A California deputy is under investigation after a man attempting to file a police report last month recorded him threatening to “create” charges against the man.
Duncan Hicks was in the Victorville patrol station of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Jan. 27 to file a report, which he told CBS Los Angeles involved the latest in a string of custody disputes with his child’s mother. He said he had already been to the patrol station twice before, as well as filing a report over the phone.
The deputy appeared to become frustrated with Hicks’ repeat visits. Hicks told the San Bernardino County Sun that the deputy and a receptionist were “rude and irritated.”
“They refused to even help me and kicked me out, telling me I had to leave,” Hicks told the Sun.
Sitting outside in his car, he felt that he had done nothing wrong, Hicks said. He went back inside, this time with his cell phone camera ready.
Hicks said that he recorded the following exchange, which occurred between him, the unnamed deputy and a receptionist, after he was given an incident report that did not give a description of the incident he was reporting.
He asked for the deputy’s name and badge number or a card with the deputy’s information on it. That was when the deputy made his threat.
Scroll to the end of this story to watch the recording of the incident.
Hicks, regarding the report: “This is not explaining the incident, sir.”
Deputy: “OK, Duncan, you know what man? I’m about getting tired of you and you’re about to go to jail, just so you know.”
Hicks: “What am I going to jail for?”
Deputy: “I’ll create something, you understand? You’ll go to jail. You understand that?”
Hicks: “You can’t say that. How you gonna create something? That’s against the law.”
The deputy pointed at Hicks’ phone, which was recording him through the reinforced glass partition at the desk.
Deputy: “Recording me like that. That’s illegal without my knowledge. You want to go to jail for that too?”
Hicks: “I’m doing this for my protection. I’m doing this for my protection. You have a gun on your hip. I’m doing this for my protection.”
At that point in the recording, the female receptionist put a phone call on hold, started shaking her head and wagging a finger at Hicks.
“Uh, uh, you’re not starting that here in my lobby,” she said.
As Hicks tried again to explain that he was filing a report in connection with his joint custody of his child, the receptionist kept pointing and telling him to step back from the security glass.
“Step back from my window,” she said. “Step. Back. From. My. Window.”
Hicks stepped back, telling her repeatedly that he was not being aggressive and was not a threat.
“You can’t do that,” he said. The video continued to roll as the receptionist began helping another citizen.
Hicks told CBS Los Angeles that he was “shocked” by the incident.
“I didn’t do nothing wrong. I’m a law abiding citizen,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the Victorville patrol station told both the Sun and CBS Los Angeles that the station is a public facility and there is no rule prohibiting photographs or video from being shot in the building.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon gave the media outlets a statement that said the response of the deputy and the receptionist was “not consistent” with his expectation of customer service.
“Additionally, the deputy’s responses are not consistent with the interpretation of the law,” McMahon said. “As a result, we are conducting an administrative investigation into this incident, and the four other previous contacts with the citizen, to ensure all previous contacts were professionally handled.”
McMahon said that appropriate action would be taken at the end of the probe.
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