Two California men suspected of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign in Westlake Village are affiliated with law enforcement agencies in the region, according to reports.
The arrests of the Thousand Oaks men, with two being LE agency affiliated, were announced by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday night.
The men are believed to have been involved in several acts of vandalism.
“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,” VCSO Sheriff Bill Ayub said 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.”
According to the VC Star, the tarp-based sign was damaged or removed on several occasions.
After the sign’s owner put up a security camera and turned over the video evidence to the VCSO, detectives recognized employee Darrin Stone as one of the perpetrators.
Stone was off-duty at the time of the incidents.
Confronted by the VCSO at his home, Stone reportedly cooperated and received a misdemeanor citation for vandalism. He has also been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Stone has been with the agency as a non-sworn employee since 2005.
Another man, Craig Anderson, is a non-sworn investigative assistant at Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten’s office. He has since resigned and has been issued a similar citation.
A third individual was also involved, but not affiliated with law enforcement.
All men are at or approaching sixty years of age.
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