William Grigg
LRC Blog
June 30, 2009

Last Friday, the Encintas station of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department wrote another chapter in the annals of law enforcement overkill by dispatching an eight-man force, augmented by a helicopter, to deal with a spurious noise complaint prompted by a congressional fund-raising party in nearby Cardiff.

According to guests, the reception for candidate Francine Busby — which attracted about thirty people, most of them comfortably into middle age and none of them particularly boisterous by nature — was interrupted by “a vulgar person shouting obscenities from behind the bushes.”

Someone, most likely the heckler in question, called in a noise complaint. The Sheriff’s Office dispatched the large force under the command of Deputy Marshall Abbott, who has been with the force for about two years and, as we’ll see, displays the perverse eagerness to escalate a confrontation that is a persistent trait among younger law enforcement personnel.

Abbott approached hostess Shari Barman to inquire about the complaint. No doubt thinking of the polite fellow who had hurled epithets at the gathering earlier, Barman replied with an epithet of her own.

Abbott asked Barman for her birth date. Puzzled by the question, Barman asked why that information was necessary, not understanding that under the martial law mind-set prevailing today, anything other than immediate, docile obedience to any directive issued by a goon in a government-issued costume is considered a crime. 


Deputy Abbott “told me I was under arrest, grabbed my right arm, twisted it behind me and threw me on the ground,” Barman recalled later. When 55-year-old Jane Stratton urged Abbott to take care because the 60-year-old woman had recently had shoulder surgery, the heroic deputy “knocked her to the ground,” continues Barman.

Abbott also displayed his martial prowess by attacking several other guests with pepper spray. Sure, it was unnecessary,  but that’s just the way Deputy Marshall Abbott rolls, man. Just deal with it.

“He was pepper-spraying the faces of anyone who tried to talk to him,” Busby recalled. “People were stunned. It was something that none of us has experienced.”

Sgt. Thomas “Chuck” Yancey justified Abbott’s attack, telling the San Diego Union-Tribune that the deputy was alarmed to find himself surrounded by a throng of outraged, middle-aged Democrats, most of them female.

“We don’t like people standing behind us – we have Tasers, guns, clubs,” Yancey said.

Think of that for a minute: These guys are heavily armed and, supposedly, highly trained, and yet will feel intimidated if a few unarmed middle-aged people are standing behind them.

Yancey, who wasn’t on the scene, blames Busby for the melee.

“The place got out of hand,” he said. “If Francine Busby was there, why not take a leadership role, step up, and nip this thing in the bud?”

There was nothing to “nip in the bud,” since the event was entirely peaceful and orderly until Marshall and his homiez showed up. Furthermore, Busby points out that it was impossible for her to intervene once the intrepid Deputy Abbott began indiscriminately pepper-spraying guests.

Besides, if Busby had attempted to take a “leadership role” once the goon squad arrived, she would have been assaulted, handcuffed, and hit with a bogus charge of  “obstructing” or “resisting” an officer.

Neighbors who witnessed the incident — apart from the anonymous party who phoned in the spurious complaint — confirm that the evening was peaceful and uneventful until the Sheriff’s deputies arrived and began “protecting and serving” those who attended the peaceful gathering.

Barman was charged with — get this! — “suspicion of battery on a peace officer,” as well as “resisting, delaying and obstructing a peace officer.”

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