San Luis Obispo Sheriff deputy’s Playboy rebuttal
December 21, 2010
By DANIEL BLACKBURN
A San Luis Obispo Sheriff deputy accused of an unconstitutional raid of an Atascadero man’s home and gun safe in 2008 has chosen the December issue of Playboy magazine to make his first public comments.
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Murphy broke his silence in the “Forum” section of the men’s magazine, saying a 23-minute video produced by Central Coast News Agency and posted on KCCN.tv caused him to be “maligned online.”
Comments made in the video by Murphy and a handful of acquiescent associates were captured on their own vehicle recorders; viewers hear and see the deputies manufacturing cause to enter the home, then a gun safe, and then colluding to bring a packet of bogus charges against the homeowner, Matt Hart.
“The Hart Locker: SLO Sheriff Sacking the Fourth Amendment” has been viewed by more than 2.8 million people worldwide. Murphy’s letter to Playboy has created new national interest in the documentary, and KCCN.tv has been receiving dozens of comments from viewers across the nation.
Neither Murphy nor his department supervisors have ever commented on the video for San Luis Obispo County consumption.
In the “Forum” section of the magazine under the heading “Can The Camera Lie?” Murphy writes:
“As a 27-year veteran of street patrol work, I am encouraged by Martin Prieb’s observations in August (“Life on Camera”) about the ambiguity cops face every day. This past summer a website posted squad-car footage taken two years ago during my arrest of a man in an incident involving the use of a firearm.
“This selectively edited footage caused me to be maligned online. When our department installed dashboard cameras 25 years ago, I was one of the few deputies in favor of ‘the sergeant in the trunk,’ telling my co-workers it could save their ass.
“Now I’m not so sure. Society has every right to expect officers to perform their duties in a lawful manner. But when the citizenry uses tools intended to protect all parties to wrongfully attack officers, the incentive to put your ass on the line is greatly diminished. A society that makes war with its police had better make friends with its criminals. Darren Murphy, Atascadero, California.”
The Playboy editors responded: “You can view the edited footage of the arrest at www.kccn.tv. The commentators focus on the constitutionality of Murphy and his fellow deputies entering the suspect’s home after arresting him in the front yard.”