Who keeps an eye on the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department? Do we have a single investigative journalist around here? We sure could use a few, but of course, investigative journalism costs money that our local news outlets would rather not spend. Who can blame them? So long as they can fill the spaces between ads with press releases from local non-profits, endless editorializing, our gruesome police log, and an obligatory report from the Board of Supes meeting, why should they bother holding anybody’s feet to the fire?
Besides, people around here don’t care about government corruption. In fact, we like corruption. We like knowing that justice is for sale around here. We would rather not know the gristly facts, or have to disclose them. We just want to know that if we have enough money, it can all go away. That’s the American Way, right?
Here in Humboldt County we want the the criminal justice system to reward successful criminals and to punish honest poor people. That’s why funds from the county’s new sales tax will go into the coffers of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s department, and its, more than two-hundred, overpaid, trigger-happy thugs, instead of the Humboldt County Coroner’s office, an understaffed team of 5 forensic investigators trying to solve an epidemic of drug-related murders and police shootings.
We really don’t mind murderers walking the streets among us, especially if they kill poor “transients,” and we don’t care if out-of-town families ever find out what happened to their missing family member. If we did care, and we didn’t want murderers walking the streets of Humboldt County, we’d fund the coroner’s office, and our elected County Coroner would not have resigned, and the Board of Supervisors would not be dumping the coroner’s budget, as well as his responsibilities into the Sheriff’s Department.
Talk about the fox guarding the hen house!
We don’t mind murderers in Humboldt County, because they tend to keep a low profile, but we’re damn sick and tired of seeing poor people hanging around, talking to each other and smoking cigarettes, and we hate that they have the nerve to do it in public. That’s why the Supervisors have decided to cut funding for solving murders, and increased the funding for armed thugs to terrorize poor people.
Let’s face it, every day they hear from local people who say: “I’m sick of seeing these filthy dirty hippies carrying everything they own on their backs, sitting in front of my store that sells nothing that anybody really needs.” They hear that all the time, from people who vote, and make political contributions. Only once a week or so do they hear from the bereft relative of a murder victim, asking for justice, and usually they’re calling from out of state, so fuck ’em.
Now that the Coroner’s Office has been folded into the Sheriff’s Department, it will be much easier for Sheriff’s Deputies to handle more murders “in house.” By “handle” I mean “commit, and/or frame people for” not “solve” in case you were wondering. Sheriff Downey has promised to make room in the county jail for homeless people accused of petty crimes. This new arrangement will make it easier for the sheriff to transfer some of that overcrowding to the county morgue.
On a related note, I know that sheriff Downey hates to lose a good deputy. I presume that’s why it took him nearly a year to fire Deputy Daniels after a woman came forward with a credible accusation that he had taken her into custody illegally and raped her while on duty. Deputy Daniels remained on active duty, and five months later, a second woman came forward with accusations of serious sexual assault.
Daniels was only removed from active duty two months after the second assault. How many other women did he rape? Who trained him? What does this say about the culture of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department? Sounds like a job for an investigative reporter.
Anyway, if you are poor, or have a vagina, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department is looking for you, and now, they can do it all “in house.”