SLO firefighter accused of assault placed on leave

August 16, 2012

John Ryan Mason’s booking photo

By KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo city administrators placed a firefighter who was arrested for allegedly beating a man unconscious at a local pub on unpaid administrative leave several months ago, city staff confirmed while refusing to provide the exact date.

In June 2011, John Ryan Mason, 34, allegedly beat Jory Brigham, 32, unconscious in a bathroom after an eight-month rift stemming from claims the firefighter was having an affair with a local policeman’s wife. Mason had no injuries while Brigham required three metal plates to be placed in his face and his jaw to be wired shut.

Five days after the alleged assault, officers booked Mason 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.

After he was released on $50,000 bail, Mason returned to work at the San Luis Obispo Fire Department where he was placed on desk duty while the city performed an investigation.

Brigham, the husband of Mason’s wife’s best friend, had posted a message on his Facebook page that men should not leave their wives for woman they are having affairs with.

Mason admitted to police he was upset over the Facebook post. He, however, claims Brigham was the aggressor during the altercation.

Mason testified last year that he threw punches in self-defense following an argument in a bathroom at Pappy McGregor’s Bar & Grill on Monterey Street in June.

At the same hearing, to determine if there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial, Brigham testified he repeatedly told his assailant to let go of the past dispute.

San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy set a trial for Sept. 5.

Mason’s altercation over the Facebook post was not the only time Mason wanted to fight someone whom he felt disapproved of his lifestyle.

Following the incident at Pappy McGregor’s, Mason was involved in an argument at Mo Tav over an affair Mason was having with the wife of Travis 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.

During another alleged altercation at a 1997 Los Osos wedding, Mello told police 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. Beavers was transported to the hospital with broken teeth and a cracked jaw.

Though San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies responded, Mason was never arrested for the alleged assault.


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50 Comments

  1. willieslo says:

    That mug shot is a look of centering in a fantasy world, the only world he can go to escape knowing he screwed up.

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

    Mason’s mugshot was taken FIVE DAYS after he assaulted Brigham. One would think that would have been sufficient time for Mason to detox. The image captured in his mugshot suggests otherwise.

    (52) 62 Total Votes - 57 up - 5 down
  3. slojo says:

    Hey CCN, why aren’t you including this piece of info in your report? New Times did….

    “Most recently, however, Mason’s San Luis Obispo-based attorney, Chris Casciola, filed a motion to have the SLO County DA’s Office recused from the case after discovering Brigham had recorded conversations with Gray, prosecutor Kristy Imel, and DA investigator Scott Odom. Casciola argued that the recordings were illegal, and that the wrongdoing essentially made the DA’s office the victim of a crime by the alleged victim.

    Casciola also pointed out that Brigham retained the services of the James McKiernan law firm, indicating possible plans to pursue Mason for civil damages, an outcome that would be greatly assisted if Mason were found criminally guilty.

    According to Casciola’s motion, Brigham “acquired confidential communications in a dishonest manner that gives him the ability to extort the very office who is representing his interests.” Casciola argued the case should be tried by the California Attorney General’s Office.

    Brigham and the DA’s Office disagreed. Brigham later told New Times that he did record a few phone and in-person conversations with an application on his iPhone, but the recordings were for his own notes—prosecutors weren’t always aware they were being recorded.”

    (-50) 76 Total Votes - 13 up - 63 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      Do you have references for this information? Just asking…

      If this is true, I’m thinking perhaps this was a set-up to get the DA kicked off of the case or a change in venue.

      The way “Manson-Lamps Mason” has been handled with kid gloves by the City and the SLOFD, I think so much of the prosecutors’ case has been lost over the five days between when Mason beat down Brigham and when Mason was arrested.

      This includes evidence that, for FIVE DAYS Mason was allowed to literally sit on, or clean away, or get his story straight with his chief and union rep, fellow first responders, or whomever.

      In addition, the beauty of an immediate interview with potential witnesses was lost because Mason left Brigham bleeding on the bathroom floor, and pwok-pwok-pwoked himself home. He didn’t even bother to call another first-responder on the scene to tend to Brigham—Mason just ran away.

      Brigham was probably suffering from the results of the very serious head injury he received from Mason’s beat-down, so if his judgment wasn’t 100%–and considering the officials’ preferential treatment of Mason allowed unknown amounts of physical evidence to be cleaned up by Mason–I would give him a pass.

      (34) 58 Total Votes - 46 up - 12 down
      • slojo says:

        Mary….it was in The New Times last week.

        (-3) 25 Total Votes - 11 up - 14 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          I tend to avoid rags that believe it is worth column space to publish inaccurate hits on message-board posters from other publications.

          (-12) 40 Total Votes - 14 up - 26 down
          • slojo says:

            It’s not inaccurate Mary.

            (-11) 27 Total Votes - 8 up - 19 down
            • MaryMalone says:

              Really? Its slavish support of Lisa Solomon is accurate? It’s attacks on CCN’s posters are accurate?

              (9) 35 Total Votes - 22 up - 13 down
              • slojo says:

                Seriously Mary, you’re so he’ll bent on believing what you choose to believe you are not even willing to realize truth. I feel sorry for you.

                (-18) 36 Total Votes - 9 up - 27 down
                • Dogpound says:

                  True that! I don’t feel sorry for her though. She is in her own little happy place of naivety. The article on certain CCN posters was right on the money!

                  (-3) 25 Total Votes - 11 up - 14 down
                • MaryMalone says:

                  Nope, that’s not me.

                  In fact, I quite often voice opinions that are not popular, and I don’t cave in to the “Red Thumbs of Shame,” and then back down after my posting peers vote their displeasure.

                  But, come to think of it, who is it who is supporting Psycho-Lamps Mason? Oh, that’s right. YOU are his apoligista.

                  That’s okay. Maybe he’ll be locked up in Atascadero, so you can visit him as often as you wish.

                  (3) 19 Total Votes - 11 up - 8 down
              • MaryMalone says:

                P.S. OMG, I just realized how horrible it will be for Mason to be locked up in a psychiatric facility…

                Yeah, he could still savagely attack people, so that’s in Mason’s favor. He’ll fell more at home that way.

                But two bad things for Mason:

                1. There are other inmates–a lot bigger than Mason–who like to savagely beat up their peers.

                2. Mason won’t be able to pull his pwok-pwok two-step and run away after savagely beats someone.

                It will be a Bad Day at Pwok-Pwok Rock for Mr. Mason when those doors close–and lock–behind him.

                (8) 22 Total Votes - 15 up - 7 down
      • racket says:

        I can imagine where Brigham is left not trusting ANYBODY after he gets mauled by a firefighter, then the f.d. and the cops wait 5 days for it to blow over.

        I, too, would be suspicious of everyone, and in my civil suit against Mason and the City, I would list my new inability to trust “officials” as one of the permanent damages I suffered.

        (53) 61 Total Votes - 57 up - 4 down
        • racket says:

          ADD: McKiernan is hopefully sharp enough to go after the union that Mason is hiding behind. The union, and slojo, seem to be working to prevent justice from occurring. I hope McKiernan takes them down a notch, too.

          (43) 59 Total Votes - 51 up - 8 down
          • slojo says:

            Jeez racket….it seems anyone with a different opinion than you should be sued?

            What is the union doing to “hide” Mason? That’s ridiculous.

            (-21) 37 Total Votes - 8 up - 29 down
          • MaryMalone says:

            Is the Union supporting Mason? Are you sure of that?

            If they are, they aren’t doing a very good job of it because Mason has been put out on unpaid administrative leave.

            If the union was as bad and powerful as you imply, he would not have been put out on unpaid administrative leave.

            (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down
        • slojo says:

          so if you are “suspicious” it’s ok to illegally tape record conversations?

          (-4) 18 Total Votes - 7 up - 11 down
          • Downtown Bob says:

            So beating the crap out of a guy is a minor offense in your mind, and you are defending yourself or your buddy Mason, but tape recording a possibly corrupt official might be illegal and you have a big problem with that somehow?

            Do you see the disconnect? You are repeating “innocent until proven guilty” on Mason’s account but you are certain the victim was recording from one article in New Times referring to the DEFENSE! LOL.

            (18) 24 Total Votes - 21 up - 3 down
            • slojo says:

              Bob….Jory admitted to tape recording the DA. He’s not denying it. It is truly amazing to me how a fact can be a fact but someone like you choses not to believe it and gives me hell for stating the fact in the first place. Crazyness….

              (-7) 17 Total Votes - 5 up - 12 down
              • Downtown Bob says:

                Mason, it is not a big deal!

                In person it is not a crime, there is no expectation of privacy person to person in most cases, and technically on the phone it is (for any other reason other than your own notes). Obviously the DA is not bothered by it and they would be the one’s that would be upset. So why is it such a big issue to you? Maybe you, Mason, should just be as candid and confess your “crimes” too.

                (8) 14 Total Votes - 11 up - 3 down
    • kettle says:

      slojo says:”Hey CCN, why aren’t you including this…” If all the articles had all the same info people would still gripe about it.

      That said you were defending your friend Mason in the other articles:
      Please. A lot of Karen’s interview was based on……

      He is not in drug rehab because he does not have a drug problem.

      Erik is right, people will die if binding arbitration passes….

      (20) 26 Total Votes - 23 up - 3 down
    • Downtown Bob says:

      Mason, the phone recording is not legal, but for his own notes that is a gray area….but in person conversations do not need to be disclosed. LE uses recording all the time, and to say that a blackmail potential is out there for sure.

      So the DA could say something illegal, and without the recording the victim could only testify to it but no one would believe him? What is wrong with that picture?

      Key word at the end end of your post….weren’t ALWAYS aware they were being recorded.

      The New Times is not a trustworthy news source, more entertainment and emergency TP now.

      (8) 18 Total Votes - 13 up - 5 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        QUOTING DOWNTOWN BOB: “Mason, the phone recording is not legal, but for his own notes that is a gray area….

        Especially considering the fact that mason’s cowardly beat-down on Brigham left Brigham with serious facial injuries, including cranial fracture, Brigham will most probably have problems with thinking and processing information in the brain for the rest of his life.

        The DA/police should have provided a court reporter. Talk about stacking the deck—a city employee beats a civilian to the point where the victim has serious head injuries, and the city expects him to remember all the details of the interviews?

        Why didn’t they just poke his eyes out–that way he would not be able to identify Mason.

        (7) 19 Total Votes - 13 up - 6 down
  4. MaryMalone says:

    Criminy, there’s that PsychoMason photo with those “Manson Lamps” again.

    (If you didn’t watch the Sopranos, and are wondering what “Manson Lamps” are, here’s a clip where Tony Soprano has to lay down the law to freshly-released-from-prison Richie April—who intimidates people with this really creepy look he gives them. It IS the Sopranos, so there may be some cursing involved.)

    (7) 27 Total Votes - 17 up - 10 down
    • slojo says:

      “Criminy”??? My mom says “criminiy”……I thought she made that word up!

      (-5) 9 Total Votes - 2 up - 7 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        Criminy, we have something in common. I think I’ll go relax in a tub of hand sanitizer.

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

    Wait a minute…Mason got into a shoving match with another guy AFTER he was arrested for the McGregor’s beat-down?

    If I am reading this correctly, and there was another altercation, I bet he went on unpaid administrative leave after the “Mello” incident.

    QUOTING ARTICLE: “Mason’s altercation over the Facebook post was not the only time Mason wanted to fight someone whom he felt disapproved of his lifestyle.
    Following the incident at Pappy McGregor’s, Mason was involved in an argument at Mo Tav over an affair Mason was having with the wife of Travis 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.

    (14) 28 Total Votes - 21 up - 7 down
  6. racket says:

    1) I am glad he is on leave.
    a) I do not want him amped up and in my house, whether it is on fire or not.
    b) I do not want him near my wife and family, whether we are having an emergency or not.

    2) I am glad he is on unpaid leave.
    a) It is ridiculous that I was paying him for desk duty from June 2011 until the City pulled its head from its ass.

    3) The City seems a little guarded about how long ago they quit paying him.

    (93) 95 Total Votes - 94 up - 1 down
  7. Crusader says:

    Law enforcement waited FIVE DAYS to arrest him? There should be an investigation into this.

    (82) 90 Total Votes - 86 up - 4 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      We never would have known about it if it wasn’t for CCN, either.

      (59) 77 Total Votes - 68 up - 9 down
  8. Rawhide says:

    Beavers was transported to the hospital with broken teeth and a cracked jaw.
    Though San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies responded,
    Mason was never arrested for the alleged assault.

    Joe Six Pack would have been arrested on the spot and taken to County Jail for assault with intent !!!

    (98) 102 Total Votes - 100 up - 2 down
    • Crusader says:

      This too needs to be investigated…

      (53) 57 Total Votes - 55 up - 2 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        I don’t remember reading a description of the “Beavers” injuries before.

        Mason needs to be in a facility like Patterson. He should not be out on the streets.

        I wonder how many other Mason attacks there have been that we haven’t heard about?

        (34) 46 Total Votes - 40 up - 6 down
  9. fhill123 says:

    Shouldn’t Al Beavers have become an OB-Gyn?

    (-18) 74 Total Votes - 28 up - 46 down
    • Smacks Forehead says:

      How does this comment get all these thumbs down? It was perfect. Congrats!

      (3) 31 Total Votes - 17 up - 14 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        Sometimes posters can be excruciatingly politically correct. Then they bond together in a “group shaming” exercise, utilizing the “Red Thumb of Shame” feature of the message-board’s software.

        It shouldn’t be taken personally. I bet there are posters who actually think the comment is funny, but clicked the “Red Thumb of Shame” because they didn’t want politically-correct ninnies to get their panties in a wad.

        (-9) 41 Total Votes - 16 up - 25 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      In Santa Barbara, there was a tree-trimming company called “Beaver Tree Trimming” and one called “Giant Tree Trimming.”

      One bought out the other and the name became “Giant Beaver Tree Trimming Company.” I am not kidding. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIhVPkRQE8o

      They were very professional about the new logo, I have to say. The possibilities……

      (8) 26 Total Votes - 17 up - 9 down

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