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Rush to judgment in SJ jail beating: Tape will tell tale
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Jacob Servin claims that correctional officers in the San Joaquin County Jail brutally and viciously beat him in an attack that left his face bruised, battered, and bloody.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office says that Servin was violent and confrontational with officers and they did what they had to do in order to subdue him.

And until San Joaquin County Sheriff Pat Withrow releases the video surveillance that may have captured the incident, the public will keep doing what it always does – throwing their support behind whichever story suits their personal viewpoint.

If you looked anywhere on social media on Wednesday it was easy to see people coming down on both sides of this fence – people who were flat out sure that the correctional officers woke up  that morning with the goal and the intent of brutally beating somebody in a racist attack squabbled with people who even if that were true would have backed the correctional officers.

The whole thing was just dizzying.

In these modern times, the rush to judgment is so swift and so severe that the truth becomes secondary in the discussion. Even if Withrow makes good on his word to release the video – and since he was elected he has given the public zero reason to doubt him – there will still be people who say that the camera “didn’t capture all of it” or that you “can’t hear what is being said.”

So, if this is the way that things are going to go, then why do we even bother trying to prove them anymore?

I personally find it hard to believe that a group of people would risk their livelihoods, their pensions, and their own liberty – law enforcement personnel can be charged with crimes as well – to beat somebody without cause in a facility that is wired with cameras.

Withrow’s predecessor, Steve Moore, didn’t waste any time in rightfully serving up one of his own that was observed hitting a defenseless inmate – an act that was observed by two Manteca Police officers who were processing somebody into the jail – and I hope that Withrow follows in his footsteps in this regard if there is something untoward that shows up in the video evidence. So far, the Sheriff has set a new example for transparency when it comes to the county’s top law enforcement agency, and I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be just and fair.

But rushing to judgment on something like this until the evidence is permitted is just flat out wrong. If Servin is correct and he was beaten for no reason, then the officers deserve to be fired – that goes without saying. But if he was under the influence – he claims he only had two drinks, but Stockton Police officers had reason to believe he was inebriated, so they arrested him for public intoxication. And he fought with officers and did what the sheriff’s office said he did, including reaching for an officer’s equipment during the struggle, and then the use of force is understandable.

Yes, the pictures look terrible. But the pictures are only a portion of the story, and for the sake of all involved parties the surveillance footage will put to rest any more guessing games about what actually happened.

While I agree that law enforcement – who have the ability to take away somebody’s liberty, and even their life if the situation calls for it – need to be held to a higher standard, I also recognize that they have a job that very few people would actually want to do, and they put their own safety on the line for the preservation of ours.

So I’ll be waiting for the video to be released before I pass judgement on either side.

I just wish that was the default attitude across the board.



Pigskin Finale

This is it.

Against all odds, we have reached the end of the season.

And, quite shockingly I might add, we had three local teams win section championships – Ripon beating a highly regarded Center team, Manteca rolling up Placer, and Sierra shocking the world by dethroning Oakdale after losing handily to them during the Valley Oak League season.

And now, with the CIF Northern California Bowl Games upon us, we pick one last time.

And regardless of how deeply the rivalries may run, nobody dares pick against a local team this week:

Wohle (46-12): “I’m riding the local bandwagon all the way to the State Championship. Give me Manteca, Sierra, Ripon, and a link of linguica from Chris Teicheira. At least I know the local schools will deliver. As far as the Pros, I’m taking the Niners and not the Raiders, and LSU over Georgia. I want my linguica!”

Campbell (40-18): There is no way in good conscience I can pick against three local schools that stand a chance at a State Championship. I’m taking Manteca, Sierra, and Ripon, and think that the Niners will beat New Orleans and the Raiders will beat the Titans. Also, LSU will roll Georgia. I may not be able to catch, Wohle, but my second place is solid.

Condit (37-21): Yoda’s picks are turned in by “Luke” this week, who feels that Condit would take all locals, the Niners, Titans, and LSU – all of whom are favorites. It’s a chalk week for Yoda, and I think he’ll fare well.

Teicheira (37-21): “This week I learn my lesson, a heartfelt lesson, and take all three local schools. I was at the MHS game in a pouring rainstorm last Saturday and just as the National Anthem finished, I heard a ‘Hey Teicheira’ from up in the stands. My large Buffalo-sized head exposed, I removed my hood and cap like a good American. It was my old friend and rival Lancer Rome Ilardi. My requisite wave was met with a ‘what are you doing picking against Ripon in the paper?!’ Mind you, this is the father of Ripon’s QB, uncle of MHS’s QB, and an all-around cool dude – standing in a rainstorm about to support the Buffs. My little green heart sank. ‘I’m sorry – I’m trying not to lose a bet with Whole’ I hesitantly responded. ‘Don’t pick against our kids! Buy him the darn linguica Teicheira!’ was all I heard.

I will not pick against Ripon again (picking against the Lancers however is a whole different pan of linguica Papa Ilardi).

I’m taking all of the local schools, and give me the Saints, Raiders, and Georgia over LSU.”

Good luck local schools!

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.