A California sheriff’s department called out its deputy for threatening on camera to “create” charges

CBS Los Angeles/screenshot

A deputy with the Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is under investigation after video surfaced of him threatening to “create” charges against a man who was filing a report.

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The deputy also claimed that recording him was illegal, which is false.

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Duncan Hicks, 34, started recording an interaction with a deputy during an attempt to file a report regarding a stalled child custody dispute.

Hicks approached a secretary and asked for the deputy’s name and badge number when he was not satisfied that the report sufficiently detailed his account of an incident.

“This is not explaining the incident, sir,” Hicks says after the deputy appears.


Then this eyebrow-raising exchange happens:

Hicks: This [report] is not explaining the incident, sir.”

Deputy: “Okay, Duncan. You know what man? I’m about getting tired of you and you’re about to go to jail just so you know.”

Hicks: “What am I going to jail for?”

Deputy: “I’ll create something, you understand? You’ll go to jail. You understand that?”

Hicks: “You can’t say that. How you gonna create something? That’s against the law.”

Deputy: “Recording me like that. That’s illegal without my knowledge. You want to go to jail for that too?”

Hicks: “You have a gun on your hip. I’m doing this for my protection.”

Deputy: “Uh, uh, you’re not starting that in my lobby.”

Sheriff John McMahon said in a statement that the “employee’s response to the citizen is not consistent with my expectation of customer service” and that the deputy’s responses were “not consistent with the interpretation of the law.”

In other words, the deputy’s claim that filming him was illegal was incorrect, and the situation was not handled properly.

A Victorville Sheriff’s Station spokeswoman confirmed this even more clearly to the San Bernardino Sun.

“There’s nothing posted anywhere that says no photography,” Mara Rodriguez said. “Our station is a public facility, and there is no rule preventing one from recording video or taking photographs in our lobby.”

According to The Sun, Hicks said that a sergeant at the station told him the “deputy was probably having a bad day.”

“If he did this when he was having a bad day, what’s he capable of doing when he’s having a terrible day?” Hicks said of that remark. “I’d like to see them both fired.”

CBS Los Angeles/screenshot
CBS Los Angeles/screenshot

The “them” refers to the secretary and the deputy.

Certainly, having a “bad day” is no excuse to jail a law-abiding citizen or paint them as otherwise. Consequently, an administrative investigation has been opened.

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“As a result, we are conducting an administrative investigation into this incident, and the four other previous contacts with the citizen to ensure all previous contacts were professionally handled,” Sheriff McMahon said.

The deputy is still employed pending the outcome of the investigation.

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