SLO firefighter accused of assault placed on leave
August 16, 2012
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.