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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on April 16th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 6 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 15, Issue 6

Former Sheriff's Department employees are indicted for alleged use of excessive force


A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted two former Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department custody deputies on April 10 for allegedly using excessive force against an inmate.

Christopher Johnson was indicted on suspicion of depravation of rights, obstruction of justice, and aiding and abetting. Robert Kirsch was indicted on suspicion of depravation of rights and aiding and abetting.

The two were involved in an incident with Charles Owens, who was in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail for murder and rape charges. Owens alleges that Johnson and Kirsch assaulted him. A press release from the Sheriff’s office said the Public Defender’s Office brought up the allegations in August 2013, after which both Johnson and Kirsch were placed on administrative leave and an investigation began.

The release goes on to say that after completing the investigation, Kirsch was terminated from his position on March 7 and Johnson was fired on March 19 of this year.

Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Kelly Hoover told the Sun that she couldn’t comment any further on the firings because they’re a personnel matter.

The FBI is currently investigating the case.