Whoever said politics is the enemy of imagination might need to spend a few days in San Diego County.
A fundraiser for congressional candidate Francine Busby on June 26 ended in two arrests -- battery on a police officer and interfering with an officer in the line of duty -- a deputy sheriff using pepper spray on an angry crowd, an acquittal, a potential civil lawsuit against that same deputy sheriff, and now a letter from the Sheriff's Association of San Diego County admonishing district attorney Bonnie Dumanis for her office's handling of the case
A synopsis of the events follows: On Friday evening, June 26, in the quiet beach community of Cardiff by the Sea, one hundred people at the home of Shari Lynn Barman cheered in support of Busby's second attempt at taking the seat currently occupied by Brian Bilbray. The mood is festive.
As Busby gives her speech, however, an unidentified heckler is overheard shouting anti-gay sentiments and derogatory remarks about Busby. At 8:38 p.m., the sheriff's department receives a noise complaint from a neighbor. At 9:37 p.m., deputy sheriff Abbot arrives on the scene and asks for information from Barman. When Barman refuses, Abbot grabs her wrist. Between 6 and 20 onlookers, according to various reports, converge on the deputy. Abbot's arm is scratched. A Psychiatric Emergency Response Team member riding with Abbot is shoved and kicked. A scuffle ensues and Barman falls and is kicked while on the ground. Abbot sprays the crowd with pepper spray. Backup is called. Abbot detains Barman. Backup arrives. Shari Barman and Pamela Morgan are arrested. A few days later, the district attorney investigates the case.
On August 25, the district attorney's office released findings from the investigation, concluding that Barman and Morgan violated the law, though they dropped the charges because of reasonable doubt.
On August 27, the president of the Sheriff's Association of San Diego County, Ernie Carrillo, sent a letter to district attorney, Bonnie Dumanis: "The level of resistance, which is arguably contested by various witnesses, did in fact reach a level of a concerted 'lynching' by additional partygoers, furthering the deputy's personal concerns for his safety....
"There was, and still remains, an opportunity to have justice sought in this case. The Deputy Sheriff's Association of San Diego County has waited patiently while this case has been investigated for nearly two months. We respectfully wish to convey our thorough disappointment in the handling of this case by your office. We feel it sends an unnerving message to the public, as well as showing a lack of support for law enforcement officers who are assaulted in the course of their lawful duties."
To be continued...