Mason detractors protest rehire of SLO firefighter

June 11, 2013

MasonProtestAbout 20 people protested the city of San Luis Obispo’s rehiring of embattled firefighter John Ryan Mason on Monday.

Prior to a city council budgeting meeting Monday evening, protesters gathered outside City Hall holding signs criticizing SLO Fire Chief Charlie Hines’s decision to rehire Mason.

In June 2011, Mason allegedly beat Jory Brigham unconscious, fracturing 17 bones in his face, after an eight-month rift stemming from claims the firefighter was having an affair with a local policeman’s wife. Mason’s trial concluded with a hung jury, and the District Attorney’s Office chose not to retry the case.

On June 5, Hines agreed to reinstate Mason with an agreement that the firefighter take a pay cut and serve a five-year probationary period in which any similar misconduct could lead to his immediate termination.

The conditions placed upon Mason’s reinstatement did not satisfy his detractors.

Protesters Monday read a statement that described the decision to rehire Mason as “rewarding abhorrent, egregious behavior.”

“A person who leaves a man for dead cannot be trusted to uphold the firefighters’ code of ethics of committing to keep all people safe,” another sign said.

Upon the start of the council meeting, the protesters moved in the chamber and some made public comment.

Los Osos resident Lelah Broyles said Mason’s behavior was “not only unthinkable, but intolerable.”

“He is under one of the highest stress jobs,” Broyles said. “You cannot be someone who can snap in that position”

Following public comment on the Mason reinstatement, Mayor Jan Marx requested a legal explanation of the rehire from City Attorney Christine Dietrick.

Dietrick said the council does not control whom the fire chief hires.

“The city council’s jurisdiction over employment decisions is limited to the city manager and I,” Dietrick said. “All other employees in the city are appointed by their appointing authority, which is in most cases the department head and in this case Fire Chief Charlie Hines.”


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

One more thing before I get out of here and move on.

A lot of posters are talking about how someone of his profession leave Jory in the bathroom with such significant injuries. For one, the picture that is shown over and over is a picture of Jory hours after swelling had a chance to overtake his face. The 2-3 seconds after the 2-3 second fight there would not have been the same visual confirmation of such injuries. Hardly any blood and no way anyone could tell what injuries were inflicted.

All Mason probably saw was a guy that got hit a couple times and fell to the ground – end of story. According to the video, there was no possible time to assess the damages.

You did use the phrase on 6/11/ 2013 below. And to correct you the previous Fire Chief passed away and did not retire.

Let me see if understand the mode of thinking on the majority of these posts.

So I can take someone’s personal life and start to make is more public on social media – it happens, I get it, nothing we can do about it. (we are creating a culture of say want you want and expect no consequences since you are usually behind a keyboard). Then I can show up to an event and proceed to get extremely intoxicated, start an altercation, then start to provoke the person I made social media comments about, continue to do that throughout the night while getting even more drunk. My wife knows I have a history of getting into these things (check the testimony – yes she said it), then follow the person I was dogging into the bathroom (as they were trying to leave the place) and then get into a fight that I was jointly responsible for starting. The whole fight will last a small handful of seconds (check the surveillance tape), not know how to handle myself, in part because I am hammered, proceed to take a few shots to the face (could not have been more than that based on the tape) then be able to feel the right to try and sue to take away the other persons ability to earn a living, take care of his family, now try and take away his retirement, go after his wife, go after the establishment and go about my day?

Sounds like a much better plan than working until I am 65 and take a retirement. I will just provoke someone to no end, someone who can handle themselves, be out of commission for a while, then call some attorneys for the money grab.

And we wonder why our kids have authority issues today. Anything that happens these days always need to be blamed on someone. Back when I was growing up, I knew what I could say and what I needed to keep to myself, because I knew there were boundaries and I knew that some things needed to be kept private. If I provoked a guy that could kick my tail…I knew I would probably get my tail kicked and you know what, I knew that I would be partially responsible – so I didn’t do it. Now we can all sit on the side lines a throw anonymous shots at people we don’t know and feel the security of our screen.

Please, can I now have my medal for participating?

I couldn’t have said it better myself Skippy. Great post.

Well said, I can’t believe it a factual unemotional comment. Bravo!

Well said Skippy.

Mason, carry on saving lives. Prove them all wrong.

The problem with your fairy tale is that Mason has a history of increasingly aggressive, violent behavior. This last incident was the only time anyone attempted to hold him accountable for it.

He will repeat his behavior. It’s inevitable because that’s who he is. Hopefully it won’t be against you, Skip-o.

Fairy Tale? I would like to know what details are made up? I just represented facts that were brought up in court and are documented. Let’s try and be objective here.

So then according to Jory’s lawsuit, you should be prepared also, because you KNOW something is going to happen with Ryan and you are doing nothing to prevent it.

The sad thing is, is he would probably find an attorney to take that one on too.

Yes, it appears you understand it quite well. If someone is drunk and aggressive, it gives you the perfect right to beat him up so badly that you threaten his life (check the extent of his injuries). In addition, it is also fine to be a paramedic and walk away from a badly injured person, whether you caused the injury or not (check the testimony). In addition, a “few shots to the face” is usually justified and not harmful in any way (check the doctor’s report) and will “teach him a lesson”.

The problem with authority these days which the kids are learning is that authority is often abused and those in command are given the automatic right to protect their friends and fellow workers over the rights of the citizens who gave them their trust to protect them rather than harm them.

You know what – when both parties are drinking and have history and a fight breaks out, do you really think that merits destroying an entire families ability to earn a living and raise kids? Jory was out of commission for a while and should be compensated for that but going after retirement and his spouse and the establishment that only assisted after the fact?

You have to draw the line and be able to understand that sh*t happens. This was an ugly outcome but it was not like there was a master thought out plan that Mason executed with forethought. It is what it is – a bar fight and unfortunately for Jory he got the brunt of it – or all of it. Are we now going to have to make sure that everyone is all in the same physical shape and all have the same type of agility and knowledge of self defense?

And maybe I was not very clean on my “authority these days” comment – what I meant was more of a “consequences today” issue because no matter what happens, don’t worry, we’ll just hire an attorney and make it go away or wait until they say uncle.

So to your comment about serving citizens….how many citizens has Mason helped over his career? How many limbs have you picked up off the asphalt? How many elderly citizens have you helped resuscitate? How many gas fires have you run into? I am so glad that everyone else is so perfect.

And again, a lot of people on this board make this event sound like it was planned for months. I’m not sure what is worse, an event like this that involved alcohol and bad blood over the course of seconds, or a sober methodical plan of trying to take away someone’s ability to work, earn a living, try and syphon money off of someone else that was not even involved (Mason’s wife) and then potentially put a SLO small business out of business due to a lawsuit. You know, I can get over things in life that just happen for one reason or another, I may not always like it but they happen, but the things that really stick are people that really try and take advantage of situations through the legal system that can actually cripple them for life.

“The city council’s jurisdiction over employment decisions is limited to the city manager and I,” Dietrick said.

Well, it’s time to fire Dietrick. How about it Council? What’s she done right lately?

Supported them when it came to ticketing the homeless.

What has Dietrick and Litchig done right ever, the do councils dirty deals an lie to all of us. Fire them both and that idiot Irons. This decision involved all of them. Good news is that it has diverted our attention from the raise Dietrick just got – smooth move.

Please, correct me if I am wrong.

I remember the previous fire chief retiring at about the time the Mason debacle was unfolding. At the time, I remember some “new” posters saying that once the old chief was out and Chief Hines was at the helm of the Fire Department that something like the Mason disaster just wouldn’t happen.

That’s not quite how it turned out.

Chief Hines was free of Mason and all the problems and bad PR associated with Mason. Yet Chief Hines brings Mason back into his department?

Does anyone have an opinion on why Chief Hines would do such an asinine and career-destructive thing?

Hines shoots from the hip, runs things like the wild wild west. He does what he wants, when he wants with no regard to policy.

What people need to understand is the asinine decision he made was when he decided to terminate Ryan months ago. He should have known better. He could have disciplined him without a fight and everyone would be over it by now. Instead, he made things up, lied to people and now has made himself look like an arse. Chief’s are supposed to be smarter than that and unfortunately this one is a big dummy.

It didn’t take long for Mayor Jan Marx throw him under the bus, did it?

LOL! Anything to take the heat off her, the city council, Dietrick & Lichtig…..someone has to be the sacrificial lamb! Apparently Hines drew the short stick at that meeting.

What makes you think it will take six months ? He is being sued by the guy he almost killed and when he loses that one he will be out on permanent disability with the other third of the firefighters

Almost killed? Really? What doctors report mentioned that? Are you just looking at the one photo? People really need to look at facts and take the emotion out of this.

Skippy, I suggest you find the biggest, meanest, large man you can find, ask him to beat you to the same level as the picture of Mr Mason’s victim, and aftwards let us know how close to death you feel, okay?

kayaknut…..Jory and Ryan were the same size and weight so don’t make it sound like it was David against Goliath. The whole fight happened in less than 6 seconds so how much can you “beat” somebody in that amount of time? It does not take much to break bones in someones face, people do it all the time with one punch. $20 says Jory gets his arse kicked again sometime soon for popping off and starting a fight he can’t finish.

You can do a beatdown in 6 seconds, as obviously demonstrated by the multiple plates-and-wire and/or -screw fixations for the fractures in his face.

Brigham could have easily died from those facial fractures. Elbow strikes are notorious for causing damage. An upward elbow strike to the nose can drive the nasal bones right up into the brain.

You are not helping your cause here. Not one bit.

But he didn’t almost die.

kayaknut – I will reiterate what slojo said….THEY ARE THE SAME SIZE. Get the facts correct before you post with only emotion. If you are going to form an argument, get your facts straight.

kayaknut – problem is, I know better. If I was 15 and drinking for the first time, I could see that happening, but we are talking about a grown man who was acting like a complete drunk idiot all day, to multiple people. Again, Jory’s own wife knew that he was going to cause trouble “Jory being Jory” (check the transcripts)- some lessons are harder than others I guess.

This is real life – not a theoretical utopia, sorry to break the news to you.

You know what…let’s say I did that and I got my a$$ kicked. What would most people say? They would say that I asked for it – right? Based on Jory’s actions that day, that is basically what he did too. Don’t minimize his drunken antagonistic behavior.

Thank you to the protester’s who had the time and gumption to go out and demonstrate, peacefully, what MANY, MANY of us think of this.

I think there would probably have been more protesters if there was more advance notice. I would have been glad to add my “robust” voice to the group if it weren’t for a prior commitment.

Those two chicks that were out there are probably chicks Jory is humping……ya, he’s like that. The others were a handful of unemployed tree huggers who had nothing better to do.

Let’s see….how many people showed up to support psycho Mason’s rehiring?

Don’t disrespect activists who take time and make the effort to show up at a protest to demonstrate their political view. Our country would be far better if more people would get involved.

Your bitterness and vindictiveness is duly noted.

As is yours “Bob”.

I’ll bet within six months, there’s a work-related injury leading to early retirement.

More likely his follow firefighters will begin shun him, and he’ll claim a hostile work environment, quit, and sue the City. Either way, were going to pay.

You obviously do not know the dynamics between Mason and his coworkers. Again, speaking from a place where you know absolutely nothing about the real facts.

Eventually, Mason may go the Chittygate route, a la Lisa Solomon-Chitty in Paso.

First, he could go on paid leave, then resign and collect a hefty settlement from SLO City because his reputation was tarnished. Then he could even file a bogus worker’s comp claim. LIke cooperdog says, either way, the taxpayers will pay $$$.