(Above) Malheur County Sheriff Deputy Brian Beck, after realizing his dashboard camera was still on.
Here are a few more statements he made that were recorded:
"This...this guy [Hindi] is the real deal."
"God, we are going to get sued."
"We are going to be in a world of hurt here. It's all because of that rodeo board. You know that, right?"
SHARK Calls for Justice Department to Investigate Improper Acts of Malheur County Sheriff's Department
Watch the video on YouTube HERE.
Watch the video on LiveLeak HERE.
• In just two days, this video has received over 400,000 views on YouTube and Liveleak!
In 2012, SHARK video-documented cruel acts of "horse tripping" (where rodeo riders rope horses around their legs, which brings them crashing to the ground) at the Big Loop Rodeo in Jordan Valley, Oregon. The video of this animal abuse went viral, with more than 200,000 views, and it sparked a movement in the Oregon legislature to ban horse tripping. You can watch that video HERE.
One of the horse victims of the Big Loop Rodeo
On May 18, 2013, when SHARK went to this year's Big Loop Rodeo, the Malheur County Sheriff's Department, which has financial and personal ties to the rodeo, violently arrested a SHARK investigator whose only crime was videotaping a cruel event that many Oregon lawmakers were trying to ban (the law subsequently passed and will take effect January 1, 2014). An event that more than a dozen renowned horse experts who oppose horse tripping, including Dr. Temple Grandin, Dr. Marc Bekoff and Dr. Bernard Rollin, have written strong statements against (you can read those statements HERE). Another investigator was forced to leave the premises.
Due to this abuse of power, SHARK President Steve Hindi immediately flew from Illinois to Oregon to attend the rodeo the next day. Though he was legally at the rodeo and was not violating any of the rodeo rules, Steve was asked to leave by the Sheriff's deputies. Steve left of his own free will. As Steve drove away from the rodeo, he saw that he was being followed by two Malheur County Sheriff's vehicles. Ten miles away from the rodeo location, Sheriff's Deputies Brian Belnap and Brian Beck, without any legal reason, performed a traffic stop and held Steve before declaring that he was "permanently trespassed" from the Jordan Valley Rodeo and that he would be arrested if he ever returned.
Malheur County Sheriff Deputy Brian Belnap
This entire incident from Steve's perspective was filmed and can be seen HERE.
Suspecting that there must be more to this story, SHARK, using Oregon's open records law, received the camera recordings from the Sheriff's deputies dash board camera and a body camera. What we saw was shocking; the deputies admitted:
- That they didn't want to pull Steve over.
- That all this had happened because of the [Jordan Valley] Rodeo Board.
- You can also watch as they plot a reason, after stopping Hindi, to justify their illegal action. They then acknowledge that they will probably be sued for what they had done to him.
- At the end you will also hear one yell "Dammit! I was still recording!" Meaning that they knew what they had just said was evidence of their wrongdoing.
These two videos are online, unedited and available at the following links:
(Please note that the audio for the first 30 seconds of the Dash Cam video appear to have been erased. We can only assume that, as that directly preceded the deputies stopping Steve, that it contained damaging evidence).
"The Sheriff's deputies openly spoke about their misconduct because they simply forgot they were being recorded," states Steve. "First they stalked me by following me for 10 miles after I left the rodeo, then they held me without cause while conspiring to plot a reason for the illegal stop. Finally they threatened me with arrest if I ever returned to the rodeo. Police are given extraordinary powers and when they abuse that power, and act like armed security for a private business, as the Malheur County officers did for the Big Loop Rodeo, they must be held accountable."
SHARK is filing an official complaint against the Malheur County Sheriff's department with both the Oregon Attorney General and the United States Justice Department. We are calling for all the officers involved with these incidents be immediately suspended.
That complaint, which contains more details of the Department's ties to the rodeo as well as transcriptions from the video, can be read HERE.
Malheur County Sheriff Lieutenant Rob Hunsucker
Malheur County Sheriff Sergeant Brad Williams
This story is being covered widely. Here are just some of the media outlets that are reporting on the illegal actions of the Sheriff's Department. Please leave comments and share these stories and the videos: