Ventura County sheriff’s employee and D.A. office worker cited in vandalism of Black Lives Matter sign
A Ventura County sheriff’s employee is on leave and an employee of the county district attorney’s office has resigned after they were cited in connection with the vandalism of a Black Lives Matter banner in Thousand Oaks, authorities said.
The incidents were captured on a surveillance camera that was installed to record anyone trying to damage or remove the sign — a tarp emblazoned with the letters “BLM” that has for weeks been displayed along a fence on Westlake Boulevard, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities say detectives saw an image of one of the vandalism suspects that the banner’s owner posted on social media and recognized the man as 60-year-old Darrin Stone, who has worked with the Sheriff’s Office since 2005.
Authorities allege Stone, who is assigned as a non-sworn service technician at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura, slashed the sign with a knife on June 13 and again last Friday.
He has been cited in the vandalism and is now on paid leave pending the results of criminal and administrative investigations, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“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 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech,” Sheriff Bill 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.”
Also cited in the vandalism was Craig Anderson, 59. Authorities say he cut the sign down on May 31 but left it behind after noticing the camera.
With Melina Abdullah and Patrisse Cullors playing key roles, Black Lives Matter has transformed from a small but passionate movement into a cultural and political phenomenon.
Anderson was employed as a non-sworn investigative assistant with the county district attorney’s office but has since resigned, officials said. He had been on the job for about four months.
A third man, 58-year-old Jeffrey Moore, also was cited in the vandalism after sheriff’s officials said he spray-painted graffiti on the sign on June 11.
Moore, Anderson and Stone are all Thousand Oaks residents, authorities said.
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