Sunday, April 12, 2015 – 10:00 a.m.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has a problem with San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos.
It was bound to happen sooner or later!
Ramos’ treatment of his office as a political machine for his own benefit may finally cost him.
There’s a detailed story in the Sunday edition of The Sun newspaper that raises valid concerns. To read it, click the following link: ACLU calls for expanded probe of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
The videotaped beating of a unarmed High Desert man, after he stole a horse and led San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies on a long drawn out chase, is unfortunate catalyst.
I know. It actually sounds like something from a Western.
Sheriff John McMahon, at a Friday afternoon news conference, made a statement that appears to have raised eyebrows at the ACLU. The statement being that McMahon’s agency would investigate everything, related to the arrest of Francis Pusok. McMahon then went on to say that he had spoken personally to Ramos. McMahon said his agency would turn over its findings to Ramos for review to determine whether or not charges will be filed.
Translated: I spoke to my buddy Mike, and he’s got my back.
But some ninety minutes later, the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C. and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), all crashed the party.
The new development? The FBI will conduct its own probe, and the Justice Department will decide what happens.
Translated: Attorney General Eric Holder and most likely President Barack Obama watched the video.
In reality, this scenario begs a few questions.
Why would the “Sheriff”, not an underling, be personally calling the “District Attorney”, not an underling, directly over a use-of-force incident involving his own agency, prior to the completion of any investigation?
Why would the “District Attorney”, not an underling, feel the need to reach out and reassure the public that he will do the right thing?
Apparently the term “Arms Length” is alien to these two “Elected Officials”.
This is the second major investigation the Justice Department has picked up, involving the Sheriff’s Department, in the past thirteen months.
The first time both local agencies, Sheriff and District Attorney, were essentially shut out. That would appear to be happening this time as well.
The ACLU, among other things, points to essentially a cheap political stunt, where Ramos went on the offensive against Comedian Jon Stewart. The issue was over a partially-inaccurate statement Stewart made about a recent Taser death, involving the now “internationally-infamous” San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
In his Youtube attack on Stewart, Ramos basically said someone needed to defend law enforcement.
To clarify, here’s a little excerpt from the aforementioned Sun news article:
Wong, however, challenged Ramos’ objectivity, pointing to a YouTube video in which Ramos blasted comedian Jon Stewart over his portrayal of the Dante Parker incident and argued that law enforcement officers deserved to be defended.
“I truly believe that someone needs to stand up and have a voice for the people who are protecting us on a daily basis,” Ramos said in the video.
Ramos may be correct.
But I guess Ramos, an elected District Attorney for God’s Sake, decided to take up the job himself. Being that Ramos is running for California Attorney General and all, and needs law enforcement union support.
Let’s face it. Ramos has no one watching over or supervising him. Especially the California Attorney General, who herself is running for another office.
Also, don’t count on any help from the Board of Supervisors in this mess. They’re scared to death of Ramos and McMahon. The county supervisors, key word here being “supervisors”, and county chief executive officer, all believe if Ramos can’t find anything to charge them with, he’ll just make something up. After all, Ramos’ reputation for protecting his friends and allies, while legally blistering his perceived enemies, is known far and wide. So they, county management, refuse to deny both men any budget request, or dare to speak out against them.
Let’s not forget. McMahon falls into the aforementioned category of a Ramos friend and ally.
Now back to the soon-to-be beating case.
The Justice Department has one risk in letting Ramos do any local prosecutions here. That risk being, can they trust him to not tube the case, if charges are filed.
Remember the white wash Ramos just engineered on the Sheriff pay scandal case?
Remember back when Ramos referred to himself and former Sheriff Gary Penrod as Batman and Robin?
Remember the failed prosecution of a Deputy Sheriff for allegedly attempting to steal a cigarette lighter? (Yeah I know. But it’s true.)
Remember the failed prosecution of a Deputy Sheriff, who allegedly tried to extort money from a San Manuel Tribal Member?
Remember the outright dismissal of a case where a San Manuel Tribal member allegedly attempted to set his girlfriend on fire?
Remember the case where Ramos let two San Manuel Tribal Members, convicted in a murder-for hire scheme, receive fifteen years probation?
Unfortunately, the list is longer.
But in actuality, there shouldn’t even be a list.
One thing is becoming crystal clear. A Federal microscope is coming into focus on the application of justice in San Bernardino County, and the local media, which has protected this machine for more than a decade, has much responsibility to bear.
The whole situation is pathetic.