San Luis Obispo police report details fireman’s alleged assault

June 30, 2011

John Ryan Mason


New details about a man’s alleged assault and battery at the hands of a San Luis Obispo firefighter who was angry with those who disapproved of an affair he was having are revealed in a lengthy police report.

Even though the victim and the alleged assailant disagree over who was the aggressor during a June 4 incident at Pappy McGregor’s in San Luis Obispo that left Jory Brigham with four plates in his face and his jaw wired shut, both agree that the dispute started over a short Facebook post about the appropriateness of extra-martial relations, the police report says.

Fireman John Ryan Mason, 34, started having an affair with a neighbor of his in early 2011, the report says.

On January 27, Brigham, whose wife is best friends with Mason’s wife, wrote on his Facebook page, “It is blowing my mind recently how lightly marriage is taken, and how it is almost socially acceptable to walk out on your family.”

Mason took it personally and fired back with an aggressive post that has since been deleted and the men stayed away from each other until they encountered one another at a mutual friend’s June 4 wedding.

Nevertheless, their altercation would not be the first time Mason wanted to fight someone whom he felt disapproved of his lifestyle.

Following the incident at Pappy McGregor’s, police called on Travis Mello who was involved in a previous altercation with Mason at Mo Tav in April over an affair Mason was having with the wife of Mello’s cousin.

According to the police report, Mason approached Mello who was attending a birthday celebration and asked him to discuss the affair with him. Mello said he had nothing to say to Mason and asked him to leave him alone.

Mason refused and after several attempts to get Mello to talk, Mason challenged Mello to a fight. Mello said he did not want to fight and reminded Mason that he was a firefighter and his behavior was unacceptable, the report says.

Mello told police Mason got in his face, and he shoved Mason away. Mello said they began shoving each other though no punches were traded.

Bouncers interceded ejecting both men from the bar, the police report says.

When asked by officers about the fight at the wedding, Mello asked what wedding the officer was referring to. Mello then went on to tell the officer of a 1997 Los Osos wedding where Mello claimed Mason hit another man over the head with a champagne glass.

According to several eyewitnesses, however, Mason allegedly grabbed a full bottle of champagne and bashed Al Beavers, the owner of Al’s Septic Pumping Service, on the head because he thought he was ogling his date at the wedding.

However, Mason, who hit Beavers from behind, had mistaken the unsuspecting plumber for another man. Though San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies responded, Mason was never arrested for the alleged assault.

When police arrived at Pappy McGregor’s on June 4, they found a bloody and confused Brigham on the bathroom floor.

Brigham told police a very angry Mason followed him into the bathroom, where he told Mason, “Let’s squash it.”

“Dude, shut the fuck up,” Brigham said Mason replied, throwing a punch. Until he regained consciousness on the floor with his wife sitting beside him, Brigham said he had no further memory.

Earlier in the evening, while at the Cielo Cantina, Brigham said he tried to talk to Mason about putting the Facebook post behind them and that Mason became angry saying he knew Brigham was “still talking shit about him.”

Mason told police a different story. He said an agitated Brigham yelled out to him, saying he wanted to talk. Mason said Brigham then called him “cocky and arrogant.”

Mason told officers his sister-in-law and her boyfriend were at Cielos and could confirm his account. However, both the sister-in-law and her boyfriend told police Brigham’s account of the encounter at Cielos was correct.

Mason’s version of the altercation at Pappy McGregor’s is also in contrast with Brigham’s and several eyewitnesses statements to police.

Mason said he was standing at the urinal when Brigham came into the bathroom and began “chirping” at him. Mason said Brigham got into his personal space and pushed him.

Mason said he felt he had to either “get my butt kicked or fight back,” the report says. Mason said he hit Brigham in the face and he fell down, probably hitting his head on the wall.

However,  an eyewitness who said he did not personally know either Brigham or Mason, told police he walked into the bathroom and saw Mason acting very aggressively towards Brigham.

The eyewitness said Brigham repeatedly told Mason, “Lets not get into it. It’s Luca’s wedding. Let’s talk about this later,” according to the police report. The eyewitness left before the first punch was thrown.

Several witnesses, including a cab driver who had earlier refused to give Mason a ride because of his aggressiveness, said that Mason did not appear drunk although he seemed very agitated.

The next morning, on June 5, Mason called San Luis Obispo Fire Chief Charlie Hines and told his boss the “good news” was that he wasn’t arrested and that the “bad news” was that Brigham had extensive injuries, and he personally did not have a mark on him, the police report says.

Five days after the alleged assault, Mason was booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of assault with great bodily injury, battery with serious bodily injury, and inflicting great bodily injury while committing a felony.

Mason bailed out of jail and returned to work at the San Luis Obispo Fire Department. He has been placed on desk duty while the city performs an investigation.

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This guy has serious mental health issues and little, if no morals . . .

Any status updates about this violent stupid thug and his criminal proceedings?

I saw him playing golf the other day…

It’s funny reading all the posts about whether or not he was on drugs. I’ll tell you right now, that man needs some couch lock medical marijuana. If he had smoked some that day maybe he would have forgotten about that facebook ordeal and the fight would have never happened. In this case, this drug would have good in his system.

The delay in LE is understandable up to the point when the injuries were realized.

The FD has to follow Administrative protocol.

No witnesses inside and the Taxi outside witness or mentioned any alcohol or drug-like behavior, it would be to his benefit if they did and rehab would be required.

Five days to explain that the victim fell with aggressive unyielding behavior described by witnesses and those kinds of injuries do not match up.

Even a Gruella Dead Drop would not produced those type of injuries but unfortunate that no one witness what I see as a surprised assult followed by a brutal beating.

His photo resemble slightly the drawing of a suspect (with shorter hair) who punched a 15 year girl unprovoked with her mother in downtown SLO a year or two ago. His photo should be showned to the girl’s mother.

I see nothing wrong for the community to express their rant, concern and even speculation here.

Even if his attorney request a change of venue, it will not alter the facts, only the defense will, it is their job to punch holes.

That’s redonkulous about the suspect drawing of the girl who was hit downtown. Jeez.

Go back to the sketch drawing made by the PD. There is some simularities and the sketched drawing was a man with shorter hair. The target was likely in the back jaw nerve point which knocked out and broke the 15 year old girl’s jaw (it does both), the fall did not do it!

Just recall speculation, you never know and you could be surprised.

Look at the sketch drawing and the fast get away.

I know you have good faith but don’t have a closed mine, it can be your undoing


My apology.

If the case is still unsolved and this guy fits the profile, there needs to be further investigation into his whereabouts that day.

I don’t think you would regard it as “redonkulous” if it was your daughter who was punched in the face by a psycho.

With Brigham’s extensive injuries, I don’t see how this could be swept under the rug. But I also think that the court system should be allowed to handle this off-duty incident without us demanding that SLO FD handle it outside the court system. SLO FD has already removed Mason from on-duty public contact despite the fact that it hasn’t been proven that his off-duty behavior has compromised his job performance. Of course if drugs are involved, the SLO PD did Mason a big favor by waiting five days.

Mason’s behavior is troubling. It does seem that he gets into trouble when he is in a setting that encourages drinking.

Mason will be civilly sued and possibly be prosecuted for felonies. Mason’s attorneys’ fee will be high. Also, citizens of SLO might call him out when they see him on calls causing great concern for the city council. And if he even farts loud from this point on, he’s out on the streets with a dark and troubled past.

I hate saying this, but I think Mason is going to walk, and keep his job.

The District Attorney most certainly would have filed a criminal complaint against Mason by now. Mason had 5 days to get the drugs out of his system and it seems law enforcement didn’t even draw blood on him period. Not on the day of the assault; not the day after; and probably not even 5 days later.

This is akin to finding a Highway Patrol Officer “drunk” alongside the road and driving him home. No breath test; no ticket; no jail time. Complaint dismissed under the rug.

Why are you so concerned with drugs in his system? Who cares. That in itself excuses nothing, nor does it explain anything. The Police can not even take a blood sample from him without a search warrant any way. If it is such a big deal then the DA’s office can get a warrant for a hair follicle test. Drugs remain in the hair for a long time. But, you know what? It is not relevant! What is important is witness testimoney. Who saw him go in the restroom, who heard what was said, who saw him come out, etc. If Mason did this then he needs to be prosecuted, lose his job, face civil penalties. And for everyone who is mad that he is “walking free”, well guess what? People have a right to BAIL. The worse you do the higher the BAIL, but you still get a chance to BAIL. That is the way the system works. Can’t blame that on the Police. Ok, fire away!!

Agree with Dogpound

There was no mention of drug or alcohol symptom by any of the witness or the Taxi driver he tried to get a ride from.

I hope the Brigham family is adjusting (WILLING TO DONATE).

I am more concern about Mason’s removal for the Fire Agency than the BS of the justice system and outcome of the court system.

Dogpound, It’s my opinion that you’re correct about the police needing a warrant to draw blood. I think people are upset because his behavior was so egregious and lets not forget that he acted like a big enough jerk to a cab driver (earlier that day) so as to be refused service. He does sound like he was on something and witnesses said he didn’t appear intoxicated. As long as he doesn’t keep his job and they take him off the streets then I don’t care what causes his aggression, it won’t matter once he is terminated, jailed and put on probation.

Regardless , I still believe that he has received preferential treatment. Anybody else would have already been charged and the witnesses would have been interviewed immediately. We all know that he didn’t do that kind of damage with one punch and he was found beating the victim after he knocked him to the floor. That is not self defense , not that the witnesses said he was defending himself, anyway. Why haven’t charges been filed?

Charges have been filed Cindy, God. I know him and again, he was not on drugs….he doesn’t do drugs. The mug shot is a photo of a pissed off guy….that is his pissed off face. I promise you my first born he is clean.

Haha Well OK, if you know him and you say that you know his (drug free) “pissed off face”, then I’m going to have to take your word for it, I find no reason to doubt you.

I do find it odd that he was still that “pissed off” when they took his wide eyed mug shot, considering that it was taken five days after his violent temper tantrum. I suppose if I was being booked into jail with a dysfunctional ego that was busy chattering to me about how it’s all someone else’s fault except for mine, I’d be pissed off “again” too. I guess if I measured my self worth and integrity based on what someone wrote on their gossipy facebook page , I’d have plenty of bad day’s and my friends would surely be accustomed to recognizing my “pissed off face”.

Personally, I think he’s a lost cause and dangerous. What he did to poor Mr. Brigham qualifies him for the Neanderthal award, in my opinion. I really believe that he deserves 5 years in prison where he can think about his cruel, malicious and careless conduct towards his fellowmen.

You would be pissed too if you found out you were being arrested……guilty or not.

Where do you come up with 5 years in jail? Are you a lawyer now?

Oh the girlfriend does protest too much. Someday, this maniac “he man” just might knock you out too. He is dangerous.

Truthhurts: Your faith in his cleanliness is misplaced. Cocaine, meth and pills of all sort are his crew’s first priority after leaving the station house after every shift and right up to the drive back for the next shift. The anger and aggression, what you call his “pissed off face” are the effects – wake up!

I’m concerned about drugs or other chemicals in his system because, if he was any other person in SLO, he would have been detained and tested for the presence of drugs/chemicals.

Had the test been positive, it might have helped ensure that Manson never, EVER again gets a job working for a city, county, fire and/or police department.

If the test wasn’t positive, then a psychiatric evaluation would be in order, no? Manson has repeatedly assaulted others, and the damage done appears to be worsening. He could have easily killed Brigham.

My goal is to get this psycho off the streets.

Quit calling him Manson.

You don’t like the fact that someone called Mason “Mason”. Tough beans. I don’t like the fact that he beat someone so bad that they required metal plates in their face.

I deleted one name miss spell already It is one of the rules of the house ” no games with names ” nada.. none , Tough beans? have a question or comment about moderation???

His buddy on the same fire crew who gets all coked and pilled out with him has been threatening and attacking people in exactly the same way. The two of them together attacked my 16-year old cousin over a girl and threatened more violence if he said anything. Nobody feels like they can do anything about it because of the FD’s royal, above-the-law status in this town. The FD has created a culture of violent, pill-popping, coke-heads serving as our public safety employees and there is no where to turn. His crew-mate just went back into work the other night completely raging on coke, adderral and other tweeky stuff, without the slightest concern that he might be endangering his job or the public. Apparently what’s happened to Manson hasn’t scared him straight – in fact he just seems more confident that he can continue threatening people. How can they do this with impunity? How is it firefighters aren’t tested for cocaine?? Really? The firefighters in this town are more dangerous than any fire could ever be. Does anyone know a way to anonymously report a public safety employee who is on drugs and threatening/committing violence. Please reply if so – we’ve tried reporting to the police and the FD themselves but they said they couldn’t take any report without our personal information, and since these psychos have access to everybody’s address and have threatened to do violence at our home we don’t know what to do. Manson is no annomally – he is the poster child for the type of people the FD seeks and recruits to preserve their “traditions” of macho, aggression. Here’s the truth: MANY SLO firefighters spend their days off sniffing coke and then harrassing women and threatening men at every place in town, all while they boast of being firefighters and flaunt that they will never be stopped. This town is being terrorized by the people we’re paying to protect us!

The thing that hurts me the most is (actually breaks my heart), every man woman and child (all of you know this) has “always” trusted firemen more than any other civil servants with no suspicions and their mere presence automatics great relief.

Can the Fire Chief or SLOPD explain this “S” to Brigham’s three children and my children as well.

I still trust Safety Officers with the safety of my precious children, but please take away his badge and ID so he can no longer use the presumption of trustworthiness, NOW!!.

I’m not the one trying to disassociate myself from a fellow firefighter who has a history of viciously attacking citizens.

If I was a firefighter and wanted to disassociate myself from a fellow firefighter like Mason, the last freaking thing I would do would be to criticize posters on a public message board for discussing their fears and anger over a firefighter repeatedly and viciously attacking citizens, and then getting coddled by the SLO PD and fire chief.

I would, instead, have a danged CLUE about why they are afraid and angry, and then perhaps talk to other firefighters to see if they would be interested in making some kind of a public statement which indicates they do not support Mason’s violent assaults on citizens OR the preferential treatment Mason has received at the hands of the SLO PD, and that they understand the concerns of citizens.

Look, this isn’t the first time Mason violently assaulted someone and got preferential treatment. At this point, it appears that allowing violent firefighters to both keep their jobs AND get preferential treatment by the PD is part of the SLO FD and PD’s policy.

It is up to them to make amends with the people. SLO City administration, the firechief and the police chief obviously don’t think that this is anything unusual for firefighters and so they don’t owe the citizenry any apology or explanation. I suggest, if the firefighters want to be respected by the citizenry, then they should respect the citizens themselves.

Come on, Flilpside thought he had the right to come to this message board and criticize us for discussing this and our concerns? There is no way in the world that we can tell whether there are 2, 5 or 25 more SLO firefighters who are as bad as Mason, or worse.

And why is that? Because nobody has bothered to take a public stand and show us that Mason IS an anomaly, and apologize for giving him preferential treatment, for keeping him on the force long past the time he should have been in jail, and then they should FIRE HIM.

Does that answer your question?

The above post is in reply to truthhurts post, below.

No. You are out of line and way out of control with your accusations and assumptions. You have nothing to base your so called “opinions” on except what you read on gossip sites. The way you accuse all firefighters of being “thugs” like Mason just shows your immaturity and lack of basic knowledge. You seem to have a personal axe to grind with public safety or something.

You need to let the legal process take place, which it will, and quit trying to be a know it all.

*I* did not accuse ALL firefighters of being thugs.

This article is specifically about SLO FD.

I know firefighters and they are the best. I’ve seen them fight three Santa Barbara fires.

Mason is not one of the good guys, and the firefighters in SLO and their leaders are not speaking out and saying that Mason is an anomaly.

Instead, what we see is him getting preferential treatment and coddling.

This “let the legal process take place” excuse grows old when you realize that Mason has violently assualted multiple people, and we are all at risk as long as he is wearing a badge and walking the streets, free.

Casey Lee Anthony has been in jail for 3 years awaiting her trial, when the evidence against her is ALL circumstantial. Mason came ***this*** close to murdering Brigham and he doesn’t even get arrested for 5 days, then gets a cushy desk job, and gets to walk among us, even with the risk of violence he carries with his every step..

Aside from the over use of the word “codling” you have drawn some sort of comparison to Casey Anthony? The same person who is accused of killing her daughter? Wow!

If this article is specifically about SLO FD then what does she have to do with anything?

So this is what I suggest using your methodology . The good people should not…I repeat…should not call 911in SLO if you have an emergency. Most likely the outcome will be far worse then what the emergency simple because they are there. Most likely you will be beaten.

Also, I was at farmers market last in SLO and saw all the parents taking their kids to visit the SLO FD engine that was parked there. It was total mayhem. Fire Fighters giving tours of the engine taking pictures of kids and generally doing what Fire Fighters do. They are lucky to have gotten out of there alive!

Sound ridiculous?

So do you.

Amen flip side.

yes, Im sure the children still see them as heroes but that is exactly the point: if you want to toot your horns about being heroes you also must be held to a higher standard in the eyes of adults. Plus, that argument is weak: “how can you get down on firefighters? we are the heroes that run into burning buildings” yeah, and you signed up for that so do throw that in my face. I personally know a couple of firefighters who I wouldnt trust to take out my trash let alone save my life but due to family connections, they were in the department on their first attempt…hate to tell ya this but the caliber of applicants has gone down in the last decade. We appreciate what you do but that doesnt give award you an automatic acquittal because your part of the brotherhood, it means you answer to us the public, as public servants. Too much responsibility? go dig a ditch. For anyone trying to justify or defend Masons actions: after reading the multiple witness’ story and Mason’s contradicting account I realize, you’re only trying to convince yourselves that its ok to defend your bro

Reading comprehension is lacking. Find one post that anybody has brought up about being a hero? Find one post that approves of what he did or gives an excuse for his actions? Find one comment by myself (since I am a Fire Fighter) that says anything about being a hero for simple doing my job?

Nobody is “tooting their horn ” here.

He is a guy who has some serious personal issues. I would guess he will lose his job and most likely be charged with a felony. If that happens he would lose his paramedic license and not be able to have an EMT license as well. Pretty much done. Probably will lose his wife as well (not that seems to important to him)

Look up “Moral Turpitude” and see how this is germane to the conversation and where this case will go.

Exactly. Firefighters never call themselves heroes. Ever.

Mason has never done anything but an excellent job on duty as a firefighter and paramedic. He has saved countless lives and served this city well. If what he did off duty is proven true, he will be punished accordingly and possibly lose his job as a result.

Don’t try to knock the great work slofd does on a daily basis due to an off duty incident.

If mason beat a patient while on duty, it would be different and you could expect a statement from the union and department but the union and department can’t be expected to comment on people’s personal issues.