Another Day, Another Deceptive Story About an LA County Deputy

The War on Cops has Become a War on the Truth

”In war, truth is the first casualty” – Aeschylus (524-455 BC)

If anyone has any lingering doubts about whether or not there is an ongoing, coordinated assault on law enforcement, all they need to do is read the most recent offering by the Los Angeles Times and their “Investigative Reporter” Keri Blakinger.

In her article dated April 5th “Deputy Who Killed Mother in Front of Child Also Body-slammed School Janitor, Lawsuit Says,” Blakinger reports on a lawsuit that has been filed regarding an incident that occurred in the Lancaster area of LA County over a year ago involving the actions of LA County Deputy Sheriff Ty Shelton.

According to Blakinger, the suit involves a single use of force by Shelton that occurred in March of 2023.  In that incident, Shelton used force on an individual who was quickly determined to have not been involved in the incident at hand. After his use of force, Shelton “tried to help” the individual, and even “offered him medical aid.”

Also according to Blakinger’s article, the Sheriff’s Department responded to her in an email that stated, “The department conducted an internal investigation into this incident, which was reviewed by the North Patrol Commander, (and) it was determined to be objectively reasonable and within policy.”

So at this juncture, we have a recently filed civil suit alleging a single use of force by a deputy sheriff that was determined to have been “objectively reasonable and within policy.”

I am not here to dispute the suit itself, since that is up to the purview of the court system.  Attorneys filing civil suits have wide latitude in how they present their initial claims. This will work itself out in due course.

Not content with this scenario, Blakinger, in an apparent attempt to discredit and defame the involved deputy sheriff, attempts to bootstrap two completely unrelated incidents to her reporting of the suit.  To do so, she relates two shootings the deputy has been involved in, one that occurred in 2020, the second this past December 2023.

In the 2020 shooting, Deputy Shelton shot and killed a suspect who had reportedly tried to grab another deputy’s gun while they were handling a domestic violence call.  As is routine in these cases, the facts were presented to the LA County District Attorney’s office, who declined to file any charges against the deputy.  Deputy Shelton was also cleared of any wrongdoing by the Department as well.

Blakinger then dredges up the shooting that occurred this past December, wherein Deputy Shelton shot and killed a woman who had been threatening another person inside her residence with a large kitchen knife.  This is the point in her article where the narrative goes off the rails.

At first, Blakinger accurately reports that a female called Lancaster Station via 911 and requested that deputies respond to her home regarding her boyfriend who had been assaulting her.  She then relates information from a claim for damages that was presented to the Sheriff’s Department shortly after the incident, which assumedly signaled plans to sue the Department for $30 million dollars.

Blakinger writes, “According to the claim, (the female) was sitting on the floor inside her home and ‘not threatening anyone’ when deputies showed up and opened fire from outside, shooting her four times through a sliding glass door.”

Given her employment with the Los Angeles Times and her assignment of reporting on the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Blakinger was no doubt aware of the fact that the Department had publicly released the deputy’s body-worn camera footage shortly after the incident, proving this narrative to be demonstrably false on its face.

While failing to acknowledge the existence of the critical video, Blakinger writes, “The department offered a different account in a news release posted online last year, “When deputies arrived at (the female’s) apartment”, the release said, “they heard shouting inside, and a woman came to the door with a large knife and said she was “going to stab her boyfriend for pushing her daughter.”

Blakinger goes on to write, “The mother retreated inside”, the release said,” heading toward where her former boyfriend was sitting.  Deputies followed her, and a ‘deputy-involved shooting’ occurred.”

And that’s it.  No account of what was shown on the video, and worse still, no acknowledgement that the video even exists.  This critical piece of information is left unaccounted for, leaving the public to believe that this is a simple case of “he said-they said.”  In reality, the video confirms what the Department had accurately reported in their news release.

The deceptive and cynical failure to report this information serves as yet another example of how some in the media attempt to frame a narrative in a manner that more closely resembles their views.  The overall effect of this article is to sensationalize a single, unrelated incident into being some type of negative pattern of behavior; a pattern that simply does not exist.

Were Blakinger’s editors asleep at the switch, or did they simply not care about the accuracy, or more appropriately, inaccuracy of an article going out under their banner?  Just like in this instance, with the failure to report the existence of a critical video, we are left without the full truth of what occurred and have to wonder about what has truly taken place.

Mike Bornman

Michael Bornman, Captain (ret) LA County Sheriff’s Department, 36 years of service. Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, Bachelor’s Degree in English, Associate’s Degree in Police Science.

1 Comment

  1. I’m going to keep this comment short and concise. The L.A. Times has a clear history of producing articles with questionable and sometimes completely false information regarding law enforcement related incidents. It would appear the Times enjoys spreading false and damaging information about law enforcement due to an irrational and disturbing bias against hard-working officers. Perhaps L.A. Times reporters and editors should awaken from their leftist dreams and see what’s happening in the City of Angels … from the standpoint of crime and disorder it’s pretty ugly and our deputies and officers are NOT the cause.

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