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Pepper Spray Melee Not Fading Away

— An Encinitas woman says she is considering filing a civil suit over an incident where she was arrested and jailed by a sheriff’s deputy at a political fundraiser. Shari Barman presented her side of the story after District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis decided not to press charges against either Barman or the deputy.

Barman says while she’s glad Dumanis will not file charges, she disputes the district attorney’s conclusion that she committed a misdemeanor.

The melee occurred after a deputy arrived to investigate a noise complaint, and resulted in Barman being knocked to the floor, handcuffed, arrested and jailed. Guests who tried to intervene were pepper sprayed and threatened with a Taser.

“What happened to me that night could happen to you,” Barman said at a news conference with her attorney. “ It could happen to your mother or your sister or your grandmother. It’s not just about what happened to me, it’s about the whole community.”

Barman says she did not refuse to provide her date of birth to the deputy, she only asked him why he needed it. Her lawyer says the deputy was trespassing by walking into Barman’s home without a warrant in response to a noise complaint.

Barman says the sheriff should make changes to his training policies and set up an independent review board.

Jan Caldwell of the sheriff’s office says by law the sheriff cannot release the findings of an internal review, but will conduct a critical incident review.

“We’re going to analyze it step by step,” she says, “ and see if we do need a change in our policy, in our procedure, in our tactics. I can’t comment on that now because the critical incident review has not been initiated.”

Caldwell also acknowledges that any citizen is at liberty to contact the County’s Citizen’s Law Enforcement Review Board.

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