do better than this…


racket

It also screws up the hinges when they climb over the free end, rather than the hinged end.


Crusader

I was sorta amazed they were able to make it over at all…


cheseburger

Make it over or crawl under one thing is for sure, the hardware they carry, could sure blow one heck of a big hole in you, if they goofed or you stumbled, or were dumb enough to reach for a cell phone holster. There are guns small enough to fit in a cell phone holder would be there defense argument and it would work. In closing it is much easier to cooperate then to close the gaping wound in your abdomen. Or to put it in words we can all understand, “it is their boat”.

Not that I like it that way, but that is the way it is, sorry to have to say this but if they had shot him dead, in this county, unfortunately no charges would be brought against the officers. ” Hands up, no I said lay down, no, “blam”, I said sit down, oops, er, chief?


Crusader

True.


They seemed like the sort that should crawl under…


cheseburger

You got me, LOL, my thoughts exactly! I’m still laughing! I can’t stop.


Dan Blackburn

Matt Hart has informed me that shortly after Dave Congalton’s Home Town Radio show ended last night, Matt was notified by the Public Defender’s office that his guns would be returned (minus one lower receiver) as soon as a judge signs off on the deal. After two years and four months, a coincidence?


Kevin Rice

Great! Except Mr. Hart shouldn’t stop there. He should get his record cleared, plus a nice check to buy a new receiver, plus the D.A. and Sheriff should be investigated by the DOJ and Atty. General’s office.


Crusader

Hurray! Do you happen to know if the firearm in question was an AR-15 variant? Is the PD’s office refusing to give back the lower receiver because it’s one that is banned here in California?


R.Hodin

Used to be that most sensible people would be deterred from jumping a fence if there was a sign “Trespassers will be shot” but that probably is just the sort of sign that gets a cop’s adrenaline going.


Perhaps a sign reading “Trespassers will be videotaped” would be more effective?


Crusader

“If I have to go in there myself…I’ll charge him with anything I can find” — Dep. Darren Murphy


Cindy

I was just reading some very interesting posts


Post #12 from a retired Oregon State Trooper sums it all up well as do many other posts. Check out post 13, you’ll be laughing at how dumb these gun loving deputies, who know very little about guns are!