Candidate to confront deputies over raid
Host, guest arrested at Busby fundraiser
By Angela Lau, Union-Tribune Staff Writer
2:00 a.m. June 29, 2009
ENCINITAS — Francine Busby says she will demand an explanation from the Sheriff's Department about deputies breaking up a fundraising party held for her in Cardiff and arresting the host.
The party was Friday night in the 1300 block of Rubenstein Avenue, the home of Shari Barman, a Busby supporter.
It ended with Barman, 60, being arrested and jailed on suspicion of battery on a peace officer, and resisting, delaying and obstructing a peace officer.
Pam Morgan, 62, a Rancho Santa Fe resident and one of the guests, also was arrested and taken to the Encinitas Sheriff's Station, where she was cited for resisting, delaying and obstructing a peace officer.
Other partygoers were doused with pepper spray, and seven deputies, a sergeant and a helicopter were dispatched to the neighborhood of expensive homes.
Busby, Barman, guests at the party and a Sheriff's Department spokesman provided varying accounts of what happened.
Busby, 58, a Democrat seeking the 50th Congressional District seat in 2010, said she will meet with Sheriff Department officials today to find out who made what she called a “phony” noise complaint.
The Sheriff's Department received the complaint at 9:33 p.m. from a man who said someone was talking on a loudspeaker and a crowd was cheering, keeping him awake.
From about 8 to 8:30 p.m., Busby said, she used an amplified microphone to talk to guests, whom she described as middle-aged supporters.
During Busby's speech, Barman said in a statement yesterday, a man on the property behind her house shouted “disparaging remarks” about Busby and gay people. Barman lives in the house with her partner, Jane Stratton, 55.
After her talk, Busby said, people chatted.
“It was a quiet home reception, disrupted by a vulgar person shouting obscenities from behind the bushes,” Busby said.
Neighbors on three sides of the house said yesterday there wasn't much noise from the party. One man said he slept through it.
“We didn't hear anything until the sheriff came, with eight patrol cars and a helicopter,” said Natasha Cortina, 43, who said she and her two children were home with the windows open.
Hugh Elliott, 53, who lives closest to the house, said he heard a deputy's radio, then arguing, coughing, crying and finally everyone spilling outside as the smell of pepper spray drifted over his back fence.
Deputy Marshall Abbott, who has worked for the department for about two years, was sent in response to the noise complaint, said Sgt. Thomas Yancey of the Encinitas station, which serves Cardiff. A member of the department's psychiatric emergency response team, who was riding with Abbott that day, went with him. Abbott could not be reached for comment.
While trying to deal with the complaint, guests at the party surrounded Abbott and he felt threatened, Yancey said.
“We don't like people standing behind us – we have Tasers, guns, clubs,” he said.
Busby said no more than 30 people were still at the party. Yancey said deputies' reports indicate there could have been as many as 50.
When Abbott arrived, Yancey said, he told Barman about the complaint, and she uttered an expletive about a neighbor. Abbott asked Barman for her birth date so he could issue a noise warning, but Barman refused to give it, he said.
Barman tried to walk away, Yancey said, and Abbott grabbed her. The guests took Barman away, and Abbott used pepper spray on them. In the chaos, someone kicked the emergency response team member, a woman who is 5-foot-2, Yancey said.
“He was pepper-spraying the faces of anyone who tried to talk to him,” Busby said. “People were stunned. It was something that none of us has experienced.”
In her statement, Barman said she asked the deputy why he needed her birth date, because he knew her name and where she lived.
“He told me I was under arrest, grabbed my right arm, twisted it behind me and threw me on the ground,” she said.
When Stratton asked the deputy to be careful because Barman had shoulder surgery recently, the deputy “knocked her to the ground,” Barman said.
After the pepper spray was used, the crowded backed off, and Abbott saw Barman in the kitchen and grabbed her, Yancey said. A man held on to Barman's foot to prevent her from being taken out of the room, and she fell to the floor. Abbott took out his Taser, the man backed off, and Barman was arrested, he said.
At some point Abbott called for backup and six deputies and a sergeant responded, Yancey said. Deputy Derek Sanders arrested Morgan, he said. There were no reported injuries.
Reports from deputies at the scene do not mention alcohol, Yancey said, which indicates people at the party were not suspected of being drunk.
“The place got out of hand,” he said. “If Francine Busby was there, why not take a leadership role, step up, and nip this thing in the bud?”
Busby said she couldn't intervene because the deputy was using pepper spray on people indiscriminately.
Barman was booked into jail at 2 a.m. Saturday and released on her own recognizance at 11 a.m., a jail official said. She is scheduled to appear in Vista Superior Court on Aug. 11 on the two misdemeanor counts.
Morgan could not be reached for comment.
Busby had sought the 50th Congressional District seat in 2006, but was defeated by Brian Bilbray, 53 percent to 44 percent. The seat was vacated by former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who is in federal prison after pleading guilty in a corruption scandal.
Update: Internal probe
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department announced Monday that it has launched an internal affairs investigation into a deputy's use of pepper spray at a fundraising party for Francine Busby on Friday night in Cardiff.
Undersheriff Bill Gore said in a statement that he has spoken with several community leaders about the incident, including Busby.
"The only proper way to ascertain exactly what happened is to initiate an Internal Affairs investigation," Gore said. "We cannot take action based on media accounts and will conduct a thorough inquiry, to include interviews of witnesses at the fundraising event."
Updated to add additional excerpt:
One of the guests, Tom DiCioccio of Chula Vista, who was given a reporter's e-mail address by Busby, described what he saw. DiCioccio wrote that he was leaving the party, and the deputy walked straight from the driveway into the house without knocking.
“I honestly thought that the officers were called by the host to report the obscenities shouted out by the neighbor,” he wrote.
“There could not have been more than 15 guests remaining at the party. I was stunned to read the reported mob of people that supposedly 'surrounded' the officer.”
DiCioccio said the deputy was overzealous.Source
Each of this
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