THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- A Ventura County Sheriff's employee was among three people arrested over the weekend for vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign.
There is video circulating around social media of a man being caught slashing a Black Lives Matter sign with a knife. The man in the video is a Ventura County Sheriff's employee.
“It is embarrassing, it is absolutely embarrassing,” said Eric Buschow, who is a Captain at the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. “This is a situation where the actions of one individual make us all look bad. None of us are happy with it.”
Buschow says a young man got his parent's OK to put the sign on their fence facing Westlake Boulevard in Thousand Oaks. But for the past three weeks there were issues with people removing and damaging the sign. The parents decided to put up a surveillance camera and captured multiple vandalizations.
“A couple of our detectives out of East Valley saw the social media post and immediately recognized the suspect as possibly being one of our employees,” said Buschow. “That was Darrin Stone.”
Stone was seen on video two different times slashing and tearing down the sign. Since 2005, he's worked as a service technician in the jail facility monitoring inmates. It is an unsworn position. Stone was arrested and cited for vandalism and is now on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal and internal investigations.
“This is absolutely a crime,” said Buschow. “I mean the sign itself doesn’t have a lot of value to it, but it is the property of the homeowner. They put it there, and it’s on their fence and someone damaging it is vandalism. And that is a misdemeanor in the State of California.”
Stone wasn’t the only one caught on camera. So was an employee of the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.
“The bigger concern here is the fact that they are specifically targeting a sign that says BLM. So there are racial undertones that can't be ignored with this.”
A third man was seen on video spraying graffiti over the sign. All three have now been tracked down and cited for vandalism. Officials say there is no apparent connection between these suspects and this is still an ongoing investigation.
The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office says they terminated their employee that was involved in the situation Monday morning.