Three Thousand Oaks men — including two who worked for local law enforcement agencies — were recently arrested on suspicion of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign in Westlake Village, authorities said.
The misdemeanor arrests were announced Saturday night by Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub's office. The announcement covered multiple incidents over the last three weeks.
"I'm deeply disappointed that one of our employees involved himself in this type of illegal activity, especially when this is an infringement on someone's First Amendment right to freedom of speech," Ayub said in a statement. "We will not tolerate unlawful or unethical behavior by anyone employed by our agency. We hold our employees to the highest standards, and there will be consequences for this."
The sign, described as a tarp with the letters BLM painted on it, has been displayed on a fence on Westlake Boulevard for the past three weeks, officials said, and has been damaged or removed on several occasions.
The sign's owner installed a surveillance camera to document damage, officials said. When video of one of the crimes was posted on social media, detectives with the sheriff's office recognized employee Darrin Stone, 60, the agency reported.
Stone was caught on camera slashing the sign with a knife on June 13 and is also accused of slashing the sign again in the early morning hours of June 19, officials said. Stone was off duty both times.
Detectives contacted Stone at his home Friday evening. He reportedly cooperated and received a misdemeanor citation for vandalism, according to sheriff's officials. He has also been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of criminal and administrative investigations.
Stone has been a civilian employee of the sheriff's office since 2005. He... (Read more)
Submitted 787 days ago