Three employees with the Southern California Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices have been arrested for vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign.
Authorities say that employees Darrin Stone, Craig Anderson, and Jeffrey Moore were all caught on camera vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign on a homeowner’s fence in Thousand Oaks, California.
According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, the sign was damaged and removed several times.
The homeowner, Andy Meyers, installed a surveillance camera near the banner after it was torn down once. The camera then captured multiple people vandalizing and attempting to remove the sign, and Meyers then posted the footage on social media.
Meyers said his son, who is a college student, made the banner to support the movement, and never expected it to be vandalized.
“None of us expected it to be vandalized. But to have it defaced by people we’ve always taught him he’s supposed to trust has been a terrible lesson to learn,” Meyers told CNN. “Black Lives Matter. Period. He put up a sign to support a movement. Ironically, their efforts to take it down have only led to more visibility for it.”
“We couldn’t believe that someone would actually steal the sign,” Meyers said. “So then we put up the cameras. And to see the hatred — one guy with a knife, one guy practically ripping our fence down, two separate guys with spray paint — it’s sickening.”
Darin Stone, who worked as a service technician for the sheriff’s office, was recognized on video slashing the sign on June 13 and 19, the sheriff’s office said. He was off duty at the time and received a citation for vandalism and was placed on paid administrative leave.
” 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,” said Sheriff Bill Ayub in a statement. “We will not tolerate unlawful or unethical behavior by anyone employed by our agency. We hold our employees to the highest standards, and there will be consequences for this.”
Craig Anderson, an investigative assistant at the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, was seen cutting down the sign before noticing the surveillance camera and leaving. He was cited for vandalism.
“Mr. Anderson has worked as a non-sworn investigative assistant with the District Attorney’s office for approximately four months,” DA Greg Totten’s said.” In accordance with the District Attorney policy, the misdemeanor vandalism citation will be referred to the Attorney General’s Office for all purposes due to Mr. Anderson’s employment status. Mr. Anderson has resigned his employment with the District Attorney’s office.”
Jeffrey Moore allegedly vandalized the sign on June 11, the sheriff’s office said. He was identified on the video because the company name and phone number were “prominently displayed on his vehicle.