Dust-up over man removing ribbons in San Luis Obispo and officer

June 4, 2021

Alex Catlett in a Mustang News report

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

A San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s investigator last month spotted a Cal Poly student removing blue ribbons honoring slain police detective Luca Benedetti while driving Benedetti’s widow, leading to a heated confrontation.

The investigator ended up detaining the student and waiting for the arrival of San Luis Obispo police officers, who ultimately let the man go. The student, English senior Alex Catlett, told the Tribune the DA’s investigator angrily confronted him, pushed him and scratched his face while ripping off his mask.

Detective Luca Benedetti

On May 17, a DA’s investigator was driving Benedetti’s widow in his car in San Luis Obispo when he saw a man with scissors cutting down the blue ribbons that lined the street near Osos and Mill streets. The man was carrying a 13-gallon trash bag full of blue ribbons similar to the ones the investigator observed him removing. Benedetti’s widow could also see what was happening, District Attorney Dan Dow said in a statement.

The investigator, who was in civilian clothing, confronted the man, informing him what he was doing was illegal and wrong. The man tossed the bag of cut ribbons at the investigator and walked away, Dow said in the statement.

In attempt to identify the man, the investigator reached for the man’s face covering and pulled it off. While doing so, the investigator scratched the man’s face, according to the DA’s office.

The DA’s investigator briefly spoke with another witness, who was also upset over the removal of the ribbons. The investigator called the SLO Police Department and reported what he saw.

Several minutes later, the investigator saw the man continuing to remove ribbons from parking meters in the downtown corridor. At that point, the investigator identified himself as an officer and detained the man.

Police officers arrived at the scene and spoke with the man, who was cooperative and apologetic. The man said he did not understand the significant impact removing the ribbons would have.

No one requested charges, and officers allowed the man to leave. However, unauthorized removal or destruction of public property may constitute theft or vandalism, Dow said in the statement.

Despite the incident involving a personnel matter, which could enable the DA’s office to refrain from disclosing it, the investigator agreed to allow the information be released to the public. The DA’s office is conducting an internal review of the incident.

On the other side, the suspected vandal accuses the investigator and police of bad behavior.

Alex Catlett told the Tribune the investigator attacked him. The Cal Poly student did not know what he was doing was illegal, and he was bothered by the “Blue Lives Matter” message of the ribbons, he said. [Tribune]

There were like a billion blue ribbons, and the Blue Lives Matter flags are blatant racism, Catlett said.

Upon noticing Catlett, the investigator slammed on his breaks while driving and began yelling and cursing at him to stop, the student said. Catlett did not know the plain-clothed investigator was an officer.

The investigator pushed Catlett and grabbed him by the garbage bag, ripping his mask off and leaving a cut on his face, the student said. He called Catlett a punk and repeatedly cursed at him while telling him to leave.

Minutes later, after they initially parted ways, the investigator made Catlett sit on the ground and cross his hands behind his back. The investigator then placed one hand on Catlett’s head and kept one hand on his gun while cursing at the Cal Poly student, Catlett said.

The officers who arrived were also angry at him, but they were calmer, more rational and trying to get both sides of the story, Catlett said.

Officers said he committed a misdemeanor but were going to call it even and not seek charges. The officers said Catlett could have been arrested because the ribbons were city property, the student said.

Catlett would have stopped if told to do so by police, he said. Catlett said he was attacked, and that is what the police stand for. They try to protect and serve themselves, Catlett said.


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Buchon

This ribbon thief sounds like a real piece of work. I can’t imagine Poly rendering such an entitled little canceller in years past. His comment “the Blue Lives Matter flags are blatant racism” is nothing more than a racist lie. A mountain of malodorous mule muffins brought to us by today’s cancel culture.


Just imagine if a Caucasian male was caught removing rainbow-colored ribbons during homosexual month. He would likely have been arrested and then crucified by the press.


These continued attempts at cancelling, and the double standards are going to lead to some real problems if things don’t improve.


Slosum

Weird. The whole thing is weird. Including the narrative.


KarinP

I find Alex’s behavior nothing short of a English Major Student who likes to harass us at School, he talked a lot about Nazi’s and compared “White” Status in his senior project paper read it, it is a racist, foul racist piece of his inner demons.


He was a devout wannabe “Radical” who was in deep with Black Lives Matter’s anti-police, anti-white, anti-anything he is not a leader but a follower of the Arata group, he asked many of us at the UU recently to join his desire to tear down all the Blue Ribbons all over SLO.


Early the same day he was at Mitchell Park, tearing down Blue Ribbons, that just moments before the Murdered Officers Widow was in a Blue UN-marked Police Vehicle, glad she and her two kids did not get to see the tear down but they did see those great law abiding community members putting up Ribbons at Mitchell Park.


We watched Alex and two of the BLM people tear them down and run to a old Small school Bus that was painted dull green parked at Emerson Park , as we saw him running down later near the new SLO Hotel doing the same. Thank goodness that British accent MAN STOPPED HIM THEN LATER THE POLICE OFFICER STOPPED HIM AGAIN, so Alex is a creepy person and soon he will be out of CP.


We know him and he is a creepy guy, he was lucky he only had scissors this time he usually carries a big carving knife so the Cop and the British Tourist were lucky. They did not get stabbed or killed. Alex knows that many of us have him on I phones doing some really bad things so if he try’s to make any more threats or vandalism the Police will get several copies of what illegal activities he and BLM have been doing. He will be at the Protest in SLO today as he hates cops and he is very unstable, he needs Mental Health help, he is a user of illicit drugs and has had “roofed” several students


Niles Q

Post the videos anyway. It’d serve him right to get exposed for what he is and what he’s done.

I suppose he’ll next go to the cemetery and deface the man’s grave stone.


cooperdog

English major, eh? I’d like to see the business plan that shows the cost of this degree has a rate of return greater than 1. Of course he’ll likely get a tuition bailout that me and my kids get to pay for.


Maven

Hey Alex, F*!k your comfort.


Gordo

“There were like a billion blue ribbons, and the Blue Lives Matter flags are blatant racism, Catlett said.”


Blatant racism? Really? I have seen quite a few police officers and deputy sheriffs in this county who are not white.


So explain exactly how a flag that represents all of those officers, is racist? I mean unless of course you are going to call those officers of color a bunch of “Uncle Toms”, playing to their “massahs”, of course that in itself we be racist, wouldn’t it.


But maybe it doesn’t matter what color the officer is; maybe anyone who enforces rules is inherently a racist, is that this young man’s argument?


If so, then what he stands for is anarchy, because the logical path is that laws that command or forbid certain actions or behaviors are inherently racist, therefore if we have no laws then we have no law enforcers and we have eliminated systemic racism.


Of course if anarchy reins he must expect everyone will be on their best behavior, including the Klan, right?


Bottom line, we have a spoiled dipsh*t who tore down a bunch of ribbons so he could go back underneath whatever rock he crawled out from under and brag about “sticking it to the Man”, over a bowl of weed shared with his friends.


805code4

You would think a college senior would have acquired enough intelligence and decency to NOT cause problems like this. This idea that supporting law enforcement and memorializing a fallen officer is racist is asenine gibberish. Many MANY officers across this country are black, Hispanic, Asian and all ethnicities of color. This claim of racism garbage is just an excuse for lousy behavior and to disrespect the community, the people who serve the community and the family and friends who are in mourning. Cal poly better start turning out better than this trash.


derasmus

President Armstrong, are you hearing this? Will you speak to this, publicly?


obispan

So I am free to remove ANY expressions of free speech left on public property? Let the party begin, and I expect no SLOPD/Heidi Harmon interference.


commonsenseguy

Don’t be fooled one moment by him stating “he did not understand the significant impact of removing the ribbons”. He knew exactly what he was doing and got the reaction he wanted. Now he’ll probably be on every news outlet and claim abuse by Police and soon have a attorney. I’m sure mommy and daddy are proud of him. Another bigoted, hateful, and divisive act by a CP brat.