Date of Incident: May 19, 2013
Department Involved: Malheur County Sheriff’s Office
Officers Involved: Deputies Brian Belnap and Brian Beck
In 2012, SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), an Illinois-based animal protection organization, 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.
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).
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, Hindi was asked to leave by the Sheriff’s deputies. Hindi left of his own free will. As Hindi 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 Hindi before declaring that he was “permanently trespassed” from the Jordan Valley Rodeo and that he would be arrested if he ever returned.
This entire incident from Hindi’s perspective was filmed and can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8getuMxnV0
Knowing 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 Hindi 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.
You can see the most recent video here:
Corrupt Cops Caught by Their Own Cruiser Camera!!!
These two police camera videos are also online unedited and available at the following links:
Malheur Bodycam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoPeq0fKYmo
Malheur County Dash Cam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmVac7X0SS4
(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 Hindi, that it contained damaging evidence).
“The Sheriff’s deputies openly spoke about their misconduct because they simply forgot they were being recorded,” states Hindi. “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.
Aug. 28, 2013
Follow-up on viral video of illegal police stop:
Group releases more evidence of police corruption
On August 12, 2013, SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) uploaded a YouTube video exposing an illegal traffic stop of SHARK President Steve Hindi by sheriff’s deputies in Malheur County, Oregon. Using footage from the deputies own dashboard and body cameras, SHARK exposed that the deputies not only had no legal reason to stop Hindi, but they feared they were going to be sued for their illegal activity.
SHARK’s video went viral, receiving more than 635,000 views on LiveLeak and YouTube. You can watch that video here:http://www.liveleak.com/view?
This issue became a major news story. According to news sources, the Sheriff of Malheur County was forced to ask the FBI to investigate. The FBI, however, has not contacted Mr. Hindi.
In order to make sure the FBI has all the evidence, SHARK is publicly releasing new evidence of illegal acts and wrongdoing committed by the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department.
• The first of the new evidence deals with extreme abuse of power by a Malheur County sheriff’s deputy named Robert Wroten, who is also a member of the Jordan Valley Rodeo Board. On the first day of 2013 Big Loop Rodeo, Wroten (who did not identify himself as a deputy) confronted and interrogated a SHARK investigator, demanded to see his personal identification, and wrote down all that private information. The next day, Wroten, along with Sergeant Richard Harriman, again confronted the investigator.
“During the second encounter, Wroten revealed that he had run the investigator’s information, which was absolutely illegal,” states Hindi. “Wroten bullied to obtain personal information. He then used his position as a police officer to illegally run that information to benefit the rodeo. That is corruption and an absolute abuse of authority.”
You can watch Wroten, in his own words, admit that he ran the investigator’s ID in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
•The second major new evidence SHARK is releasing is that the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department shared private information from the illegal traffic stop with rodeo people.
On May 21, 2013, a rodeo supporter and photographer named Mary Williams Hyde posted the following on her Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/mary.
“The google research i did beforehand helped ME recognize Steve Hindi the SHARK guy when he showed up at Jordan Valley.”
“He was sure mad when he got thrown out. Wasn’t actually sure it was him though, because he refused to give his name. But they got the id l when highway patrol stopped him later. rental car was insured by SHARK.”
On August 15, she posted the following:
” I know all about what happened to him [Hindi] as I was the one who ID’d him in the first place at JV.”
Ms. Hyde’s words are damning for two reasons: First, she states that she identified Hindi by name and face, second, that she knew that Hindi had a rental car and that it was insured by SHARK.
“The excuse from everyone from the deputies to Sheriff Wolfe himself has been that they stopped me because they didn’t know who I was,” states Hindi, “Ms. Hyde, however, admitted that she told them exactly who I was. Even so, that pales to her shocking revelation about knowing who insured my vehicle. The only way she could have known that is if that information worked its way from the sheriff’s department through the rodeo board, and then to her. The sheriff’s department shared private information obtained from an illegal traffic stop. One can only guess how many rodeo people now have that formerly private information.”
Watch the video explaining this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
SHARK has also released a video that shows how one deputy, later revealed to be Brian Beck, appears to have deliberately removed his name tag before talking to Hindi at the traffic stop, then retrieving it from the ground afterward. Beck refused to identify himself during the traffic stop. That video can be found here:
“The evidence shows that members of the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department, including command level officers, committed numerous illegal acts,” states Hindi. “Since the FBI has not come to us, which they should have, we are presenting this publicly so that this issue does not get buried and ignored. Police are given enormous power over the public. When they violate their oath, they must be punished.”
It is important to note the incestuous relationship that exists between the Jordan Valley Rodeo Board, which runs the Big Loop Rodeo, and the Malheur County Sheriff’s Department, which uses the rodeo as a fundraiser for itself. In 2012, SHARK exposed cruel horse tripping at the Big Loop Rodeo. That video was so powerful that it lead to the law being changed in Oregon to ban the deliberate tripping of horses. In retaliation for that, at the 2013 Big Loop Rodeo, the Sheriff’s department acted as private security for the rodeo and took severe action to intimidate and remove anyone associated with SHARK.
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.