VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. – Two Thousand Oaks men are facing misdemeanor charges for their roles in the in the vandalism of a "BLM" (Black Lives Matter) sign.
On Monday, District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced the misdemeanor vandalism charges have been approved for filing against Jeffrey Moore and Darrin Stone.
Both Moore and Stone are eligible and have agreed to participate in the District Attorney’s Misdemeanor Diversion Program for their roles in the vandalism of the sign.
At the end of May 2020, a sign reading “BLM” was placed on the rear fence of a private residence facing Westlake Boulevard.
According to officials, on June 11, Moore defaced the sign by spray painting an “A” over the “B” on the sign.
Then on June 13, Stone cut down a second sign that had been placed on the fence and carried it away.
On June 19, Stone cut down a third sign that had been placed in the same location and carried it away.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation into the incidents and ultimately cited Moore and Stone for vandalism of the “BLM” signs.
Upon successful completion of the Misdemeanor Diversion Program, the vandalism charges faced by Moore and Stone will not be filed with the court.
The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Misdemeanor Diversion Program was initiated in 2017 in an effort to reduce recidivism by providing meaningful education and rehabilitation to eligible individuals.
All cases are reviewed by an attorney to determine if there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt to prove the alleged criminal charge.
If so, the program is offered to those with minimal or no criminal history who are facing certain low level misdemeanors, and provides offenders the opportunity to complete rehabilitative classes and pay restitution in lieu of formal prosecution.
The program addresses the individual’s particular criminal actions and is funded entirely by offenders, with neither cost nor revenue to the District Attorney’s Office or the County of Ventura.
Applicants who cannot afford the program may apply for a fee reduction.
Since it began, this program has been offered to 1,959 people and 1,170 have enrolled. Of those enrolled, 983 have successfully completed the program and 942 (95.8%) have not reoffended once they completed the program.
Similar programs currently operate in various California counties, including San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange.