Sheriff’s Deputies Charged with Assault

Allegedly Beat Inmate at Santa Barbara County Jail

Friday, August 16, 2013
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The Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office has filed felony charges against two Sheriff’s custody deputies for unnecessary use of force. According to the legal filing, the formal charge is “assault by public officers.” It stems from a June 17 incident in which the deputies, Robert Kirsch and Christopher Johnson, allegedly “assaulted and beat” an inmate named Charles Alonzo Owens at the Santa Barbara County Jail.

According to a press release issued by the Sheriff’s Office, the incident was brought to light by the Public Defender in a June 18 complaint. At that point, the Sheriff’s Office investigated and passed on its findings to the DA. Sheriff Bill Brown said in a statement, “The behavior alleged in the criminal complaint is contrary to the high standards of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. I am saddened by these allegations that do not reflect the conduct and actions of the vast majority of the hundreds of men and women of the Sheriff’s Office, who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving others.”

The deputies have been placed on administrative leave. Arraignment is scheduled for August 30 and will be prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Anthony Davis.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Not good. can't have the guys sworn to protect committing assault and battery...on anyone.

I consider myself a law and order guy and always willing to give the police/law enforcement the benefit of doubt. They deal with the kind of people that are most likely drugged, drunk, violent, repeat offenders and very uncooperative.

That being said, when cops cross that line then they become the criminal and need to be prosecuted. No deals.

Certainty of punishment goes a long way in reducing this kind of behavior.

Good Cops should be pissed at these guys.

BacktoSanity (anonymous profile)
August 16, 2013 at 5:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"I am saddened by these allegations that do not reflect the conduct and actions of the vast majority...." WOW! Talk about selling your own people down the river before they even have a day in court. Oh wait, almost forgot the election season is upon us and he's being challenged from within.

This ought to be interesting.

Validated (anonymous profile)
August 16, 2013 at 7:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You certainly sold Lance and Denunzio down the river before their day in court.

Botany (anonymous profile)
August 16, 2013 at 8:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Lance and denunzero got off on legal word salad by master chef DG.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
August 16, 2013 at 8:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe so, but you completely missed the point.

Botany (anonymous profile)
August 16, 2013 at 10:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You make some good points, BacktoSanity.

LegendaryYeti (anonymous profile)
August 17, 2013 at 11:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

First off, Sheriff's Deputies were not involved in this incident. Custody Deputies were involved. There is a BIG difference in the two classifications. Custody Deputies have a month long academy to learn custody issues. Sheriff Deputies have a six month academy to deal with everything else. Sheriff's Deputies can work all areas of the dept. including custody but Custody Deputies are only assigned to Custody operations or transportation details. It would have been nice to see that the title of this article was factual..

Priceless (anonymous profile)
August 17, 2013 at 8:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Validated, I had the same reaction. Poisoning the well, Sheriff? Boy, that'll win the support of the troops. (We need smilies; a sarcasm one goes here) :-(

SezMe (anonymous profile)
August 17, 2013 at 10:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There are a number of gangs in SB...and one of them is the SBSD Custody Staff.
Bill Brown is toast. Just lost his job. Compare the number of inmate deaths per capita in SBCO Jail to any other jurisdiction in the tri-counties. You'll be shocked. "Natural causes" is always the ruling. Sure...when someone stops breathing, it's "natural" that they die. SBCOJ is a draconian dungeon run by psychopathic bullies and passive-aggressive office staff. The Grand Jury has already revealed the incredible state of affairs at the SBCO Coroner's office (managed by the Sheriff, by the way), so no wonder all inmate deaths are "natural".
Joyce Dudley will never prosecute these turds, just as she doesn't prosecute Iya Falcone, Paula Lopez, Koa Misi, or anyone connected to celebrity, City Hall, or the courts.
It's just a Corrupt Community, and we all know it. Dudley and judges like Ochoa are in lock-step for one purpose only: re-election.
These custody clowns will be quietly fired, charges will be dropped, it will all drop off the media radar promptly, and Cam Sanchez will keep looking for a job so that he can get out of town before the hammer drops on him.

Beachgirl77 (anonymous profile)
August 17, 2013 at 11:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)


You are way off base and only show your true colors at being ignorant of the facts. EVERY profession has its bad apples and sometimes some slip through or MAYBE the clientele residing in the jail are some of the worst offenders that live among us. I'm not justifying their actions in any way IF they did what they did then they are wrong and should be punished.

But, to describe the remaining employees as a "Draconian dungeon run by psychopathic bullies and passive-aggressive office staff" is laughable.

Also, your comment about "Inmate deaths" is extremely inaccurate thank god you are not a detective because you would suck at it. Most deaths that occur within the jail if you would have done ANY investigative work would have revealed them to be transients PEOPLE WHO AREADY ARE IN POOR HEALTH... Maybe you should blame the City of SB and the County for making SB a travel destination for transients around the country. Remember the old saying "Build it and they will come". But don't let facts get in the way of truth.

As for your comment about Bill Brown, yes, his leadership is failing because he is more focused on a north county jail than dealing with what is in front of him today. The department is so understaffed I have no idea how they function. The overtime on the streets and in the jail is through the the roof just to maintain minimum staffing.

Maybe, just maybe the incident that occurred within the jail was due to high levels of stress, inadequate staffing, forced overtime on a routine basis when the jail staff is already on 12 hour shifts and the highest level of criminals with felony convictions and prison stays in history.

You can blame the jail staff all you want. But, until you live inside the system on a routine basis you have no credibility what so ever. I suggest you take a tour of the facility and work a shift along side the men and women for a 12 hour shift before condemning an entire profession. OR, you can just keep making yourself look like a fool and write garbage because you hide behind a keyboard...

Priceless (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 8:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Beachgirl77: We're all really fortunate in having idiots like validated and Priceless reacting to any truth about local cops and judges and the DA's office by burying it in bs like this. The comments posted by leo's on all news articles about police corruption in SB reveal a lot more about the sick vigilante organizational mentality in SBSO and SBPD than the cops' behavior in these incidents.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 10:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Which gangs are the worst: street ones or the union gangs that wear a badge?

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 10:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with Priceless on this one. Don't condemn what you don't know. You can tour the facility and I think you can still be there for a shift. Once you spend some time there, you will have some basis to comment. Until then, you really have no right to complain . . . well, you do have the right, but you look pretty stupid.

formersbso (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 11:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I can comment then, and I can tell you there are as many decent, straight up deputies as there are sadistic, lying deputies. What I can say for a fact is that anyone wanting to be a C.O should have the highest communication skills and document or record everything or they are going to be failures like this pair.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 11:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Beachgirl is dead on. And it's not the Custody Deputy's problem. We expect them to run the jail after only one month of training? That's not a problem with the CDs, that's a problem with the Sheriff who's ultimately the one in charge of signing off on these guys and gals and putting them in the jail. Now, as for anyone else who knows what's going on behind the scene at the Sheriff's Office: corruption reigns over there at the highest level. And good luck touring the facility... they won't event let media in, and you can guess why.

ooshea (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 11:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You go Beachgirl - well stated.

She is right on point. How do you know what she does and does not know priceless (nice moniker btw) and especially you mr or ms former sbso? Do you posess some sort of supernatural ability to channel other people's experiences through comment boards along with your ability to beat and abuse people?

Your claim that the jail is not a psychotic looney bin - and I'm referring to the esteemed officers - not the abused and incarderated - is a complete lie.

She seems to express herself intelligently enough and is restrained in what she could be saying as there is SO MUCH more to be said about the DA's office, court system and their out of control "enforcers" - our "heroic" men and women in blue.

anon111 (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 11:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

the [vic] The latest charges include rape, forced sodomy, attempted oral copulation, domestic battery and witness intimidation, and murder with gang enhancement, isnt this just [the system taking care of him] [

blue61 (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 12:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't assign guilt or claim someone's innocence unless there's a long history of the same behavior or other facts are known. I'm also not one put the tin foil hat on and spew "facts" about injustices with no proof, like some others, but the appearance of 1 plus 1 gives the appearance of 2.

The same day I read about two custody deputies being charged I also read about Sheriff Brown and DA Dudley praising inmates for staying clean for a while in one of Brown's feel good programs. I thought thats why we pay for ADMH and social workers. Great press for the both of them though.

Validated (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 1:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Good point anon111. Perhaps Beachgirl77 can enlighten us with her experiences with the Santa Barbara County Jail. That should clarify the issue.

formersbso (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 1:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

blue61: You shouldn't have a job in law enforcement in the US if you believe that, but it's too bad you can't make that statement as a defense witness for Deputies Robert Kirsch and Christopher Johnson.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 4:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Beachgirl77 sealed her credibility with me when she ranted about the Sheriff's failings then made some conclusion about Sanchez, who is NOT part of the County.


SezMe (anonymous profile)
August 18, 2013 at 10:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why didn't the deputies cya with a report of assault and a desperate struggle.? Is it because there were witnesses? The slow grind has already begun.

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 6:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It just amazes me how many former inmates are so upset with the criminal justice system here in SB. To all you pitiful residents that can't seem to be good citizens and stay out of jail quit whining. If you can't do the time don't do the crime.... You idiots really make me laugh in the morning. I just love all the Monday morning quarterbacks who can't even throw the ball. I hear the food tastes great and you will be able to tell your family all about it on a postcard!!!! 14noscams you been talking to spirityanker lately? His tin foil hat must be pretty tight on your noggin...

Priceless (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 7:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

We can thank the DA's office for ignoring the criminal gang mentality that validated and Priceless and blue61 and formersbso represent for decades. Hopefully Dudley won't drop the ball on these criminal custody deputies.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 7:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't think sold Sherrif Brown sold them out. He said he was saddened by the allegations. Ok, what is wrong with that? I applaud the fact that he is not stone walling even the tiniest bit of transparency within his department unlike the SBPD/POA weak CAM show. I wonder why the DA will go after the Sherriff's and not the SBPD or even show the slightest bit of interest in doing so?

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 11:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

bimboteskie: The blue code is a law enforcement policy of concealing misconduct and corruption in law enforcement. Bill Brown didn't make a ridiculous statement that the assault by deputies was acceptable like all other le comments.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 11:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well no one likes a taddle tale, but at some point, when peoples asses are being royally kicked, some semblence of reason would be nice. I watch the comments from the assumed LE people on this thread and it just makes me cringe. Do they even care about how jaded,mean and harsh they come across to the general public? The name calling and attacks look like a reciepe out of the ROID Rage cook book. No sense in a spirited debate, just go straight for name calling and tell the general public that is supposed to be served and protected that they are morons. It wreaks of arrogance and a lack of oversight. I think Bill Brown has done a good job as leader of the Sherriff's.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 11:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Knock Sheriff Brown all you want and maybe we will go back to the dayz of Sherifff Thomas. Look at Orange County ... keep it up maybe Brown will lose his re election to an overt fascist...knock yourself out

ConstructionWorker (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 12:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Adonis_Tate, the answer to your question *might* be because the incident was caught on jail security cameras. I don't know this for a fact, and I don't have a dog in this fight, but I guess we'll see.

LegendaryYeti (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 12:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is there an "overt fascist" running for Sheriff?

Validated (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 1:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Well no one likes a taddle tale ...
-- bimboteskie

I know what a tattle tale is but not a "taddle tale". Enlighten me.

"... but at some point, when peoples asses are being royally kicked, some semblence of reason would be nice. I watch the comments from the assumed LE people ..."
I'm curious as to who you think are leos in this thread. Enlighten me.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 2:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, pardon the spelling error. As to the second part of your question....I would say anyone who uses the word "clearly" excessively is a LEO. I have my thoughts on who are LEO's and who are Attorney's in these threads...for entertainments sake I will just keep those hunches to myself.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 2:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Long-retired LEO here, bimboteskie. I figure you already know this, but I imagine SezMe may not. I still use the word 'clearly' a lot...

LegendaryYeti (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 3:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Priceless -- what a full life you must have waking up @ 7:52 a.m. to call people idiots and insult indviduals who know something about how the legal systems works here which they are not afraid to expose. Did you wait all day for a response from the person you were attacking?

Just because an individual disagrees with your opinion does not mean he or she is or was an "inmate."

With your online moniker and attitude you'll surely have a personal experience with law enforcement yourself in the (hopefully) near future.

Then you can tell us all about it. Keep up the good work you "good citizen" you.

Hope you wake up on the right side of the bed tomorrow :-)

anon111 (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 7:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Scratch that, Priceless. You actually woke up earlier to post your meanie response @ 7:24 that means you probably started at min. 7:00 a.m.

Again, why don't you go enjoy the sunrise at the beach tomorrow instead.

Look out for those coppers though.

anon111 (anonymous profile)
August 19, 2013 at 7:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

".I would say anyone who uses the word "clearly" excessively is a LEO."
-- bimboteskie

Clearly, I clearly won't use the "clearly" word in any of my clear posts. I hope that's clear.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2013 at 1:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

bimboteskie: In his last campaign, Bill Brown made a pledge to sheriffs to cancel all pending Internal Affairs investigations. He supported sheriffs' lack of responsibility for their actions to get elected.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2013 at 6:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You people crack me up. I'm the one name calling?? Have you read the posts that started this thread?? Obviously you either can't read or comprehend what you read. Before "attacking" me I suggest you read my first two posts then read the ones "ATTACKING" me. Oh wait, I believe it's people like you who can't listen to others point of view and go straight to attacking an entire profession because of a few bad apples. And yes, I live a full life everyday thank you very much. I enjoy reading and laughing at posters making fools of themselves who believe their "Opinions" are facts and attempt to sell those facts to others. Keep up the comedy I look forward to it every morning!!!!

Priceless (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2013 at 8:28 a.m. (Suggest removal) you have some evidence to back this up? I am all ears. That sounds scandalous!

Regarding bad apples, if someone...ANYONE would do something about at least one of them...I think it would send two messages: 1. To the people of SB or SB county, that your LEO's conduct will be held to a standard in line with serving and protecting. and 2. To the LEO's that inappropriate conduct in the line of duty will not be tolerated and will have consequences. Instead we have absolutely zero I believe mostly due the fact the POA has too much clout and the DA is chicken to go after them. Clearly..(Yes I had to do it once!) we have to start somewhere.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2013 at 9:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I MAY BE WRONG, but, the filing of "CRIMINAL" charges does send your two messages. But then again, nothing in the eyes of posters like 14noscams, anon111, Beachgirl77 and others will ever admit to their failings because they have been brought up in a culture that everybody is a winner no matter what.

But don't stop, I always love a good laugh and reading what the ignorant have to say!!!

To anon111, I don't have to worry about a "Personal experience with LE's" because I don't make a fool of myself in front of them or attempt to bait them into an "experience". I'll leave that to fools such as yourself. There is a reason we have LE's and its people like you and others who make it job security for them.

Now, it's such a nice day I think I'll hit the beach!!!

Priceless (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2013 at 12:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow -just wow - that's all I can say as you "clearly" have issues.

I am so glad you took my advice to go enjoy the beach! I hope that excursion doesn't interefere with all of your "reading and laughing" hobbies that you have mentioned 2 times now.

I am at the beach right now - maybe we can meet up! On second thought - maybe not.

Ok - this is getting dumb now and using up space for real debate and constructive comments.

I'm done - but please do feel free to continue your crazed attacks and ranting.

anon111 (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2013 at 12:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Can someone, anyone show proof that Sheriff Brown promised to cancel all internal affairs investigations? I don't believe that happened. It's easy to make an allegation - there are a lot of them here. Give documented proof and you will have credibility. Otherwise. . .

formersbso (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2013 at 1:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's tough for 14noscams to prove something they made up.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
August 20, 2013 at 7:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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