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Paso Robles blues 

Back when I was a wee shredder, being a police officer sounded neat-o. They were heroes, protectors, good guys. When we played cops and robbers, everyone wanted to be the cops. Not so much lately. These days, many view the police with a jaundiced eye. How can we trust those enlisted to protect and serve us when they seem more interested in protecting the "thin blue line" than in holding their ranks accountable to the law?

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The sad case of former Paso Robles Police Sgt. Christopher McGuire certainly doesn't engender much faith in the police or SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow. A federal lawsuit shows that in 2017, McGuire allegedly raped a Paso Robles woman and continued to stalk, terrorize, and harass her in the following months. She eventually reported McGuire's actions to the Santa Cruz Police Department. What was she supposed to do? Go to the Paso Robles PD?

Her report triggered a Paso PD internal investigation, which was later taken over by the SLO County Sherriff's Office, which apparently found that McGuire had sexually harassed or assaulted multiple Paso women for years. Naturally Dow filed rape charges against McGuire, who was found guilty and is now in prison ... not! Instead, Dow said "no reasonable and objective jury could find Mr. McGuire guilty of the alleged crimes."

Well, if you say so, Dan. I mean, usually judges and juries get to hear the evidence and decide someone's fate, but apparently all-knowing Dan didn't think the alleged rape victim deserved her day in court. She then filed a claim for damages with the city of Paso Robles, which dismissed the claim, arguing it was filed after a six-month statute of limitations.

I bet she felt very protected and served.

The 2018 investigation supposedly discovered evidence like McGuire's semen on the victim's garage floor. Weirdly, "innocent" McGuire up and resigned from the department, but Dow still declined to file charges. People who are innocent usually scamper away, right Dan? And it's reasonable to completely ignore the alleged pattern of abuse with these other women, right? Yeah, your lack of action seems perfectly reasonable, Dan, you Bible-thumping hypocrite.

By the way, New Times' request for documents in the sheriff's investigation were denied. The only reason we're discovering this stuff now is because the victim filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Despite arguments that her lawsuit had come too late, a federal judge agreed that the victim deserved a trial and dismissed the defendants'—McGuire and Paso Robles—motion to dismiss.

It didn't have to come to this. Dow could have taken this case seriously, filed charges, and let the victim's claims play out in front of a jury. McGuire might be in prison and Paso wouldn't be looking down the barrel of significant civil liability. Instead, Dow was apparently more interested in sweeping law enforcement malfeasance under the proverbial rug.

Meanwhile, he's got no problem throwing the book at Black Lives Matter protesters. You charge 20-year-old student-activist Tianna Arata with 13 crimes, but Chris "Tell Me What You're Going to Do with My Big Cock" McGuire gets off scot-free? When is your term up again, Dan? Soon, I hope, because you're no longer worthy of office.

Speaking of Paso, I guess we can thank you and a bunch of reckless Cal Poly students for putting SLO County back in the COVID-19 purple tier. Wouldn't it be great if people would follow health guidelines? Instead, Poly kids are partying like it's February 2020, and Paso is apparently populated by rugged individualists who don't believe COVID-19 is dangerous.

Paso City Councilmember Fred Strong essentially said at Tuesday's meeting that it's not the city's lack of guidance, leadership, or enforcement of safety guidelines that's at fault:

"It's the people and their actions that could put themselves at risk if they don't use common sense and good judgment," Strong said. "I would like to point out that the governor's guidelines are not mandates. There is no legislative action in this regard. ... People are so upset, so bothered by the way this is being handled. And many people feel an infringement of their constitutional rights. Granted, everybody's constitutional rights end where the next person's begin, so we have no right to intentionally endanger others."

Careful, Fred. You almost sound reasonable, though apparently, it's not reasonable to require Paso businesses to follow state mandates. And as for Councilman John Hammon, you sound like a COVIDiot.

"I'm speaking personally for myself again," Hammon said, I guess to make sure we understand he's not a ventriloquist's dummy. "I am in the opinion that COVID-19 is not a major threat."

I'm sure the nearly quarter-million dead Americans and their families will be very reassured by that. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all! I'm sure early December will be super interesting, virus-wise!

Oh, and sorry to kick a downed dog, but Paso Robles Joint Unified School District just got a grand jury beatdown for completely demolishing its finances again. Titled, "Paso Robles School District: A Cautionary Tale," the report details how "failures in leadership and management" led the district to "fail its students and the community it serves."

Go Paso! Δ

The Shredder wishes Paso a speedy recovery. Send death threats to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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