By Laren Leichliter
Posted: 04/14/17 – 1:40 PM PDT |

The Southern California News Group should take note of four glaring facts that were flatly ignored in Sal Rodriguez’s commentary (“Troubling ties between public officials, unions”) printed April 2, and a subsequent editorial (“Deputies get benefit of favoritism by DA”) printed April 9.

Both opinion pieces take issue with the Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefit Association (SEBA) voicing its rightful concern regarding the antics of the prosecutor in the case against three SEBA members facing trial for alleged assault against a repeated convicted felon.

SEBA is entitled to its First Amendment right to freedom of speech regardless of the SCNG editors’ collective distaste for public safety associations. It is the same freedom that allows the newspapers to be printed. SCNG claims its First Amendment right as a matter of business but wants to blast SEBA for asserting the same right. The hypocrisy is laughable.

Having a voice for our membership is not only our right, but our duty. We stood up for the thousands of deputies who were not involved in the incident at question; who did not deserve to be painted with a broad brush as having a “culture of violence.” And we will continue to do so.

It was not SEBA that neglected Senior Deputy District Attorney Robert Bulloch’s notation that his comments were not “an indictment of all police officers,” it was The Sun Newspaper. The original story, which was printed on March 29, did not include Bulloch’s entire quote.

This notion is incredibly interesting because Bulloch’s apology to SEBA stated, “I can certainly see that the way it was read in the press could be construed that I was painting a broad brush across all the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department.” This statement implies his quote was taken out of context by The Sun.

SEBA’s statement was written in part due to The Sun’s coverage of closing arguments. The article was changed online after SEBA released its statement. But the newspaper has not publicly apologized for misrepresenting Bulloch’s original statement. Furthermore, the SCNG editorial board sanctimoniously scapegoated SEBA for reacting to the paper’s misrepresentation.

The SCNG editorial board, of which Rodriguez is a member, slammed SEBA for accusing Bulloch of casting all deputies as violent (when they say he did not) but, curiously, Rodriguez’s column defends the prosecutor’s sweeping indictment as “clearly” a matter of “truth.” He concludes this using the video-recorded actions of 11 people as evidence of an alleged “culture.”

To read expanded column, click here.