Officers aware of mistaken identity, raid SLO County home anyway

October 14, 2020

Photo of the suspect and Cheyne Orndoff on July 10, 2019

By KAREN VELIE

A San Luis Obispo County probation supervisor testified that he told officers who were about to search a couple’s home to look for the police chief’s gun, that they got it wrong.

Supervising Deputy Probation Officer Jeremiah Malzhan testified he told other officers that a security video of the man suspected of taking then-San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell’s gun from a restaurant bathroom did not look like Cheyne Orndoff.

The man in the video was clean-shaven. Orndoff had a full beard and mustache. A dash cam video shows Malzhan stroking his chin as he looks over at Orndoff while speaking with several San Luis Obispo police officers and a sheriff’s deputy.

But despite Malzhan’s concerns that they were about to conduct a search of the wrong man’s home, SLO police officers went ahead with the raid.

Although they did not find the chief’s pistol, officers made a video of the dirty house and paraphernalia in the parent’s bedroom. They arrested Orndoff and Vanessa Bedroni on child neglect charges.

Attorneys for the couple are asking Judge Tim Covello to throw out evidence gathered during the search, arguing that the warrentless July 2019 search was unconstitutional and inadmissible in their case under the exclusionary rule.

The exclusionary rule prevents the government from using any evidence obtained through violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights, here the 4th Amendment protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

SLO City Attorney Christine Dietrick contends that the officers who conducted the search had reasonable good faith they were conducting a proper search. In such circumstances, case law allows evidence to be used in prosecutions.

The question is, did the officers act in good faith?

Bedroni’s attorney Peter Depew argues that the officers did not.

The officers who searched the couple’s home relied on their belief that Orndoff was on probation because they looked at partial information in a database that listed him as a probationer. Probationers cannot prevent searches of their property.

But Orndoff was not on probation.

Depew pointed out that there was a tag on the law enforcement database that noted Orndoff was not on probation. A tag that neither a police dispatcher nor a probation officer remember reading while they looked up Orndoff’s status.

Shortly after the unwarranted raid, Dietrick said the officers could see into the filthy home from the front yard, giving officers cause to enter the home without a warrant.

At a hearing two weeks ago, officer Jason Dickel testified that he could not see inside the home from the yard because of the slope. However, Dickel said the front door was open, and he could see inside the house while standing on the porch.

But, video from a police car dash cam shows the screen door, which completely blocks the view of the interior of the house, was closed until the officers entered the home.

On Oct. 15, the court is scheduled to resume the hearing on the motion to suppress the evidence collected during the warrantless search.

Even if the video of the dirty house is ruled inadmissible, Dietrick ensured that it would be seen by the public. While the case is still pending, she gave a copy to the SLO Tribune. In other cases, police and prosecutors have refused to make evidentiary videos available saying that they could not do so because the case had not been resolved.

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charger805

I have to stop reading the stories about this. Eventually, I’m gonna stroke out because it all pisses me off so much. Give them their kids back!


LeroyMoo

Why isn’t Dietrick on unpaid leave for a willful violation of State Bar ethics by releasing the inadmissible video? She’s still in a position to tinker, suppress evidence against herself and browbeat staff if she still has keys to the building and firewall access. An attempted cover-up by her and any cronies will dig the hole deeper, just like the lost gun fiasco. Hopefully Dietrick won’t drag anyone down with her. Let’s revisit in 6 months.


Gramelin

What kind of training do these investigators have? I mean, if we are relying on these cops to be capable of telling the difference between a clean shaven and fully bearded perp and these guys can’t tell the difference we are really in trouble!! Look at the pictures! The guy even has a more bulbous nose! I agree they may look similar, but not close enough to confuse the 2. Do you agree? The other issue that Cheyne was NOT on probation. Why was that not made clear? My understanding is that when the call went out, the dispatcher had the opportunity to actually read notes about Cheyne, but didn’t bother. WHAT??? You are sending umteenth numbers of police out to do a raid and you do NOT bother to read all info on the “perp” ? What if a perp is known to carry guns? Or I just don’t get sending cops in and NOT bothering to read all pertaining information??. All around FAIL. to the point of embarassment. To the point our beloved Cheif is publicly shamed and moving on! WOW! And the lives of these people flipped upside down on a MISTAKE?

And WORSE of all, those poor kids have gone through Hell! Even as I’ve heard been abused by Suzie Q the cop? Wow, great way to teach kids how to respect the Blue! What does it do to a child to be dragged through the system unjustly? I am embarrassed for the entire system. SLO has already made National headlines over Adam Hill and his crazy antics. Good job enforcing the “ridiculousness” award. And the cherry on top? Miss Chrissy and her self serving antics. Sharing inadmisable evidence? Is this the actions of a respectable attorney?


kayaknut

I’m thinking your whole premise is wrong. You seem to be under the idea the goal was to do the right thing. That clearly is not the right premise. The goal was to get Chief Cantrell’s gun back at any costs and to keep the news of her failure out of the public. Should any member of the pubic become involved the goal was to scare them into keeping their mouth shut and to not let “What is legal” get in the way.


Gramelin

Kaya, you are right! And Now the police officers sit in court in front of the judge and outright lie! ITs very sad and disappointing to know its not about truth and facts. ITs about the Blue-Boy club and protecting thier own. ITs us against them. They forget who covers their paychecks.


kayaknut

Correct, those of the police that need to be defunded, by firing them but the Union supports them totally, in part because the Union knows they need to support anything a member does regardless of the illegality because otherwise officers might start thinking they don’t need to continue to pay union dues. Then the Union leaders would have to go out and get a real jobs.


IronHub

As to the illegal removal of the children — let’s not forget how Karen Velie’s grandchildren were taken from her home by county “child protective” services to punish her for reporting on CAPSLO’s Dee Torres-Hill and the latter’s penchant for taking gift cards intended for the homeless. This is standard operating procedure for some of these tax-paid folks — using the “system” to punish individuals by kidnapping their children.


Gramelin

ITs Shameful! These kids should have the right to SUE the county for Child abuse! And personally sue each adult individual who had a hand in it. NO more hiding under the blanket of CPS,Social Services or the Police. IF it has been found unlawful, the children should have the right to sue the individuals whom created the fiasco in the first place!


ml1999

She made about $175,000 in 2014, plus bennies. In 2019, she was up to $249,000, $7,000 in “other” pay, for a total package of $376,000. Not bad if you can get it. How much OT does she log? Of is it a cake job?


Don’t forget, years ago she slid her brother in law into a city position w/out internal or external competition, against city & county rules. Shady.


Gramelin

Maybe Miss Chrissy crossed the line because she is afraid if the City has to pay for this family she won’t get her 2021 raise?

She should be fired for unethical behavior.


WeThePeople

I’m pretty sure we are now discovering the true reason why the progressive, former SLO police chief found another job!


ml1999

I’m not an attorney, but this gal Ms. Dietrick sounds like a real putz. What is the old saying, when in doubt, err on the side of caution? Did she go to Phoenix part time at night, in-a-mall law school?


Maybe there is some legal statute I am unaware of. But if not, she sounds either dumb, spiteful, or both.


Analogies to a Federal level, this sounds like our DOJ & FBI officials fabricating a Russia Hoax where none existed. If you don’t like Orange Man, fine, but the legal implications are frightening. No “predicate”, George Papadalolous & General Flynn framed, etc.


FWIW, terrific attorney Sidney Powell wrote a book “Licensed to Lie” about prosecutorial misconduct and how the average Joe is at a phenomenal disadvantage against the gov’t prosecution. She has wages a Herculean battle against the DOJ for General Michael Flynn, and is on the cusp of success. … And here the police chief is off to a new job in a not-so-nice area. Ugh.


MrYan

The investigation into “illegal” unmasking fizzled without any finding of wrong doing by Obama Admin. It made the headlines yesterday. No analogy here. Sorry.


kevin rise

Boy oh boy. Boycott Police Unions, make them a public servant and hold them accountable. They aren’t teachers, drs, grocery clerks or nurses, just 6 month trained cops, and dont need a union to Lobby Lawmakers to hide this crap. Scrutinize the Thin Blue Line of Privalege and BS. Hell, takeaway most cops guns, make special units, BAMO, done! My neighbors and I can take care of each other and dont pay pensions.


WeThePeople

I’m sure anarchy and vigilanteism will work well for your neighborhood…please put a wall around it and tell me where it is so I never consider moving there!


Gordo

First off, these SLOPD detectives should have thanked Mr. Orndoff for his time and walked away once they could see he wasn’t the guy in the surveillance photo. They were out of line in their fishing expedition, clearly.

But Kevin, are you and your neighbors going to keep your neighborhood safe when the next Mason Lira or Scott Huffman blows into town and goes on a shooting spree?

No, you will dial 911 like everybody else and hope the cops hurry the f*ck up in getting to you.

Certainly hold the police accountable for their actions but don’t advocate for their abolishment.


LameCommenter

If Ms. Velie is getting this right and I think she usually does, it is even more clear now that the removal of the children should constitute culpable conspiratorial child abuse under color of authority. Somebody’s head needs to roll, job-wise speaking, and this family deserves NBA-sized compensation.

1`. Have Gibson sign a blank check.

2. Expunge the family records.

3. Send Christine a correspondence first year law school course on Mapp v. Ohio et. seq., and on municipal and prosecutorial professional lawyer conduct. (Like she’d read it.)

It’s all outrageous.


derasmus

Yes, and terminate the employment of all law enforcement personnel that went along with it.


WeThePeople

Even if the search was not legal, which at this point is quite possible, LE still has a legal/moral/ethical obligation to ensure the safety and welfare of the involved children. A “dirty” house is one thing, but was this an unsanitary & unhealthy environment for the children…that’s a call that CPS would make moving forward, not LE. Drug paraphernalia is not a good sign, neither is the fact that Orndoff was recently on probation. I think the kids welfare should be top priority…if SLOPD did violate 4A, there will no doubt be compensation….hopefully they find something better than drugs to spend the money on!


hold it what

Lol, I will put it in caps, maybe then you will get it. ORNDOFF WAS NOT AND NEVER WAS ON PROBATION OF ANY KIND. HE WAS THE VICTIM OF IDENTITY FRAUD AND IMPERSONATION BY HIS YOUNGER BROTHER IN 2017, HIS BROTHER WAS CONVICTED OF IT. SOMEONE ERRED AND PUT THE CONVICTION ON CHEYNE, CHEYNE LOST HIS JOB WITH TEMPLETON SCHOOL DISTRICT DIRECTLY AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THIS. CHEYNE WAS DEVASTATED, HE WENT TO THE COURT HOUSE, THEY SENT HIM ELSE WHERE, IN TURN THOSE PEOPLE SENT HIM ELSEWHERE HE GOT THE RUNAROUND NEVER GETTING ANYWHERE, GUESS WHAT HAPPENED WHEN ALL THIS WAS REPORTED IN CCN, PER THE EXPERT WITNESS, SHE CALLED SOME GUY ON THE PHONE, IT TOOK THE GUY LESS THAN 5 MIN, AND IT WAS FIXED. ALMOST MAKES YOU WANT TO START PULLING YOUR HAIR OUT, DOESN’T IT. I WONDER IF THEY HAD TAKEN THE TIME IN 2017 TO DO THE RIGHT THING CALL THE GUY AND DO THE SIMPLE FIX, HOW LIFE FOR THIS FAMILY MIGHT HAVE DIFFERED. WE WILL JUST NEVER KNOW, CAUSE HERE WE ARE, THE ‘ONE IN A MILLION MISTAKE’, TOO BAD SO SAD, RIGHT?

Did the caps help, not yelling just making sure the letters are big enough to be read.

As bright as you sound, most of the time, sometimes I just have to wonder about you.


hold it what

Just to be clear, my ‘in caps’ comment was meant as a reply to ‘wethepeople’ comment on orndoff being on probation.


WeThePeople

Was not apprised of the entire backstory to the Orndoff probation scenario…sounds odd though, because if the probation was in fact an error, the record should’ve been expunged & not just tagged…not the premise to my argument however. The point I was making is that the welfare of the children should take higher priority than the legal ramifications of the search…again, I am not apprised to what the drug paraphernalia is (I assume it is not weed), but not an ideal environment for children. However, that is my opinion, and the true determination should be made by CPS.


hold it what

CCN is doing a great job at reporting on this case. All of the facts have been reported accurately by CCN. Maybe Karen should start typing in caps, LOL.

The point is that no one in this case is completely innocent, the children were removed from the home and the parents have had their lives turned upside down.

But there is this little thing called, ‘THE BILL OF RIGHTS’, little but extremely important to the citizens of this country because this little thing, signed by our founding fathers, is what separates us from most of the rest of the world and gives us citizens many guarantees, one of those is the 4th amendment, which in this case, by what ever means was denied to this family, and the perpetrators, are being given the green light to do it again whenever they feel it, no one will be held accountable, heck, it can happen to any one of us.

Makes you feel safe, doesn’t it!


Boomer5

That is probably why San Luis Obispo needs the sales tax increased

to pay for it.


Gramelin

I say let the people vote on it!! I say take it out of the wages and pensions of all involved. Including the idiot who failed to properly change Cheyne’s probation standing. He even submitted letters from the Pismo PD exhonorating him. Remember he lost his job because of the false listing of him being on probation. They failed to change his standing in the first place. But AH, there was a NOTE attached, that the dispatcher didn’t bother reading.


shishkabob141

The city has insurance that will pay the settlement. BUT…taxpayers will end up ultimately footing the bill when the insurance company either cancels them because of the large payout, or raises their rates. No one gets a free ride!