SLO deputies crimes slipping under the radar?

September 7, 2010

OPINION By DANIEL BLACKBURN

San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s deputies Darren Murphy, Matt Terrell, Jay Wells, Jason Nefores and detective Eric Twisselman.

Remember these names: They are sheriff’s personnel who — according to The Tribune’s opinionated columnist/unbiased news reporter Bob Cuddy — acted in 2008 in “clear violation of the Fourth Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution. And who “conspired to justify their illegal entry after they had illegally entered” — also Cuddy’s words. Before we go any further, anyone see a crime under color of authority here? Where’s the outrage?

Cuddy spent 67 inches of ink on a Labor Day Sunday morning finding fault with (a) the private, law-abiding citizen whose rights were trampled by these uniformed, badge-carrying, tax-paid fellows; (b) the Internet; and (c) me.

His column centered around a video report by Central Coast News Agency about the clearly unlawful antics of sheriff’s deputies as they responded to a ‘shots fired” call and then proceeded to “go ballistic” (Cuddy’s words again). They broke into the victim’s house, took his keys from him and opened a gun safe, confiscated more than a dozen registered firearms, and arrested him — all the while chatting on their own videotapes. It was all so clear, all so egregious, all so indisputable, that the response worldwide was fast and overwhelming — 2.6 million views to date in more than 100 countries worldwide. Comments from law enforcement veterans and just plain citizens poured in. CalGuns.net got involved, and tens of thousands of gun enthusiasts and others concerned about this kind of behavior chimed in.

And in San Luis Obispo County? Six weeks of silence. Shame on those who have a voice and refuse to use it.

My response to Cuddy’s nonsense? Bob, this isn’t about Matt Hart, the victim. It’s not about the reporter (and his 22-minute video) telling Hart’s story. It’s not even about that new-fangled Internet thing. It’s about… how did you term it? “Conspired?” “Illegally entered?” Provable criminal actions by sworn law enforcement?

This would be a topic of huge interest in a normal community. And it would be a front-page headline in a real daily newspaper.

So, too, would be Cuddy’s assertion that according to the sheriff’s Chief Deputy Rob Reid, deputies are now undergoing ‘added training” as a result of this incident. But both of these newsworthy items disappeared in a sea of ink in a column containing conclusions about just about everything, except the obvious: These are the identities of the guys who put on their uniform one morning and went out to break the law. Who conspired to cover their actions in the cloak of respectability. Who got their supervisors to go along with the charade. And who with a shrug of their shoulders decided to insult the law and those it is designed to protect.

So other than the empty claim of a little training change for deputies, what has been the outcome of this sad situation?

Nothing. Nada. The department’s rotund civilian spinmeister, Rob Bryn, refused to provide copies of the three tapes in question to Cuddy and New Times’ reporter, Robert A. McDonald. Instead, Bryn offered the “opportunity” for the reporters to see and hear portions of the tapes at sheriff’s headquarters.

Bryn told McDonald,  “You’ll have to submit a freedom of information request for those. I’ll say no. Then here’s how it will go. You’ll sue. You’ll lose. End of story.” How’s that for public service?

Then Bryn trotted out Reid for a few minutes of face time with Cuddy, one of the few local reporters to whom department officials will talk. Cuddy later told me that Bryn and Reid “helped” interpret what he was hearing.

Bryn’s current methodology in defense of his fellow lawbreakers has been to launch a whispering campaign to disparage the victim and the video, a campaign aimed at key community luminaries and addressing everything except the real issue: the sheriff’s deputies broke the law and remain undisciplined.

Maybe I’m just getting old (Cuddy says I’m 67, same age as him) but it seems that in days past, if one local media got the shaft from some pompous public mouthpiece, it would create a gang-type reaction. Public information was eventually served. Freedom was advance.

I’m forced to conclude that no one really gives a damn anymore. Maybe folks believe there is no way to stem the decline of our Constitutionally-guaranteed liberties. Maybe.

But I hope not. All we really have to do is stand up and be counted when obvious crimes are committed by our own law enforcement, particularly when we know that we have our own eyes and ears as witnesses.

I was really hoping I wouldn’t ever have to write this particular column. Who wants to butt heads with the law? I thought other media would pick up the ball and run with it. Silly me.

Where is the champion to further this discussion? Where is the collective anger?

Dan Blackburn is editor of CentralCoastNewsAgency.com, and can be reached at djblackburn@charter.net.


Loading...

27 Comments

  1. Moderator says:

    In reply to Moderator. CHESEBURGER SAID:(in another thread)
    This will re up the the pause in the conversation, off topic sorry, but if you have an open mind at all about what is truly right or wrong read this, missing post.

    Darren Murphy “If I have to go there myself I’m going to charge him with something”, these two entities have had prior contact; the guy was provoking them instead of driving to a legal shooting range. This is truly not a cop haters web site, so we should look at things scrupulously and twice and from both sides, like Darren Murphy’s side, did this guy provoke in any shape form or manner this incident to happen.

    ” After firing only one shot. “,,, ”THAT TIME” you provoke cops see what you get, bottom line it’s their boat and I am not one of them, nor do I agree with V.O.A. ,,, he’s a few short of a six pack, fire up that target range in your back yard and see what you get, stupid gets what stupid does.
    The video just seemed like it left out the part where this cell phone slinging set up genius, had been warned several times to not shoot on his property, then he did it with the intent to see the consequences and waited between a truck and a car with a rifle, when told to put his hands up several times , he puts then up then reaches for a cell phone holster, HOLSTER the word means device to carry a gun,(to weird, what does he want a gaping hole in his stomach). After closely reviewing the video I feel it was a set up and a pretty dammed good one at that, I am all for civil rights, watch the video again and see if you think they may have left out any important info, like in plain English, teasing the cops. Kind of like teasing a pit-bull in this county
    He may be innocent but one thing last time I checked “It’s still there boat!”
    Oh the part that gave it away, “After firing only one shot from a 22 caliber…….”
    Just seems like they set up the cops, and it is illegal for them to bait us like the snipers do in down there in Afghanistan, I hope it is. Or do all the cop hater still want to play like kids and say turn about is fare play, where does it end, maybe ask the terminator, or the attorney General Gerald Brown, but a lot here simply sway with the wind and scream sin, I for one and I think it’s right, to look very deeply into both sides of this flight, just to see with both sights, before you guys traumatize all are highly trained men in uniform with your drama and lynch mob, hey these guys have a tough job and I know how I get, when some one is teasing me, look at both sides to be fare, not square, and the fact is real cops read this stuff and laugh like the funnies, wait until calcoastnews gets a bumper sticker!
    The cops can’t wait, and yes I would be afraid to put one on my vehicle.

    (-10) 18 Total Votes - 4 up - 14 down
    • Bob2010 says:

      If it was a set up, there would be other video and most likely a witness.

      No, I don’t believe this was a set up, I believe this is what it is. A angry deputy, backed by a group of like minded deputies who takes the law into his/their own hands and acts as their own lynch mob with no fear of accountability or consequences.

      Why is this happening?

      Simple reasons. Our sheriff is not leader, lacks integrity and public trust, questionable management practices and policies at best, lack of accountability and minimal consequences for misdeeds or lack of professionalism.

      In the eyes of the public, our sheriffs department under Sheriff Hedges tenure has evolved into a tarnished, untrusted, and non respected law enforcement agency.

      Let’s hope Cortez can make great changes in the sheriffs department, or at least start it on the right path towards professionalism and respectability!

      (13) 19 Total Votes - 16 up - 3 down
      • cheseburger says:

        2010 I am also voting for Cortez, but if you aren’t smart enough to see, a set up and know the consequences, of a set up gone wrong, blood every where, the “gaping hole in the stomach”, oh you wanted to see that, cops are trained to shoot a man who reaches for a holster, even a cell phone holster, Darren Murphy could have shot him full of holes legally, is that what you wanted to see? Please debate? Darren down deep is a good cop and a good judge of character, if it were his first visit to this residence then he would of shot him, maybe, ( I would of, in the leg just for reaching for his stupid cell phone, was he answering it or calling the coroner) it seems to me there is a lot left unsaid in Darren’s defense, but he was once cool and I believe he can be rehabilitated!

        (-11) 17 Total Votes - 3 up - 14 down
  2. Jay0991 says:

    These posts are out of control. Instead of just focusing in on the illegal behavior of the mentioned deputies people are using this as an excuse to rip apart and discredit all law enforcement. Saying officers and deputies make too much money? Ridiculous. Saying they hide behind their $300 glasses. Really? Will you do the job? NO. I am glad law enforcement is finally well paid, they deserve it. When you preach this hatred for law enforcement you are promoting violence towards our officers. Do not forget that they chose a career where their lives are on the line everyday…and don’t say that not here in SLO county. I saw a guy on the street with a t-shirt on that read “I love dead cops.” WTF. People like this and the ignorant people on this site promote violence. Yes, these corrupt deputies should be dealt with harshly, but don’t blatantly say all law enforcement are the same.

    (-3) 27 Total Votes - 12 up - 15 down
    • Crusader says:

      A new non-degreed, essentially non-skilled COP in SLO makes $125K/year due to a collective bargaining scam. SLO City taxpayers are being screwed. Take your outrage and shove it.

      (15) 27 Total Votes - 21 up - 6 down
      • cheseburger says:

        Right on crusader, kudos, most hate me, I am not pro cop, only pro transparency! The ones behind the desks making the big money are over paid, and I feel all are over paid and getting a little bulge around the waste to prove it, a lot of people I know say this belly’s paid for, but did they earn it? Please respond I am back out of meantal health restrains and still kickin. No those are not spelling errors.

        (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
  3. mkaney says:

    You can add another item to the long list of things which make our Sheriff’s department a dangerous joke. Take a look at the following warning issued by the department:

    http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/7/2010/09/pedo1.jpg
    http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/7/2010/09/pedo2.jpg

    They have taken an internet joke and misconstrued it in the most horrible way. These people are downright STUPID. If they can’t even tell a real threat from a humor (albeit bad taste), how can we expect them to protect anyone from anything.

    (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
  4. CCWheelers says:

    OPINION By DANIEL BLACKBURN

    Thank you Daniel Blackburn and CalCoastNews.com.

    I think most of us know that Mr. Cortez will win the election. We need to make sure Mr. Cortez has the need help to clean house and make our “Peace” officers a little less aggressive. No one likes a bully.

    I see many problems with Angry “Law Enforcement”… Even the name say’s “I Can Shoot You”…..

    … that is not where I want my tax dollars going.

    With agencies like that… less funding the better.

    (27) 39 Total Votes - 33 up - 6 down
    • North County says:

      I work in the legal field and see reports from our local agencies all the time. I know it is getting worse, not better. Lies in police reports are common, not uncommon. The dash cam videos that we have used to prove this in the court system are more frequent than I would have ever belived. I have witnessed D.A.’s help facilitate lies in court and judges that simply choose to believe that there must be some explanation or ignore it. I have to deal with devestated citizens who are unfairly charged or mischarged. I know there are bad guys who need to be punished but what about the everyday law abiding citizen who suddenly finds there life turned up side down? Did you know the d.a.’s office has immunity against being sued by citizens if they are found innocent or wrongly charged? Doesn’t everyone need to answer to someone? It’s the good ‘ol boys club and someone needs to hold them accountable. The trib continues to get smaller for a reason. They have their heads so far up law enforcements a__ that they can’t report fairly. We can’t drop this, someone has to hold these deputies accountable.

      (23) 29 Total Votes - 26 up - 3 down
  5. ApathyWillKillYou says:

    You can bitch and you can blog but there is only ONE person in SLO County that can prosecute and he just got elected unopposed to another term!

    June 8, 2010 Primary Election Results

    DISTRICT ATTORNEY
    Total Number of Precincts 146
    Precincts Reporting 146 100.0 %
    Vote For 1
    Times Counted 72706/154290 47.1 %
    Total Votes 54450
    Times Blank Voted 18252
    Times Over Voted 4
    Number Of Under Votes 0
    GERALD T. SHEA 53894 98.98%
    Write-in Votes 556 1.02%

    (11) 15 Total Votes - 13 up - 2 down
  6. ———————–Remember when the Tribune would would write the facts of a story? I am Glad we have Dan and Cal Coast News to bring us the stories that affect San Luis Obispo County Residents! http://www.governorarnoldschwarzenegger.net

    Dan, Thank You

    (22) 24 Total Votes - 23 up - 1 down
  7. Ron says:

    Interesting piece.

    Dan wrote:

    “Cuddy spent 67 inches of ink on a Labor Day Sunday morning finding fault with… (c) me.

    and;

    “… it seems that in days past, if one local media got the shaft from some pompous public mouthpiece, it would create a gang-type reaction. Public information was eventually served. Freedom was advance.

    So, let me see if I have this straight:

    A local reporter exposes an excellent story, and the other local media, instead of advancing the story, chooses to belittle the reporter, and then proceeds to completely ignore the excellent story?

    Huh… imagine that.

    Dan also wrote:

    “… what has been the outcome of this sad situation? Nothing. Nada.

    Dan, welcome to the party.

    Finally:

    “Shame on those who have a voice and refuse to use it.

    Amen, my brutha.

    [By the way, here’s the link to Cuddy’s piece.]

    (15) 21 Total Votes - 18 up - 3 down
  8. The Gimlet Eye says:

    Thugs is exactly what these guys are. Police brutality may or may not be more “common” than it was in the past, but it certainly is spreading via the Internet like wildfire, something which was not possible in the past. What I have seen in recent months of police brutality is really alarming!

    I regard these offenders with “extreme prejudice.”

    I assume that the plaintiff is going to sue, but no mention in the article about it. Anybody heard anything? He could very well wind up a rich man. From what I have seen, he deserves to be.

    As for the offenders, they should be fired, stripped of their pensions, and prosecuted to THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW!

    (20) 30 Total Votes - 25 up - 5 down

Comments are closed.