San Luis Obispo management needs to be accountable

October 26, 2012

Katie Lichtig


Dear CalCoastNews readers, I’m sharing this with you since this is an important and public issue. Below, I ask our local government if they approve of the actions of their peace officers, I think you might like to know as well. I have invited Ms Lichtig and our city council to review this humble note, I hope they will respond here. This is not about me, it is about us.

Ms. Katie Lichtig, San Luis Obispo city manager,

You were hired by our City Council to manage city business and all departments.

I’m writing you today to inquire about the recent police ‘take down’ of a defenseless homeless person on McMillan Road in SLO.

For a primer on this topic I refer you to SLO police again accused of hassling the homeless and SLO Police department video arrest of the homeless. 

The behavior of the police, at the very least officer Lincoln, at this event indicates contempt for the public and overall poor training.

The event in question seems to be a poor example of peacekeeping; something like seven squad cars showed up to deal with one young and by all accounts, peaceful retarded man who was not violating the law. And certainly not to the extent the cops violated propriety and minimal respect for citizens. Not only the victim but others on the scene as well.

Did you notice from the video, long after the victim was handcuffed on the sidewalk all the officers were just standing around-doing nothing? Were crimes being committed across town that suffered neglect because all these cops were milling about, doing nothing?

It was reported in the paper the officers were well aware of the limited mental capacity of the person in question. So therefore they should not have been filled with fear and wonder. Just why did so many cops show up?

There are many credible witnesses to this event; all seem to back up the article on CalCoastNews to the letter. Some of those witnesses have lived and worked in SLO for over 40 years. They cannot be ‘dismissed’ as local homeless, as if those folks are less credible.

One of the cops on the scene said the victim was throwing rocks at the police (a crime), he was asked by a local resident if the victim had been or was being arrested for that and he said ‘no,’ indicating to the witness that the officer was lying about the rock throwing comment. And in fact no witnesses saw any behavior on the part of the victim that seemed dangerous or illegal.

Is it illegal to have one’s hands in one’s pockets? Can any cop tell any citizen anything and demand compliance? Why did officer Lincoln attempt to intimidate a witness by shining a light in his eyes-you can see from the video it was broad daylight. And how does it sit with you for a citizen to be called an ‘asshole’ by a sworn officer? Can we call an officer that without being thrown to the ground and having our life disrupted-I doubt it. This is no good, cops should be better than us, not worse, you know that.

I would like to know what you, the chief, our city attorney and city council are doing about this. It is incumbent on you and others responsible for our police to investigate promptly, and divulge the result of that investigation to the public. And I would like to see a cost breakdown of what this travesty cost us in time and materials expended by the police in savaging this person and insulting others on the scene.

In these trying times we cannot afford to send seven squad cars to apprehend a single non-violent person known to be no threat to anyone.

This overreaction to a simple event has degraded our respect for law enforcement. I even heard from one law-abiding citizen (who was not one of the homeless on the scene) that he was tempted to throw rocks at squad cars he was so mad about this.

If you do not jump on this quickly and effectively you will not be doing your job. An in house quickie will not do, we want this out in the open. It’s all very simple and will not take the customary year or so you folks need to do the simplest thing such as finding out if two SLO officers actually smuggled drugs across the Mexican border after being caught red-handed and whatever happened to that road rage SLO cop, did he get off?

One event, seven cops, bunch of witnesses, done. Should be wrapped up in less than a week. Get on it.

Your (our) police were under no stress or threat; they greatly outnumbered in armaments and manpower the object of their attention yet felt the need to commit violence against a harmless suspect, denigrate innocent onlookers and act in unseemly ways towards others on the scene.

I think the current Council members and all challengers, you, the police chief and our city attorney should comment about this ASAP. The police response to all concerned was proper and legal or not.

This situation, falling on the heels of the many mistakes (cruel and costly) y’all (do you mind a little Southern Comfort here?) made when confronting issues concerning the homeless in SLO leads one to wonder about the competency of our city government.

I’m sure the voting public will be very interested in your timely response. Comment here so all can see how diligently you respond to public concerns, I’m sure you are well aware you work for us. This is a public issue; let’s resolve it publicly.

Pete Evans is a long time resident of San Luis Obispo.


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Officer Eric Lincoln deserves to be fired immediately! According to, he tried to hook up with college girls while on duty. These are not my words. Go to the website and see for yourself.

the poor guy was aressted for trespassing on the shelter property when he was well off the property! Now how the hell can that happen? The cops were looking to get him the day before! That’s why it happend!

I see some of the commenters have missed the points I made. The thrust of my comments are about ‘over reaction’ to an event’. Jarhead (I assume a former Marine-I was Navy and they hate us!) is gung ho on law and order (so was Nixon, one of the biggest crooks in US history) but I dare say if he were to suffer similar insults of the officers in another situation he would be screaming bloody murder at the abuse. The police work for us, they should be trained to keep their cool in difficult situations (we are NOT trained, paid or required to do that). If a careful reading of my comments yields complaints then lay them on me, but so far the negative responses have been from miscreants with an agenda. My agenda is for respect for the law (when the law is just) and others, and I hold the authorities to a higher standard than the average citizen. Sadly, often the reverse is true and those who ‘hold the public trust’ violate it with impunity in many cases. We have been slowly trained to cringe before our bosses and their enforcers-we must reverse that trend and set things right.

Another writer compares me to someone involved with the occupy movement-how does that writer assume we are the same person? And what of it anyway? Fifteen years ago, or so, a person with my name saved a bunch of kids from a capsized boat in Morro Bay-I got calls from the press all across the nation asking me about that-it wasn’t me. I wish it had been, that guy was a hero.

This isn’t a stark political issue, though politics are fundamental to most aspects of our lives. Such as: will there ever be a credible response from our politicians who direct the police to these issues? So far I have received a response from the City Manager referring me to a press release from the Police about this incident-of course I had hoped she and others would sign in here and tell us all where the ‘city’ stands. Like some writers here she chose to ignore the important side issues such as insults to observers by the police, why so many officers showed up, what did this response cost us and so on. At a time when many police depts are telling their citizens most reported crimes will go un-investigated we have a veritable army showing up to apprehend one young and probably harmless man. The press release and fears of others are full of stories of ‘jagged rocks’ hidden in Karenga’s pockets and past arrests for resisting arrest. We’ve all heard of that, getting arrested for resisting arrest. What a farce, the cops use that all the time to heap abuse on us, and I dare say if any of us talked to the cops the way they talked to the witnesses we would have been hauled away. How’s that for so called ‘peace officers’?

Years ago I got into a serious verbal altercation with some people. Fearing it might go viral I called the police to see if they could do some ‘peace keeping’ by talking to all parties- the officers just told me to call them when the shooting started- and then they left.

Don’t let the city off the hook, you can email Ms Lichtig and the council members and ask for more than the near worthless fodder I’ve been fed so far. Just google slo city and all the info is right there.

I’m curious, I really wonder what happened to my letters to the SLO City Counsel?! About the harassment of 3 individuals on the night of Oct.2! Yes, Eric Lincoln was the worst, but I don’t think more training will solve his problems. I think he just has problems! Not just SLOPD is getting out of control, this nation is going to become a police state. I think it’s time to start “policing” the police!

If a “peace” officer just starts yelling obscenities at people who are doing nothing, I hate to find out what he would have done had any of those people actually committed a crime, beat them sensless?

If a “peace” officer does not know how to handle a situation that is under control, if there are no threats against him, do we really want to know how that officer will act in the actual event of an emergency?

The cops are”take down” happy and trigger happy!

I’ve had it with San Luis Obispo

I spoke with Matt Strzepek, the two female citizens who were verbally abused by the police, and the witnesses of the abuse by the police on Oct. 1 and Oct. 2. So did a reporter with the New Times. He reported in the Oct. 18 edition that the witnesses confirmed that Mr. Strzepek is telling the truth in his formal complaint against the police. Why have the police been so quiet about those two incidents? What are they covering up? What else has the abusive police officer done? His rating on is not very good. I also spoke to many of the witnesses who saw the police aggressively throw Richard Kirenga to the ground on Oct. 18. They all confirm that he was not acting in a threatening manner at the shelter or on McMillan Avenue. It is time for the police officers and defenders on here to responsibly acknowledge that their brothers treated homeless citizens disrespectfully, even abusively. At the last city council meeting, Mr. Strzepek gave the city manager, city attorney, police chief, mayor, and city councilmembers a copy of his formal police complaint. What are they going to do about it? If they don’t act on it, then all of the incumbents should be voted out of office!

Excellent letter, Pete.

The police state has a lot of explaining to do. Don’t let them off the hook. They could have taken down any one of us.

Did they choose a retarded man because he can’t defend himself, can’t speak up, can’t make himself understood, or because he is a stranger in a strange land?

This is not the first article that I have read about police brutality in SLO. Obviously, the SLO police have been “militarized.” Police all over the world have been “militarized,” in fact. Last night, I heard a very disturbing report about the militarization of the police in the UK. Same thing going on. UK police used to be famous for their mild mannered approach to things. No more. They are undergoing special training to weed out the sane, good ones and promote the brutal, psychopathic ones. Goon squads is what they are.

But there is growing resistance in the UK among both the police and the public. People are starting to ask questions and demand answers the same way that Pete is here, especially since the exposure of the pedophile rings over there (just like the Jerry Sandusky thing here):

Powerful Paedophile Ring Linked to Parliament Exposed

It’s about time, because the people are sick and tired of the police state tactics.

Rolll back the police state!


Hope you never need them , cause they may not come when you cry WOLF , go back to BERKLEY

Let me tell you something, Mr. jarhead. I can take care of myself.

I do not need and will NEVER need a gd POLICE STATE to take care of me or tell me what to do, and neither does anybody else who can think for himself!

I do not need the police state goon squads assaulting me for my own “good.”

I have never set foot in the city of Berkeley in my life and have no desire to.

You know what you can do with your gd “police state.”

I propose, unlike you, to live free.

Not only am I unalterably opposed to the police state, I am unalterably opposed to the state, period!

The “state” is nothing but a den of thieves, organized crime at its worst.

Roll back the police state!

Live free or die!

Go back to your Bilderberg meetings and report what I said!

I love it when a PLAN comes together

Warren v. District of Columbia (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981) is an oft-quoted District of Columbia Court of Appeals (equivalent to a state supreme court) case that held police do not have a duty to provide police services to individuals, even if a dispatcher promises help to be on the way, except when police develop a special duty to particular individuals.

I often wonder why we even have cops? I wonder a great deal more why we have the NUMBER of cops we do and why they are so highly paid?

Take your “BERKLEY”(sic) and shove it, jarhead.

Pete Evans,

With the known past experience of this homeless person by the police, I want you to place yourself in the same scenario, okay?

Lets put you as a police officer at this situation, you have a family at home, you got a call that a homeless person with previous actions that relate to being disruptive, AND THAT MAY CARRY A WEAPON, is confronting other citizens.

You arrive at the scene, you tell the homeless person to take his hands out of his pockets. He doesn’t follow your instructions. What do you do? Do you placate to him and offer a lolly pop, or some ice cream so that he follows your directions? Or do you just pass on it and approach him without any concern thinking that no harm will come in this instance?

As a trained officer, you err on the side of caution when you are deciding what to do! You do the thing that is safe instead of taking a risk. Therefore, you take the person down as fast as you can if he does not comply with your request in this type of situation. God forbid if he took his hands out of his pockets in a direct combative way, ie; proposing to have a weapon, such as a gun. We may be reading a different story at this time.

Being raised in the Los Angeles area gives you an entirely different perspective to a situation like this. I can see your story line being presented to the LA Police Department that operate out of East Los Angeles. They would laugh at your placating proposition to no end!

Conversely, can you imagine if the police didn’t take their direct action, and said person drew a weapon and either injured or killed another? There would be no end to reprimanding the SLO Police Department in not performing their trained duties as officers!

It matters not whether he is homeless, mentally ill, or even if 50 police cars showed up, he posed as a threat and didn’t comply. End of story.

the fact that SEVEN police cruisers showed up to arrest ONE homeless person shows that it was the police that were attempting to escalate the incident


Not knowing the true circumstances of the situation, again, to err on the side of caution.

“Hey Los Angeles police officers, if you get a call for one gang-banger in the East LA gang lands, only send one police cruiser so you don’t escalate the situation, even though there may be more involved!” Yeah, right.

A homeless man in SLO and a “gang-banger in the East LA gang lands” is not the same thing, and you know that. In fact, I happened to witness an incident involving a homeless person just yesterday, across the street from Union Station in Downtown LA…and guess what? ONE police cruiser responded, not SEVEN.


In an ABSOLUTE sense, insure that any police officer that resonds to an area where many homeless hang out, that they will only need one patrol car. Can you guarantee this? NO, YOU CANNOT!

Quit being a namby pamby because we do not live in a nirvana state 24/7!

Besides, how could seven police cars escalate the situation as you portend if there is only one homeless person? Do the simple math.

You’d be the first person whining and filing complaints towards the SLO Police Department if something broke out and there wasn’t enough police units to handle it.


What exactly is a namby pamby? Why would you suspect I’d be the first person filing a complaint towards the SLOPD if a riot broke out? You don’t think sending SEVEN cruisers to the scene of a single person trespassing could have escalated the situation into a riot? They’re lucky it didn’t. Overkill, and a totally unnecessary response.

It also shows we are wasting $$$ by employing far too many cops. If this would have happened in Los Angeles it would have been dealt with quickly by 1 or 2 LAPD officers.


You sound just like how I feel , great job .

Why would it surprise you, to the point you feel you have to come to the defense of, the SLOPD behaves in a manner not becoming of a peace officer. You’ve already witnessed one of SLO’s finest, a firefighter named John or Ryan or both Mason behaving in conduct not becoming of a first responder…this seems to be the new normal under the current crop of supervisors.

GEE PETE maybe you want the police chiefs job and everything will be ROSY ,

I guess people like you don,t get it , when any sworn police officer or game warden tells you to get your hands out of your pocket , or get on the ground , you must comply OR face the consequences, and from what i know , he did not comply , end of story , the officers took proper action as per there training.

Buy i do agree that the city council and the chief at least need to quell this mess NOW

Should of said, Pete Evans is a long time resident of San Luis Obispo and political activist with far left leanings.

Yeah, and? Because he holds certain political viewpoints his opinion is somehow not valid?

Sure, they’re valid. Just want as much transparancy for Evans as was afforded Rougeot, the write-in guy from Paso Robles.

Hit pieces are a funtion of agenda, so it seems

So now everybody that writes an opinion piece should be required to disclose their political interests in the name of maintaining transparency? I don’t think so.

wow, grc, you come off as being somewhat angry. I suggest you fire one up and relax. That’s my agenda.

not angry, just trying to figure out why you think an opinion piece needs some sort of disclosure about one’s political agenda…why can’t it just be somebody’s opinion based on an event that occurred?

Mental illness is a serious problem No_More_Anger. If you think Rougeot needs you to defend him, consider how important it is that Pete Evans step forward to defend a helpless, homeless, mentally ill man who checks into the one place in the City of SLO that says it offers a meal and referrals to mental health services. So how come every available police car in SLO decends on the homeless man and no one comments on Rougeot’s multiple criminal cases in Paso Robles?