BY POPULAR DEMAND, WE ARE RE-PRINTING ALL THREE PARTS TOGETHER
By Investigative Reporter A. Phillips
Some informants are criminals trying to mitigate their own legal problems by “snitching” on someone else.
On the one hand, informants or confidential informants play a vital role in the investigation of many types of crimes, especially drug trafficking and other varieties of criminal collusion. On the other hand informants falsely point the finger of guilt at suspects and defendants, creating the risk of sending innocent persons to prison. In some cases, ruining citizens life for years.
Based on a reliable source, one of the problems in our area, but not restricted to our area, is obtaining warrants from Judges based on informants information which is not verified.
To put it in plain English, accusations have been made that local law enforcement sometimes lie to obtain warrants. Or if there is an informant, they lie to wiggle their way out of some difficult legal problem and lie to law enforcement. This leads to illegal searchs and seizures. And that leads to lawsuits usually against the County for civil rights violations by those innocent victims of the legal justice system.
The system used in this case of obtaining a warrant is in complete contrast to Judge Doehle’s speech at the Tea Party Candidates Forum that there is a safety net in place.
The safety net calls for the signature of the DA’s office, of a Judge, of the legal enforcement entity, in this case the Sheriffs Department; both the officer and his boss. Here’s one story of a local man who’s rights were violated repeatedly all apparently based on the word of an Informant. An Informant that didn’t need to mitigate their own legal problems. But read to the end to find out who this Informant was so your life doesn’t become a living nightmare. Just know that in this case the DAs office never signed the warrant, and the Sheriff never signed the warrant, Detective Bob Barber signed and Judge Brown signed who was 90 minutes away. Question to ponder. Why wasn’t a local Judge used?
The Dave Egan story here:
It’s summer, August 18, 2011. Around 9 am in the morning. I was beaten unconscious. My front door was bashed in by heavily armed rogue sheriffs deputies of the Del Norte County Sheriffs Department.
I stopped Dave and asked. What do you mean you were beaten unconscious and then your front door was bashed in.
Dave responded. I was in bed. Naked except for my boxer shorts. There was banging at my front door. I got up and went to my kitchen window, opened the blinds and saw these storm trooper types at my front door and I’m telling them I’m on my way and I want to comply.
Then what happened, I asked.
Then this Sheriffs Deputy, I found out later it was Seth Cimino, is pointing a gun at my head screaming at me, “I’m going to blow your f***ing brains out if you don’t eat the f***ing floor!”
Is he at the front door? I asked.
No, he’s outside standing by the bathroom window.
What happened next?
Then some Deputy came in the back door. I kept the door open because it was summer, so it wasn’t locked. He came in and hit me from behind in my back.
Just one deputy struck you?
Actually two beat me down my hallway and I think there were three total that came into my house through the back door.
What happened to you?
I went down unconscious.
Did you regain consciousness?
Yes. Just as I start to come to I hear an explosion. It was my front door. They bashed in my front door. It was Detective Bob Barber and Sgt. Richard Griffin dressed like Black Ops.
Wait a second, Dave. Didn’t anyone ever hand you a search warrant?
Didn’t anyone ever tell you why they were there?
No. Uh..yeah. They were screaming at me, “Where’s the f***ing Black Hawk?” Repeatedly screaming at me, “Where’s the f***ing Black Hawk?” I thought they were talking about a Black Hawk heliocopter.
What were they talking about?
A BlackHawk Pistol. BlackHawk as a “Single Action” revolver of relatively little to no value.
You’re telling me that 3 to 5 guys at the front door, 1 at the bathroom window and 2, 3 or 4 came in the back door making it about 10 law enforcers so far who were after an alledgedly stolen pistol.
That’s correct. That’s what I’m telling you.
And all of this was based on the hearsay of an Informant?
Yes. The informant said he gave me back stolen property. A BlackHawk Pistol. The type cowboys used.
And they didn’t Mirandize you?
And they didn’t tell you why they were dragging you off to jail?
And they didn’t get you medical treatment?
No. They put me on suicide watch and kept me in a cell all weekend before I was allowed to make a call.
All of this over a gun that the sheriffs deputies never found. Now, who was that Informant?
His name is Lee Forrest. He currently lives in Oregon He was a former policeman in Southern California.
How did you find out he was the informant?
From the Affadavit in Support of Warrant which I finally got 18 months after the incident.
To recap: you were beaten and terrorized in your own home, you had your personal property confiscated, your civil right violated, and your beloved dog mistreated.
Yes. That’s correct.
Let’s resume another day as we dig into this in further detail.
NOTES BY EDITOR DONNA WESTFALL:
1. A public records request for audio/video/tape/photos from the August 18, 2011 incident were hand carried to both the DA’s office and the Sheriff’s office. Nothing has been forthcoming so far.
2. This story is public information and available in the case files from the civil and criminal files.
3. Felony charges by the DA’s office were brought against Dave Egan 18 months after the August 2011 incident. After 23 court appearances all felony charges were dismissed against Dave Egan this year.
BY INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER A. PHILLIP
Where we left off on Part 1 of this saga: On August 18, 2011, Sheriff’s deputies and detectives went into a law abiding citizen’s home, beat him unconscious, bashed in his door and took his entire gun collection and personal property valued at around $100,000. All with an obtained search warrant based on falsified information and on the word of an informant who had his own legal problems put in abeyance for fabricating a crime against Del Norte County resident, Dave Egan. (Read “The World of Informants – Part 1 of the BlackHawk Pistol Story, published in www.crescentcitytimes.com on April 29, 2014).
Here then comes Part 2 of the case about Dave Egan. A single man who lives on a busy corner in town. He enjoys collecting guns and he loves his animals. He’s been a law abiding citizen his entire life.
AP: Let’s resume where we left off last month. Three years ago your civil rights were violated. But that’s not where the story started. It really started in 2010. What exactly happened?
Dave: It was 4 years ago this past Memorial Day weekend. About a month prior, some convicted felons stole my boat motor and motorcycle. I reported it to the Sheriff’s Department. They told me I was calling the wrong jurisdiction and to call the Police Dept. So I did.
The Police told me that since I was in the County, only the Sheriffs Department covered this.
I called back the Sheriffs Department and the woman dispatcher says, “Oh you again,” which I thought was rude and unprofessional. I told her, ” I need you to come out and take a burglary report.”
She started arguing with me and bottom line said “No, we don’t do those.”
AP: Was a report ever taken by any law enforcement agency?
Dave: Yes, eventually the CHP came out and did a report.
AP: California Highway Patrol. Isn’t that definitely out of their jurisdiction?
Dave: Yes, but that’s the only law enforcement group that would respond. In talking with former Sheriff, Jim Maready, he stated that in his 40 years of law enforcement experience he has never heard of anything like this in his entire professional life.
Back to the theft. My phone rang on a Saturday night around 10:45 pm. I picked up the phone and the caller ID showed “PRIVATE.” This guy on the line says, “I really like your truck, I really like your motorcycle… etc.”
I asked this unknown caller, “Who are you?”
“I’m in law enforcement,” he replied. He just called himself Bob. I found out later he was Detective Bob Barber with the Sheriffs department.
AP: Why did Detective Bob Barber even call you?
Dave: He told me he wanted my cooperation in doing a sting operation against the people who took my stuff and I agreed. Barber promised me that if I was part of the sting operation I would get my property back. Shortly after he came to my door, befriended himself; I invited him in and and proudly showed him my gun collection. I could see he was impressed.
AP: How did the sting go?
Dave: It went fine except that the felons who stole my property were not convicted and I never got my property back. To this day, I don’t know where my property is. What I do know is they were arrested at gunpoint, taken to jail and released within 3 hours . Barber lied to me when he said they were in jail permanently. I later realized that they weren’t prosecuted because Barber had to protect his crank head informants. Further, the mother of one of the perpetrators called me, crying, informed me that her daughter made a deal with Barber to not only avoid prison but that she was already out of jail (she was a felon on parole), but that Barber was going to come back to my home and raid it within 48 hours and throw me in jail.
AP: It sounds like you were used...
Dave: I felt completely used. I started complaining I was going to sue Barber. I felt like I was set-up. I felt like he was taking advantage of me. I got mad. I got very, very angry. When I met with him later he acted like he was all wired up on some kind of drugs.
Then he got mad and retaliated against me. That’s when he engineered that whole lie about the BlackHawk Pistol theft, had me beaten, busted down my door, stole my gun collection and property, threw me in jail without ever reading me my Miranda rights and violated my civil rights. It didn’t happen within 48 hours of their arrest. It happened in August 2011.
Any last words before we start working on Part 3 of the BlackHawk Pistol story?
Dave: Yes. Because of what happened to me, I live in constant fear for my life. I was destroyed in nearly every conceivable way. Financially, physically, and emotionally. I was basically held hostage in Crescent City to fight the charges on me. This was difficult when the Sheriffs office took so much of my net worth
NOTE BY EDITOR DONNA WESTFALL: Current Sheriff Dean Wilson touts any citizen complaint against his officers will be dealt with immediately; and no law abiding gun owning citizen will ever have his firearms taken away. He also states he’ll go to jail before putting any law abiding citizen in jail over these crazy, restrictive California gun laws. Yet, to this day, Sheriff Wilson has declined to fulfill his obligation to deal with the vicious actions brought by his deputies or detectives despite a civil lawsuit filed against him. Nor has he apologized to Dave Egan for treating him like a criminal and condoning the taking of his gun collection and property. A few days after the lawsuit was filed and a 18 months after the raid on his home, Former DA Jon Alexander filed three felony counts against Dave Egan. This seemed too much like retaliation. The Civil lawsuit was dismissed most think due to malpractice. Dave, now out of money, was appointed Public Defender Dale Trigg to fight the felony charges.
ADDITIONAL NOTE BY EDITOR, DONNA WESTFALL. On April 25, 2014, a public records request was made for a copy of the CD/video of the raid on Dave Egan’s home. Neither the Sheriff’s Department nor the DA’s office has been forthcoming in providing that information. They have 10 days in which to comply. They both clearly intend to not comply.
BY INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER A. PHILLIPS
Where we left off on Part 1 and 2 of this story; Dave Egan, a Del Norte County resident, was beaten unconscious, had his door bashed in by a SWAT type operation of the Sheriffs Department, and the only item named on the warrant was never found in the raid: the BlackHawk Pistol. Yet these Sheriffs deputies and detectives; confiscated every valuable thing in his home including his entire gun collection, heirloom pieces from his family, gold coins, and cash. All of this was perpetrated by Sheriffs’ Detective Bob Barber’s claim that Dave Egan was a prior felon, a career criminal.
This final chapter of the BlackHawk Pistol story will address some remaining questions about how this could have happened and why.
AP: Dave, now that you have survived years of being treated like criminal, terrorized in your own home and continue to be intimidated by the law enforcement agency that is supposed to protect and serve the public what more can you share?
DE: There are reasons why something like this happens. Money, greed, power, retaliation not to mention that when I got some of my gun collection back, it had been used. In other words, I kept my collection in pristine shape. When they were returned, I could see the barrels were dirty; evidence that they had been taken out and someone had been shooting them.
Here’s what should have happened regarding the “stolen” BlackHawk Pistol. It’s called a Knock and Talk. Laws enforcement is supposed to come to your door, knock politely and ask. You are supposed to have the chance to respond. Instead, they exercised a full blown SWAT tactical assault and raid on my person and home. I have heard from a friend connected to law enforcement that our Sheriff’s department wouldn’t get funding if they didn’t have periodic raids like this or that their statistics would be affected.
AP: How does something like this affect their statistics?
DE: I was arrested and charged with a felony on a charge that is not a felony. More specifically, if I possessed the firearm as alleged, and if it turned out to be stolen, possession would not be a felony because only possession was alleged. It should be noted that a Detective such as Barber gets “credit” for any arrest, whether the party is charged or not, and whether or not the bust is legitimate.
To be successful in executing this SWAT-type raid, Barber had to convince everyone involved that I was a prior felon. Barber turned a non-felony charge into a felony by falsely claiming that I had a felony background when none existed.
AP: Who do you think Barber had convinced and when?
DE: For the unlawful raid and assault; the Judge who signed the warrant, Sheriff Dean Wilson, and the Oregon Police Dept. Then for the prosecution; County Counsel Gretchen Stuhr and the prosecutors in the DA’s office.
AP: Was the phrase illicit or illegal narcotics used in the warrant?
DE: Yes. In the case of Detective Barber, he investigates major felonies usually dealing with drugs. Part of the reason stated on the warrant was DRUGS. Not in your wildest dreams, your wildest imagination could I ever be classified in that category.
My blood boils every time I think of him referring to me as a druggie or a thief.
In the case of Sheriff Dean Wilson, it appears to be his policy to confiscate EVERYTHING, not just the item on the warrant. This is in direct contrast to everything he has been saying during his bid for re-election about protection of the individual in regards to their firearms.
AP: Are you going to vote for Dean Wilson for Sheriff as you did in the last election?
DE: Yes, I supported him last time. I even had his poster on my fence which is a very busy corner. But in good conscience I cannot support him this time. He has done nothing to make things right. He has turned down every chance to correct the situation. Here Bob Barber has destroyed my life and Wilson has done nothing.
AP: What else disturbs you?
DE: Fraudulent Statistics. When I look at Wilsons’ sheet on his statistics about reduced crime I want to puke. Simply not taking proper reports is no substitute for touting a reduction of crime. Their refusal to take a burglary report which initiated this whole four year saga is dereliction of duty. I think these people should be stopped, arrested, convicted and not allowed to continue collecting a paycheck. Including our Sheriff!
AP: Final thoughts. How much do you think all of this cost?
DE: It nearly cost me my life. Monetarily their SWAT type operation, jail, lawsuits, payroll, evidence holding, 23 appearances I had to make in Superior Court and more, must have cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars. They played their games with the taxpayer’s money. They lost. And, I lost.
AP: What was the worst part?
DE: That’s hard to say. Certainly when they dumped the urn containing my loved ones ashes on the floor and kicked them around I thought it was a new low, a new level of depravity.
Thank you Dave, for sharing this story. I know it hasn’t been easy.
NOTE BY EDITOR, Donna Westfall. A public records request was made on April 25, 2014 to obtain a copy of the DVD that recorded the raid on Dave Egan. To this date no DVD has been provided.