Commentary by Linda Sutter – February 5, 2022
February, 4, 2021 – Thursday morning was no ordinary morning in Del Norte County. It was about 11:17 a.m when Del Norte Unified School District’s Citizens Oversight Committee member Jessica Curry brandished a weapon to citizen Donna Westfall who was merely serving Jessica Curry a Writ of Mandate that had been filed in Del Norte Superior Court earlier in the week.
Ms. Curry had received instruction from the Citizens Oversight Committee Chair Steve Lyons on February 2, 2022. The following is the message sent out to all board members;
“I want to prepare you, in case you have not already been served, most likely sometime today you will be served a writ of mandate filed by Linda Sutter. Please do not stress over this. I have made both Jeff Napier and the school attorney aware of such, and they will be advising us as to proceed.
Sincerely, Steve Lyon, DNCOE COC Chairperson.”
After the trauma Ms. Westfall had experienced from serving Ms. Curry, we immediately drove to the Sheriff’s department to report this incident. 30 seconds prior to reaching the Sheriff department, Deputy Sloan decides to call Linda Sutter on her private phone number and advises her not to trespass on Jessica Curry’s land. Deputy Sloan had no idea of what had occurred and was advised we were 30 seconds from her department. It should be noted, that there was no trespass sign visible anywhere on the property.
Instead of demonstrating any empathy whatsoever, Deputy Sloan proceeded to advise Ms. Westfall that Ms. Curry had every right to brandish her weapon in an angry manner. No help from DNSO. In fact Ms. Sloan handed Ms. Westfall a paper that was a description of Penal Code 417(a) which states the following;
Every person who, except in self defense, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any deadly weapon whatsoever, other than a firearm, in a rude, angry or threatening manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a deadly weapon other than a firearm in any fight or quarrel is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days.
(2) Every person who, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a firearm in any fight or quarrel is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 3 months and not more than one year.
Clearly, Deputy Sloan who is about 21 years of age with no real police experience should not be making decisions with dangerous situations such as these as though someone stole a piece of bubble gum from the candy store.
Indeed, there were two incidents today in Del Norte County. One was in Smith River by Jessica Curry who was screaming, “GET OFF MY PROPERTY GET OFF MY PROPERTY” while brandishing a lethal weapon. The second incident took place at the Del Norte Sheriff Office by a deputy who does not have any idea of what she is doing and is a liability to public safety.
The best we can be grateful for is that we are both alive to tell the story, as most murders in this county remain in the bottoms of wells in Smith River.