Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

By Donna Westfall

BlackHawk Pistol
BlackHawk Pistol

On Monday, August 17th, a 30 page packet was handed into District Attorney, Dale Trigg, requesting an investigation into the possible Breach of Public Trust by former Del Norte County Sheriff’s Detective, Bob Barber. Specifically this request for an investigation concerned the disappearance of property that was confiscated by law enforcement officers under the direction of Barber.

The Taxpayers Association states that there is no wiggle room for officers that appear to be lining their pockets and is asking the DA to consider whether Barber’s conduct in making property disappear is criminal.

Word is that Barber quit the Sheriff’s Department upon Erik Apperson winning the election for the office of Sheriff of Del Norte County.

In 2011, Barber drew up the search warrant signed by Judge Brown that led to the alleged illegal search and seizure of Dave Egan’s property over a .357 caliber revolver, a BlackHawk Pistol valued at $350. Egan did have a highly prized, lifetime collection of firearms all of which were legal to possess and own. Egan valued his collection at about $90,000.

One neighbor recalls that as they took Egan to jail, three Sheriff’s vehicles were being loaded up as officers took out box after box after box of property from Egan’s house. It appears that most of it never made it to the evidence locker.

The search warrant is supposed to be issued by a Judge based on probable cause.  Statements made by former Judge Chris Doehle during the candidates forum held at the Tea Party meeting while she was running for office in 2014, made it sound like there was quite a safety net in place concerning search warrants.  She responded that it takes three parties to get a search warrant; the law enforement officer, the Judge, and the DA.  And that was a very strong safety net. Except that that was not accurate. The DA is not required to sign.

Crescent City Police Chief, Ivan Minsal, on Wednesday August 19th, in his 34 years of experience he states it would be wise to have the DA involved.

  • “In my prior career and assignment, as in this position, an officer, especially in a sensitive or priority case, would greatly benefit from a DA’s review and insight.  Deputy DA’s or DA, need to be on the ground floor of such a case in order to have all hands on deck and protect the victims, witnesses and suspects.  An officer can never go wrong in getting a DA’s buy off.”

But in the final analysis in the Dave Egan case at least, there didn’t appear to be a safety net at all.  In other words:

  • They executed a warrant
  • They never found the item listed on the warrant
  • They took $90,000 worth of property
  • Most of the property disappeared

While a search warrant is based on probable cause, the DA’s office looks at prosecuting a case successfully by building a case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The way Barber handled the case made it appear that he didn’t care whether or not the case was prosecutable. In other words, the DA’s office is not in business to waste taxpayers money by taking on lost causes.

And, the Crescent City-Del Norte County Taxpayers Association is particularly alarmed when it comes to having taxpayers dollars going to pay salary and benefits to law enforcement officers that appear to be intent on breaking  the 4th amendment to the Constitution of the United States, intent on slandering good citizens, and intent on confiscating property without leaving a proper receipt or returning those items in good order.  Dave Egan states that he did get some things back that were not his property and were pieces of junk.

Barber was also the detective on the $29,000 missing funds from the Solid Waste Management Authority. Per his report file, he did not even contact the suspects in the case.

Due to the two incidents recited here, the Tax Association finds Barber more than just derelict in his duties and asks the DA’s office for justice in the form of conducting an investigation with an eye towards restitution, arrest and conviction for violating the public trust.

Because of these actions and inactions by Barber, the Tax Association fears for the taxpaying public.  It is not ok to steal funds from an agency supported by taxpayer dollars and then not have a proper investigation. And it is not ok to illegally search and seize property, confiscate property from good law abiding, tax paying citizens and go move to another State to avoid possible prosecution.

When asked why hand in the complaint to the DA’s office instead of requesting a Grand Jury investigation responses were:

  • We have no confidence in Presiding Judge William Follett.
  • We definitely have no confidence in the foremen of the Grand Juries.
  • The Grand Jury has a well documented history of burying these types of complaints.
  • Three members on the Board of the Taxpayers Association testified before previous Grand Jury’s concerning alleged fraud and corruption concerning the Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade and expansion. They felt like they were being treated like criminals.
6 thoughts on “Local Tax Association asks DA to investigate former Detective Bob Barber”
  1. Please keep the story factual. The comments about the grand jury and why they were not used are a non sequitur. The local grand jury is a “civil” or “watchdog” panel. They cannot return an indictment …Period. This county and many others do not impanel a criminal grand jury, they could but they do not. So without a such a grand jury you have two and only two resources to prosecute:

    A; local D.A.

    B: Attorney General.

    If the case involved wide spread public corruption like Ferguson then the Feds would look at it, oh I forgot what did they do when they found “wide spread” public corruption…Nothing but write a memo.

  2. The Blackhawk Pistol story starts and ends with ex-sheriff detective, Bob Barber. Lee Forrest did not make Bob Barber steal Dave Egan’s prize firearms collection; Barber did that on his own.



  3. There are a number of issues here….first and foremost our county was without a District Attorney once DA Jon Alexander was disbarred. We had assistant DA, Katie Micks, as acting. We had a Democratic appointed Judge, Chris Doehle, who had no business wearing a black robe…and so the only Judge with any sense was Judge Follet…Yet, Bob Barber drives all the way to Eureka to obtain a warrant from out of town Judge Brown, who is dirty as the day is long…no secrets….

    So on the face of the alleged justified warrant, the officers busted through into the house, looking for one lone weapon, which they did not find…but instead, they confiscated all of this gun collectors weapons and withheld them.

    In the mean, time charges were brought up on Egan, whose attorney at the time was Dale Trigg..those charges were dropped…but the Del Norte County Sheriff’s department kept the merchandise….

    So is it not a conflict that your 30 page packet was handed to the elected District Attorney, Dale Trigg, who originally handled Dave Egan’s case? Wouldn’t the district attorney have to give that packet to the attorney general’s office for investigation due to the conflict?

    And since the gun was never found, why have authorities never contacted Lee Forrest who originally stated he had the gun and reported the gun stolen from his residence but on the incident package sheet owned by Curry County Sheriffs Department the Blackhawk pistol is listed as not stolen by the submitting officer.

    The black hawk pistol starts and ends with Lee Forrest…


    Tomorrow, Monday, August 31, 2015 Will be the eleventh business day since the tax payers
    papers packet of questions were sent to the Del Norte County District Attorney.

    Was a copy sent to the Attorney General, AND THE STATE BAR ASSOCIATION?
    Because of their dealings with our disbarred DA and local Government they may be able to direct us to some type of protection. Maybe there is a local government oversight division some where.

    The embezzlement of tax payers money to be hidden by the smoke and mirrors of blight blame issues,(the recent of many embezzlement issues).
    Why are the supervisors not upset about someone stealing our money?
    Are they afraid they will be railroaded out of power, Like Supervisor Gitlin, if they expose the embezzlers?
    And David Egan, WHAT AN ATROCITY!
    NOT ONLY TO DAVID, TOO EVERY LAW ABIDING,VOTING,ENLISTED MILITARY and VETERAN,SUPPORTER OF DEMOCRACY who has had to watch what our local government has put our fellow American Citizen through. Surely this is illegal. Where do you go when every facet of your local government is involved?
    David is an honest, tax paying citizen and the victim of the Del Norte County local government, beaten by deputy sheriffs, jailed, denied medical care, phone call, property stolen, harassed, denied civil rights AND IT IS STILL GOING ON!
    (I would love to see what 60 Minutes could do with this one)!

    “Justice delayed is justice denied”
    As Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger noted in an address to the American Bar Association in 1970: “A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people and three things could destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value; that people who have long been exploited in the smaller transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights from fraud and over-reaching; that people come to believe the law – in the larger sense – cannot fulfill its primary function to protect them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public streets.”

  5. Sounds like more charges than just ‘breach of public trust’ should be considered. A sheriff officer who takes out a warrant and conducts a raid, but doesn’t find the item on the warrant, but steals everything anyway, is a hardened criminal. Investigation and prosecution are called for.

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