Tale of the 911 tape

August 30, 2011

911 Recording Refutes San Luis Obispo Police Officer’s Claims

EDITORS NOTE: See The blue code, a copy of the 911 tape, Scott Cramer’s statement to police, and a listing of officer Cramer’s statement compared with the 911 tape at the bottom of this story.

By KAREN VELIE

An Atascadero woman screams, “stop, stop, please send someone,” to the 911 operator.

In the next room, caller Sarah Summers’ developmentally disabled stepson grapples with another man who has followed him to his father’s home after the stepson passed him on the road. Her 74-year-old husband James, undergoing chemotherapy, has just seen his son smash through the front storm door with a stranger.

The man wrestling with Summers’ stepson is off-duty San Luis Obispo Police Officer Scott Cramer.

Cramer would tell Atascadero police officers that he was not fighting with Summers, 50, and that he was maintaining his calm as he dealt with an aggressor.

Summers’ stepson, Scott, tells a different story, and a recently released 911 tape supports the disabled man’s account of the March 2010 altercation.

“Upon listening to the tape, you can tell this is an outraged irate driver, who is trespassing in an innocent family’s’ home, and dispensing his own variety of curbside instant justice, said Summers’ attorney James McKiernan who has filed suit against Cramer and the city of San Luis Obispo. “How does an officer unleash it on a hapless disabled individual after all of those years of training?”

Scott Summers T-shirt was torn and bloodied during the altercation. Blood stains are still visible even though the shirt had been laundered.

Excerpts from the 911 tape support Summers’ account and call into question Cramer’s statement that he “spoke calmly” (Currently, a forensic sound studio technician is working to clarify some of the muffled statements on the 911 tape.)

Scott Summers: “Get your hands off me. Stop it. Get your hands off me.”

Scott Summers: “You know what, you are going to jail. I don’t care who you are.”

Cramer: “Oh, Screw you?

Scott Summers: “No, fuck you.”

Cramer: “Fuck you back. I can do whatever…”

Scott Summers: I want to see your badge.

Sarah Summers: “Yeah, I don’t know what happened prior to that it sound like some antagonizing is going on the road and…”

Operator: “So it sounds like – it’s like a road rage kind of thing.”

Sarah Summers: “It was – It was road rage kind of stuff and as when one thing led to another, and the next thing, you know, the guy comes down here to settle it out.”

On March 18, 2010, Scott Summers, who lives in a disabled housing facility, was driving an older model BMW he was loaned by the auto shop where his truck was being repaired.

Summers passed Cramer’s red truck on Old Morro Road East, a winding rural street. Cramer was driving with his 8-year-old. According to the lawsuit filed over the incident, Cramer began racing up to Summers’ bumper, falling back, and revving up and again getting bumper to bumper.

Summers made it to his parent’s house. A short time later, Cramer showed up.

Cramer said it was his son who pointed out Summers’ car, parked in front of a home. Cramer said he had not expected to find the driver of the car when he drove through the neighborhood looking for the vehicle.

But, several neighbors said Cramer had canvassed the neighborhood, going door to door asking about the BMW that passed him, Summers said.

Cramer came down the driveway to the house. Summers said he stepped outside, onto his parents’ porch, to find out what the man wanted.

Cramer allegedly began yelling at Summers, Summers said.

“He yelled, ‘You think you are someone special because you drive a BMW?’ ” Summers said.

Before he could answer, Summers said, Cramer punched him three times in the Adam’s apple, once in the side and than threw him through a closed storm door breaking out the glass and tearing the door from its hinges.

The 911 tape clearly shows Cramer was the aggressor, McKiernan said.

Cramer, though, told Atascadero police he was calm and that Summers was the aggressor. Cramer said Summers called him “a pussy,” pushed him and attempted to strike him.

Cramer also said in his statement, that after he noticed a woman in the house was on the phone, “I calmly explained to her that I was not fighting and I would release him as soon as he quit trying to kick me and fight with me.”

He then said he identified himself to Sarah Summers as a police officer and gave his address to her before leaving. The statements are not heard on the 911 tape.

The tape does have Cramer apologizing to Sarah Summers for his actions.

Scott Summers’ lawyer, McKiernan named both the city of San Luis Obispo and Cramer in a lawsuit he filed seeking $500,000 in damages.

“Our primary position is Scott Cramer was acting under color of law assaulting this man and explaining he is a police officer,” McKiernan said. “We have received two calls that cast suspicion that this is not the first time this has happened.”

The suit contends that the city of San Luis Obispo has a duty to hire, train and supervise officers to avoid the infliction of harm and excessive force on citizens. The police department, known for bringing ultimate fighting champion Chuck Liddel into the department to teach officers street-fighting techniques, is accused of not training and supervising officers in a fashion as to avoid harm and the use of excess force upon the public.

San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Jac Crawford has scheduled a case management hearing on Nov. 30.

 

The blue code

Public records regarding this incident have been kept from Summers and the media for more than a year, despite repeated requests.

Atascadero Police department supervisor, Ann Jutras, said that the department did not have to release the 911 tape because there was an ongoing investigation into the incident. She also said that the department was protecting the privacy rights of the victims.

However, both the 911 caller and alleged victim, Sarah and Scott Summers, had given their permission to have the tape released and the case had been closed for more than a year.

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office decided not to prosecute Cramer. Among the documents used by the district attorney’s office was an Atascadero supplemental police report which contains statements Cramer made.

The supplemental report paints Scott Summers as the aggressor even though the 911 audio tape appears to refute Cramer’s account of the altercation.

The district attorney’s office does not usually listen to 911 tapes when deciding whether to prosecute. The statute of limitations has now expired.

The original Atascadero police report, which consists of only a few sentences, said police responded to an altercation at a house where two men had argued over a traffic incident.

That report was given to Summers who requested a copy of the police report. But police did not give Summers the supplemental report which supported Cramer’s account.

A request to the district attorney’s office for the supplemental report was denied. Although officials in the office agreed that police reports are considered public records, they said they sent the Atascadero police supplemental report back to the department.

The district attorney’s office reported that it did not make a copy of the supplemental report, which was considered in deciding against prosecution.

Atascadero police refused to provide a copy of the supplemental report, saying that police reports are not public records.

But, as part of the discovery process in his lawsuit, Summers was able to get a copy of the 911 tape, the supplemental report and Cramer’s statement to police. Summers provided a copy to CalCoastNews which had sought the records for more than a year.

 

The misstatements

San Luis Obispo Police Officer Scott Cramer said in his statement to Atascadero police that, “My 20-years experience as a police officer leads me to believe his reactions to my calm demeanor indicate either an anger management issue or a mental health issue.”

On the 911 tape, Cramer is cursing, yelling at Summers for passing him and refusing to let go of Summers.

Cramer is heard yelling on the tape that Scott Summers was driving 80 mph in a section of winding road that measures less than four-tenths of a mile.

He would later say in his statement that he estimated Summers was driving between 65 to 70 mph in a 25 mph hour zone. However, the actual speed limit on Old Morro Road East is 55 mph.

Cramer said he repeatedly told Summers he did not want to fight him.

However, that statement is not heard on the tape.

 

Listen to the 911 audio tape


Click here

  (link)

 

Read Officer Cramer’s  sworn statement to the Atascadero Police Department.


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RU4Real

Luckily, Mr. Summers has James McKiernan & his EXCELLENT LAW FIRM representing him. There’s no way SLO County & SLO PD will wiggle out of this one! Jim & his team know how to handle the very CORRUPT SLO DA’s office as well has how to prove this punk SLO PD officer Cramer is lying…Justice will be served in THIS CASE. Keep up the good work, Jim! Government in SLO County WILL be cleaned up…


Bob

Maybe Jim should run for District Attorney. At this point I would vote for any attorney outside of the SLO DA’s office.


Robert1

Mckiernan needs to run for the DA’s job!


LittleAcorn

How convenient that the issue was sidelined until the statute of limitations has expired. Why did the “victim” wait so long to sue?


Summers must have done something to get Cramer’s attention, whether Cramer’s response was in the wrong or not. Does Summers have numerous tickets regarding his driving? Can the lawyer produce proof that Cramer has acted inappropriately before? Why didn’t Cramer identify himself immediately?


Why was the woman on the tape so uncooperative? It would be good to have a full transcript of the tape.


I don’t know who to believe in this instance. I’m not happy with either side.


RU4Real

Trust me on THIS ONE…Jim will get justice for the victim & clearly the victim here in NOT SLO COUNTY or SLO PD!


LittleAcorn

Wow. My comment attracted a lot of dislike votes. ;)


I admit that Cramer doesn’t look good in this. In this situation, Cramer is out of his jurisdiction, but he decides to do a follow up. Why is he going door-to-door looking for a speeding driver with his 8 year old son in the truck? He claims it was for public safety, but what type of situation is he putting his son in? What if Summers had been a meth head and killed him on sight?


I notice that there is no evidence that shows us the traffic incident. It is Cramer’s word against Summer’s word. We do know that it got Cramer interested in hunting down the driver. We don’t know that the situation was unsafe as Cramer claimed.


I’m still disappointed that APD didn’t release the 911 tape until after the statute of limitations ran out. That looks bad to me.


I don’t think Summers is an angel either. He was apparently not far from his parents’ place, but he decides to pass rather than slow down. Hwy 41 doesn’t have a lot of good passing places near Atas, but there are some.


LittleAcorn

Okay, I’m guilty of missing a detail. Now I know why Cramer also left Hwy 41. Btw, Old Morro Rd East is a residential road and is not part of hwy 41, so the speed limit probably is 25mph. Likewise for the connecting roads Los Osos and San Dimas.


Karen Velie

It is rural residential with homes on acreage. Neighbors at one time asked to have the speed limit reduced, and were told no. It is 55 mph not 25 mph.


LittleAcorn

Thanks for the correction. I have to admit that the 911 tape sounds more like a road rage incident than one driver encouraging another driver to drive safely.


I couldn’t understand most of the exchange between Cramer and Summers so I was trying to be neutral.


Cindy

Little Acorn, you have missed more than just a few details. Why are you hung up on what occured during the driving encounter? Do you think for one second that any citizen should act like Cramer did and take the law into their own hands when they are displeased? What was that???? You say but Cramer is the law, if that’s what you just said, that is what makes it all the worse my dear. By the way, why haven’t you taken note that Cramer eventually changes his story and states that Summers was driving between 65-70 rather than 80, according to what we hear him yelling on the 911 call, driving 80 is what he is surposedly so angry about!! . The speed limit is 55, Summers was driving 65-70, do you not see a problem here, a BIG problem here yet?


LittleAcorn

Actually, I wondered why Cramer was hunting down another driver when his son was in the truck. I don’t believe that I ever said that Cramer should have hunted for Summers nor that his badge excused his behavior … you’re trying to put words in my mouth.


I did wonder what happened on the road to set Cramer off. But if Cramer was driving 25 and Summers 55, then Summers would have passed Cramer quickly. Perhaps quickly enough for Cramer to get mad. But it wouldn’t matter as driving 55 there is apparently legal.


I do get the feeling that this would have never happened if Summers had been driving a less powerful car. But you’re right, Cramer was still out of line.


RU4Real

Oh Great! Here we go again, let’s just blame the victim! Remember, folks, the VICTIM was driving a “loaner car”…


MaryMalone

When the same thing happens to your own son, get back to us.


What goes around, comes around.


BeenThereDoneThat

I’ve said it before on all this local cops stuff


Sheriffs breaking in and pepperspraying wrong man in his house, (Wrong address)

SLO PD breaking down front window into Laundry mat (Atas)

Drunk CHP in car (Templeton)

Paso Chiefs gun in car

Questionable resignation of Chief in Atascadero.

ETC. ETC. ETC.


The stuff in the last few years is getting more and more with our local Depts. I have said it before and I will say it again. Two words to fix all of this. POLICE COMMISSION!!!!!


MaryMalone

The other two words I’d like to propose are: FEDERAL INVESTIGATION.


Rawhide

SLO Police Officer Cramer told Atascadero police he was calm and that Summers was the aggressor, called him “a pussy,” pushed him, and attempted to strike him.


And Fireman John Ryan Mason claims Jory Brigham was the aggressor, and pushed him first! This is always the same “story” that those who wear any kind of BADGE give when their back is against the wall after doing something they could be fired or sued for. Cramer as well as Mason was afforded special treatment by their public safety brethren and theDA.


@ Danika,

Paid leave pending investigation means – – Pending Retirement…


Typoqueen

There’s a fine line between cop and criminal and it appears this cop crossed it. I hate when I hear about things like this, it’s so hard to tell my kids that the cops are good when a bad apple jumps out like this guy.


r0y

So true, the old “one apple spoils the bunch” is hard enough, but when there are multiple bad apples, it gets REALLY hard to repair public opinion and trust.


So after the SLOPD slowly sinks down the toilet, we can look forward to paying the useless chief’s $300K/year pension for her 7-8 years of service. Lovely.


MaryMalone

The reality is, when the “good apples” cover up for the “bad apples,” the “good apples” become just like the “bad apples.”


Pretty soon, there isn’t any “good apples” left…just a bunch of rotten, putrid bad apples tainting everything and everybody they touch.


I was going to add a part about how bad apples attract maggots, but I thought that would be carrying the metaphor a little too far, especially this close to lunch time =)


MaryMalone

What makes it worse are the fact administrators and managers who have the power–and DUTY–to penalize the officers who do wrong.


With kids, sometimes we have to explain that the people who are supposed to protect us are corrupt and do bad things, sometimes harming the people they are supposed to protect.


What is REALLY hard to explain is that these corrupt officers’ bosses don’t punish them for it.


I think kids learn pretty early that adults sometimes don’t do what they are supposed to do and, indeed, do the exact opposite. What is hard (especially when they are young) is to explain that their bosses routinely cover up what they do and cover up for it.


Kids learn by punishment. You can call it a “time out” if you want, but that is a punishment for doing something unacceptable.


I think it outrages kids when they see that adults do something wrong and don’t get punished.


And teenagers–hooboy!–they will bust parents for any hypocrisy in a heartbeat.


Bob

SLOPD Motto

“Service-Pride-Integrity”

Translation: Screw-The-Public!


Our local news archives are full of SLOPD misconduct, abuse, and criminal conduct.

The DA leads by example, who refuses time after time again not to charge a corrupt police officer.


It’s going to take a federal investigation and US Department of Justice federal consent decree to clean house .


As a honest law abiding citizen who’s never been arrested or the focus of the police. I find it very hard to trust any SLO police officer and have lost any respect of the San Luis Obispo Police as an organization and it’s officers.


unlisted

Just think of how much worse SLO cops would be if we didn’t pay them so much!


danika

Law enforcement corruption seems to be “trendy” these days:


http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-captain-wiretap-20110828,0,3302154.story


The Captain of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. seems to be caught on tape in a narcotics wiretap on several conversations. She has been on paid leave since April, pending investigation.


When is “protect and serve” going to become more than just writing on a vehicle or a building for law enforcement? We the people are supposed to be the benefactors of their “protect and serve” oath, right? Admittedly, there are good, honest, moral officers out there but people like these overshadow the few good ones left. Time to clean up law enforcement and all of it’s supporting offices.


oldbrown

It’s not “The Captain”, it’s “A Captain”. Big difference.


danika

There is no difference really. All “captains” should enforce the laws, not break them…no?


RU4Real

danika, actually there IS A DIFFERENCE! Oldbrown is correct. There are MANY “Captains” in the LA Sheriff’s Department. Which ONE are you making reference to? What Sheriff Station is this person located?


MaryMalone

I agree.


It’s like the difference between “A jackass” and “THE jackass.”


“THE jackass” implies there is only one.


“A jackass” implies there is more than one jackass.


MaryMalone

Oldbrown, you know I love you, darlin’. But I have to say, in this case, most people realize that Los Angeles has more than one police or sheriff’s captain.


MaryMalone

Well, what they don’t tell you is “protect and serve” means “protect and serve THEMSELVES.”


MaryMalone

Sorry–once I considered it, I changed my opinion.


It’s like when we talk about police officers (plural) doing a certain activity that is wrong.and also say “the police officer should know….”


We all know that ALL police officers should know certain things are wrong, but we also know that EACH police offer should know that certain things are wrong.


standup

Once again, law enforcement covers its own. People, we have dirty DAs who won’t prosecute their own, dirty filthy lying cops like this guy, dirty judges who do favors for highway patrolmen, firemen who get to kick the snot out of anyone they chose, ntf agents who enforce their own brand of the law. Where is it going to end? It may take riots and demand that those responsible step down. Remember when Jerry Shea goes up for re-election folks. We need someone from out of the area with no local ties that can be impartial.


rallyraid

The true meaning of mutual aid between agencies.


R.Hodin

Actually, I think we need a ballot requirement for unopposed reelection that does the following:


1) requires all unopposed offices/candidates for reelection be listed on the ballot

AND

2) requires a statement from the candidate arguing the merits of his/her reelection

AND

3) adds a “none of the above” or “candidate shall NOT be reelected” option on the ballot for the same office

AND

4) a requirement that the candidate get 50% plus one vote to earn reelection


R.Hodin

This would apply to all offices, including judges.


OnTheOtherHand

Good ideas — but how do we get them passed when the majority of public officials in this county are, at the very least, unwilling to “rock the boat?” I suppose that a measure might be able to make it on the ballot, but with most of the county’s power structure opposing it (including the daily newspaper) and the TV stations ignoring it, I doubt that many voters will take the trouble to really learn the facts. If they were inclined to do that, Parkinson would never have been elected as Sheriff.


Maybe we should try to deal with the situation at the DA’s office first. Can we find and support a viable alternative who is honest, willing to work within a system that will fight him/her and well enough known to get votes? If that fails, maybe a ballot measure authorizing a county-wide police oversight committee (with carefully considered membership requirements that would keep it from being stacked with boot-lickers) could be tried.


MaryMalone

Oh, man, I am ALL over that! Great suggestion!


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