By Brian Rokos, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 09/20/16 – 6:55 PM PDT |
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is not commenting on a photo shown in court as part of an ongoing civil trial that a plaintiff says shows a deputy dressed in a Grinch costume intentionally and illegally driving a patrol car through a stoplight in Victorville to prompt a red-light camera to snap a souvenir picture.
“It was posted around the station as if it was a big joke. I didn’t think it was funny,” testified Deputy Brian Moler, one of three plaintiffs who sued the county, alleging they were retaliated against for being whistleblowers.
Moler testified that he was removed from his prestigious assignment as a motorcycle traffic officer and ostracized by his colleagues after he ignored what he said were illegal ticket-writing quotas and continued to cite Victorville city officials and other employees as well as off-duty deputies.
His attorney, Christopher L. Gaspard, asked on the trial’s opening day last week whether any deputies at the station had committed serious offenses yet gone unpunished. Moler described the Grinch incident as Gaspard projected the photo on the screen.
Moler noted that, in addition to the red-light violation, the vehicle’s front license plate was covered, in violation of the state Vehicle Code.
On cross-examination Monday, attorneys for the county confronted Moler with a 2008 video showing him, in uniform, dancing at night in the middle of Seventh Street in Victorville to Michael Jackson’s song “The Way You Make Me Feel.”
Attorney Susan Coleman asked how his action was different from the December 2013 Grinch incident.
Moler answered that dancing in the street was not illegal and that he was asked to do so by his sergeant for the station’s Christmas party video. He said he looked for an empty roadway, although at one point, at least one person could be heard telling him to get out of the road moments before a large SUV drove past the deputy.
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