San Luis Obispo Sheriff deputy’s Playboy rebuttal

December 21, 2010

Darren Murphy


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 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 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 The commentators focus on the constitutionality of Murphy and his fellow deputies entering the suspect’s home after arresting him in the front yard.”



  1. Crusader says:

    Darren Murphy is such a loser. He needs to be canned…

    (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
    • Crusader says:

      The should also disbar him — using flowery language of course.

      (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
  2. danger ranger says:

    Keep in mind Murph is also a practicing attorney and should know and understand search and seizure. With 27 years of service he would retire at 81 percent of his current base salary for a pension. I feel he should have the plug pulled on such a generous pension and his career in law enforcement as well as the other few deputies who went rogue on that day in Paso. They do not deserve to wear the badge.

    (8) 14 Total Votes - 11 up - 3 down
  3. Medic 11 says:

    I was not intending to write another post. But in light of the early morning phone call I received from the SLOC Sheriff’s Department, I feel I must post again.

    Early this morning (1:40AM) I received a phone call from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. They informed us that a double homicide suspect is believed to be in our area. They gave a full description along with vehicle. It was comforting to get a call like that. My Remington 12 gauge loaded with 7 rounds of 00 buckshot stayed by my bedside until dawn. This suspect would be about as dangerous as they come. It’s all rural, medium to large ranches out here. Only a few roads. No doubt this person was apprehended by now.

    My wife said they used the reverse 911 system to find our phone number. Ours is not listed and I am glad the system could find a non listed number. This is a first for me.

    While most of us were sleeping and dreaming of a well spent Christmas day, our county law enforement was out on an extremely dangerous mission, to find a double homicide suspect. Suspects like this have nothing to lose if they kill again. While we would try to leave the proximity of such a person, our local law enforement heads towards the threat.

    Lets remember that our deputy sheriff’s place their life on the line on calls like this. Their families have to live with it every day they work.

    Article below is from about the time of our warning call. No update as of yet.

    Shooting kills two near Santa Margarita
    Suspect fled in a stolen truck after double homicide on Pozo Road, Sheriff’s Department says

    By Jonah Owen Lamb

    Two people were shot to death inside a house Saturday in a double homicide near Santa Margarita Lake, the Sheriff’s Department said.

    The Sheriff’s Department received a call at 6:30 p.m. of shots fired at the 5900 block of West Pozo Road.

    The suspect is believed to be a white male, approximately 28 years old, wearing a red hooded sweatshirt, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Rob Bryn said………..

    (1) 15 Total Votes - 8 up - 7 down
    • Spork says:

      Please do not cut and paste articles from other publications. A link and excerpt is fine.
      Some respect please. Questions to

      (-5) 11 Total Votes - 3 up - 8 down
    • fosgat says:

      What a crock!!! This is just another feeble attempt to divert the public from the real issue and that is that Mr. Hart got screwed! This other event was nowhere near Jardine and nowhere even close. I would say nice try but how moronic. And personally I’m getting so sick of hearing these types of law breaking cops being glorified on how they put their lives on the line every time they put on their uniform. On the danger scale their not even in the top 50 most dangerous jobs. Take for instance the iron worker-coal miner-fisherman-carpenter etc, they all work jobs that are much more dangerous each and every day but nobody has learned how to make money from tv shows like all the crap we are inundated with every night and day. Check the stats!!! People need to realize that if we are to give free passes to law breaking criminal cops like these jerks who pulled this on Hart and MALIGNED(to use Darren Murphy’s whine), him and cost him thousands in legal fees which is something they have pulled on him before in 2002 along with many other innocent citizen’s, we will have the worst kind of criminal possible to deal with-DIRTY COPS! The worst form of scum known to any free society and the end of freedom as we think we know it. I am embarrased to know that we have such types in law enforcement in this county and not only do I believe Mr. Hart should be compensated for all that they cost him physically and financially but they owe him one hell of an apology and the firing of those officers involved. How it turned out is a travesty to justise and a sign that we should open our eyes and pay more attention to whats really going on in this county. This is exactly the type of crap our forefathers warned us about and made it clear that it is our patriotic duty to see that it is stopped dead in it’s tracks. I am embarrassed to say I’m Kalifornian and especially that I live in a county as corrupt by our civil servants as is SLO. Move? The corrupt can move! This has been my home all my life, how about these a-holes? Not Murphy, he’s your typical LA transplant who thinks we’re just a bunch of hillbillys and perps. Nothing is more disgusting in this country than a man/woman that takes an oath to defend the Constitution and to Serve and Protect the citizens by it but would rather sell out his very soul by being a dirty cop, the lowest form of criminal bar none!

      (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
  4. willie says:

    Really think, rewid and entertain another senario:

    What if the vedio did NOT exist for Matt Hart’s Defense?
    How would his credibility or testimony stand up against the testimony of a group of LEO and where would he be now!
    Matt Hart’s defense would not hold water and he would be in jail with a compound criminal history.

    Not even the President and Governor has that kind of power.
    Congress can declare war (legalized murder) but the reason is clear and apparent.

    The only thing an average person can suspect is if a LEO can do something like, then the same can be done to anyone for any reason, even murder!

    (10) 10 Total Votes - 10 up - 0 down
    • willie says:

      I seen him around in the past, he does not strike me as an officious or arrogant person.
      One thing for sure, He is experiencing bad judgement.

      (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
      • willie says:

        Before Murphy is allowed to retire or terminated, the public is owed an explaination as to why he did what he did by both the SLOSO and the DA’s office.

        (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
        • jeremy fisher says:

          I believe that he’s already gone.

          (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  5. WiseGuy says:

    Maybe if the LEADER of the department was not continually trying to avoid public scrutiny, ducking the media, and rarely, if ever being forthcoming with the citizens who elected him, the department would not be so widely disrespected and untrusted.

    Time and again there have just been too many bad decisions and controversies surrounding the SLO County Sheriff’s department and the public never seems to get any satisfactory answers. There doesn’t even appear to be the slightest effort by the department to provide the public with satisfactory answers. Instead, we are fed cliches, propaganda, obfuscation, and all kinds of other B.S. And this is only regarding the messes that are well-known to the public.

    Who knows what else is rotting among the ranks and who else has had their rights abused?

    Enough with the lame excuses already!

    (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
  6. Medic 11 says:

    I have read all these posts. Everyone in this great country is entitled to their opinion. Often we develop an opinion having only known a partial amount of information regarding the subject. In times of economic and political stress we often become vengeful and aim our frustrations at an incident or person that may not always be deserving of our emotions.

    The type of call, Mr. Hart, the search, and was there ‘malice aforethought’ on the deputies side. These seem to be the main issues most posters are concerned about.

    Here is my opinion having worked side by side with many of the SLOC Deputy Sheriffs;

    I do not know 100% of the facts.

    Having trusted my physical well being many times to the personnel of the SLOC Sheriff’s Department, I never felt uncomfortable or disresepcted by any I worked with. In fact, at times the local residnt deputy would often go out of his way to provide an extra veil of safety to myself and partner as well as the community. I witnessed professional dedication as the years passed by all the deputies I came in contact with.

    No one is perfect on every call of their career. I myself am no exception to that statement. I see much frustration in these posts that possibly could be handled and defused by a face to face with the SLOC Sheriff’s Public Information Officer or whoever they may appoint to undertake such a request. There may be a number of facts none of us know about. I would suggest to call or drive to the SLOC Sheriff’s Headquarters and ask the duty Sergeant how to discuss any issues you may have. Please give them a chance to explain any questions you may have and find out their side.

    I see an issue with the search. But I admit knowing nothing about the circumstances. It may not be 100% what it seems. I cannot speculate without knowing every detail, as even one detail can alter a scenario. I would have to walk a mile in Deputy Murphy’s moccasins myself before I felt I could talk negative of him. Deputy Murphy may be under extreme stress. I hope all you out there in cyber land would afford me the same had I possibly fallen from grace on any particular call. The positive portion of this was that no one was injured. Every day there are law enforement related shootings because a deputy or officer asked an individual not to stick their hands in their pockets. It doesn’t matter if you are retrieving a candy bar, a handkerchief, a cell phone or a weapon. Please never do that when asked not to.

    I am a gun owner and have many legal weapons. I like training and taking all the courses I can afford to develop my skill level. I shoot on my property and have never been approached my any deputy from the department. I follow all city/county/state and federal gun laws including the purchase of, the type of, carrying on my person, what properties or areas to not have guns in my vehicle and or on my person, and the transporting of handguns or rifles in my vehicles. In short, after watching the video, I would still have no fear or reason to be afraid of our county law enforement and certainly would accommodate any requests if they happen to drive onto my property. You never know what they know. It could be they are trying to get to an incident related right behind your property that could eventually harm you. The deputies do not have time to explain in detail why they showed up and why they are asking what they are from you. It’s all about safety and defusing a given situation. It could be a lot more complicated than what you see on the surface. The point is, follow their orders as there is time afterwards for discussion.

    The incident in question is an extremely rare example, considering the thousands of calls that take place every year. I’ll go out in public, right here on this forum, and state that the SLOC Sheriff’s Deputies have an excellent overall record when compared to other counties.

    Let’s please give the SLOC Sheriff’s Department a chance to discuss any of your concerns by contacting them and advising them you are uncomfortable with one of more issues. At least that way the department as well as Deputy Murphy gets a fair chance to defend themselves from public opinion. Maybe appoint Dan Blackburn as your liaison if he is willing. A professional approach may bring you answers to your questions.

    Retired Public Servant

    (5) 21 Total Votes - 13 up - 8 down
    • WiseGuy says:

      Maybe if the LEADER of the department was not continually trying to avoid public scrutiny, ducking the media, and rarely, if ever being forthcoming with the citizens who elected him, the department would not be so widely disrespected and untrusted.

      Time and again there have just been too many bad decisions and controversies surrounding the SLO County Sheriff’s department and the public never seems to get any satisfactory answers. There doesn’t even appear to be the slightest effort by the department to provide the public with satisfactory answers. Instead, we are fed cliches, propaganda, obfuscation, and all kinds of other B.S. And this is only regarding the messes that are well-known to the public. Who knows what else is rotting among the ranks and who else has had their rights abused?

      Enough with the lame excuses already!

      (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
    • fosgat says:

      Are you new to this area because if you aren’t you have had your head buried in the sand. You wouldn’t want to here the sloco sheriffs past screw-ups and outright lawlessness, even murders! And I have seen the DVD’s in there entirety and I’m suprised that Mr. Blackburn left some very disturbing things out. To play the DVD’s in their entirety would do Murphy, J. Welles, and Eric Twisselman and others NO FAVORS!!! Believe me. Mr. Blackburn could have done much worse to these officers and our legal systems outlook. One thing I find Shocking still is not only did these morons break the law, conspire to break the law and laugh about it and nothing was done about it but that they gave Mr. Hart a fine for doing absolutely nothing wrong then expect him to pay for a public defender who didn’t do anything for him whatsoever. Mr. Hart now lives off SSDI from injuries he received by some blundering idiots who tried to get away with the same lies and false reporting, concocting lies and false events to keep them (the officers), from getting in trouble for violating Mr. Hart’s rights and injuring him from the beating they gave him but when they were caught lying in their reports and on the stand under oath they made a deal and gave him Factual Innocents (IF) he promised not to sue the cops or the county. This poor guy has been through HELL with sloco and slosd. They ruined his career his health and his name which they promised they would not do telling him there would be no record of the 2002 affair anywhere but they lied as I heard it brought up in the Murphy DVD. When you can’t trust the cops or the DA, it’s time to get rid of the moldy liars and get some honest truthful people and replace the lying scumbags. Try walking in Mr. Hart’s shoes my friend for we have all seen where the SLOCo sheriffs and D.A’s office have walked for a long time and it’s been the wrong direction!

      (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  7. WiseGuy says:

    It’s nice to see the bleeding-heart, tree-hugger liberals and the fascist, hate-monger right-wing bigots are coming together in agreement: The San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department is a mess to the point that it is endangering the safety and freedom of innocent citizens and that officers there continue to display terrible judgment in the course of their duties.

    Yes, we know it is not all of the department’s personnel that are the worst offenders. But SOMEONE in that department needs to step forward and acknowledge the disease that is rotting the department from the inside out. The “good” officers need to call out the ones who continually break the law and in other ways threaten the integrity and well-being of this community.

    (12) 12 Total Votes - 12 up - 0 down
    • LensCleaner says:

      Anyone who thinks Parkinson will fix things better think again …. for he is cut from the same cloth.

      (14) 16 Total Votes - 15 up - 1 down
  8. trebor86 says:

    9 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

    (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down

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