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Malheur County, Oregon Pays for Deputies’ Bad Behavior

In 2013, during the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo, Malheur County sheriff’s deputies decided that it was more important to follow the directions of the rodeo board than the laws of Oregon, or the protected rights of US citizens under the Constitution of the United States.

As SHARK YouTubes have exposed, Malheur sheriff’s deputies conducted an illegal traffic stop based on an order from the rodeo board, committed intimidation, police brutality, and illegally used a police computer to gain unwarranted access to personal information about SHARK personnel.


Malheur County Sheriff Deputy Brian Beck, after realizing his dashboard camera was still recording.


SHARK videos exposing the cruelty and corruption of the Malheur County and the Big Loop Rodeo have garnered some three million views on YouTube, and even more on some other Internet sites. The public responded with outrage at the police misdeeds.

I filed a lawsuit against the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department. I am happy to announce that suit has now been settled. Malheur County paid $12,500 for illegally stopping me at the behest of the Big Loop Rodeo board. I didn’t want Malheur’s money, so I gave it to SHARK.

Interestingly, the sheriff’s department sent only professional officers to the 2014 rodeo. Gone were the badge-carrying rodeo minions. What a difference a year can make, especially when you file a federal lawsuit!

Some people think you can’t stand up to corrupt police, but we’ve done it successfully time and time again. Not all police are corrupt, but when you find those that are, I believe it is a duty to stand up for what is right.

Also very different was the rodeo itself, because Oregon passed a law banning horse tripping. Going by the performance of sheriff’s deputies in 2013, we thought they would not enforce the ban this year, but they did, and we applaud Sheriff Wolfe for getting the job done this time around.


A horse being “tripped” and brutalized at the Big Loop Rodeo in 2012


Some people think that rodeos can’t be changed, but the Big Loop Rodeo has proven otherwise, and it is just the latest example. SHARK’s exposure of rodeo animal shocking has  knocked most of that particular abuse out, and we continue to expose it on the rare occasions that we still find it. The same goes for tail twisting and tail raking over metal bars. Rodeos throughout the US have changed for fear of being exposed by SHARK cameras.

SHARK’s efforts have knocked some rodeos into the sunset on a permanent basis, such as the Lake County Sheriff’s Rodeo in Illinois, or the Flat Rock Rodeo in Flat Rock, Michigan.

Rodeo sponsors have also felt the bite of our rodeo videos, and a number of them have bailed on the phony cowboys, including Macy’s, Trader Joe’s, Starbucks, GEICO Insurance, Southwest Airlines, Campbell’s Soup, and Choice Hotels.

While corporate thugs such as Coca-Cola, Les Schwab Tires and others still support rodeos, and much abuse remains, SHARK will continue to do everything we can to bring relief to rodeo animals.
 
You can see the videos and read the entire story here.