Three men including employees of a sheriff's office and district attorney's office in California have been arrested for investigation of the vandalism of a Black Lives Matter sign.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Office said late Saturday that a large tarp painted with the letters “BLM” has been repeatedly damaged while on display for three week on a fence in the city of Thousand Oaks.
The owner placed a surveillance camera nearby to capture any damage, and posted one of the incidents on social media, the office said in a statement.
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Detectives recognized one of the suspects as a sheriff's office employee, prompting an investigation, the statement said.
“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,” Sheriff Bill Ayub said in a statement. “We hold our employees to the highest standards, and there will be consequences for this.”
Darrin Stone, a service technician at a pre-trial detention facility, is accused of slashing the sign on June 13 and June 19. He was issued a misdemeanor vandalism citation and placed on paid administrative leave, the office said.
Craig Anderson, a 59-year-old investigative assistant at the Ventura County district attorney's office, is being investigated for vandalism to the sign on May 31, the statement said. The district attorney's office said the case has been referred to the Attorney General's office for investigation and that Anderson has resigned.
A third man, 58-year-old Jeffrey Moore, is being investigated for graffiti to the sign on June 11, the office said.
Working phones for the men could not immediately be found. Email messages were sent to addresses linked to Stone and Moore. It was not immediately possible to reach Anderson.