Motorist files claim against Mono County, Sheriff

boulaalamgunIn a claim filed against Mono County, attorney Allen Berrey says in July his client was “unconstitutionally and unlawfully seized, searched, arrested and jailed by two Mono County Sheriff’s officers – a sergeant and a deputy – in a way that made him feel as if he had been baited, hunted and trapped for no legitimate reason.” The claim alleges violations of civil rights, fabrication of evidence, false arrest and imprisonment and violation of Fourth and Second Amendment rights. Sheriff Ralph Obenberger has declined to comment. The District Attorney did file a misdemeanor allegation of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

Attorney Berrey filed a Statement of Facts supporting the claim for Youssef Boulaalam, a US citizen and resident of Cardiff By The Sea, who was on a hiking, camping, fishing and target-shooting trip through several states. The statement says the dash-cam DVD from the Sheriff’s car revealed much, but not all, of what happened to his client in the Bridgeport area. The claim alleges that Sheriff Sergeant Rick Hahn and Deputy Art Torres followed Mr. Boulaalam from Travertine Hot Springs, a popular camping and sightseeing spot south of Bridgeport.

The claim says the Mono Sheriff’s patrol car passed him, did a U-turn and “began tailgating him.” According to the claim, Mr. Boulaalam was scared by the patrol car which followed him onto Highway 395. Boulaalam was uncertain of the speed limit so continued at 45 miles per hour until he saw a speed sign. Finally the patrol car’s overhead lights went on and the man was pulled over.

According to the claim, when Boulaalam was stopped he explained to the deputy that the way the officers had tailgated him and then followed him onto the highway had “made him scared and nervous, that he was distracted and didn’t want to exceed the speed limit for fear of being pulled over for something he had not done.” The claim says the deputy conducted virtually no investigation of sobriety.

The claim alleges the officers stopped the man on a sobriety issue but really wanted to search his car for guns. The crime report quotes one of the officers as saying, “While speaking with Boulaalam I determined he was not under the influence.” But the incident did not stop there. When asked if he had any firearms, Boulaalam told the officer about a rifle under a seat. The claim says the DVD recorded the officer saying, “Here’s my thing: all these guys that camp, you know they’ve got guns or something on ’em.”

Attorney Berrey said after his client told them about it, the officers also found a hand gun with a loaded clip. The claim says Boulaalam told the Sergeant the gun was in a back pack. They arrested Boulaalam for possession of a loaded firearm in public, a misdemeanor. The claim alleges the officers lied about several details in the chain of events.

Mr. Boulaalam said he told the officers the gun belonged to his boss who had accompanied him on part of the trip. The claim says the deputies staged the location of the evidence in the car and took pictures of it – with the handgun sticking out in plain sight instead of in a back pack.

The District Attorney later filed a misdemeanor complaint against Mr. Boulaalam, alleging he unlawfully carried a loaded firearm in a vehicle. Attorney Berrey filed motions to suppress what he says is unconstitutionally obtained evidence. That motion is scheduled to be heard February 24th.

Sheriff Obenberger said he would not make any comment.

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Trouble
Trouble
8 years ago

I sure hope you report the out come of this case.

wilderbeast
wilderbeast
8 years ago

“its not illegal to carry a gun. ever heard of the 2nd amendment?” I beg to differ with you. You can only a loaded and concealed weapon with a Concealed Weapons Permit and then only the weapon listed on the permit. All other weapons must be unloaded and locked in… Read more »

PHARMAVITE
PHARMAVITE
8 years ago

Anyone that has read the Sierra wave for the last few years is well aware there’s something wrong within the Mono County Sheriff Department.

I have no doubt Ingrid will turn the department around if elected

Reality Check
Reality Check
8 years ago

Misty, you are right. They don’t care about any citizen’s opinion! That is the problem

As far as your “what ifs”……Well there are many answers to that, most of them not printable!

Carlos The Jackal
Carlos The Jackal
8 years ago

Cops have gone from needing “probable cause” to even initiate contact to “pulling suspicion out of their collective asses.” Half of you idiots here don’t seem to even KNOW we have a 4th amendment in the Constitution, let alone know what it says. I grew up in CA, left 15… Read more »

Carlos The Jackal
Carlos The Jackal
8 years ago

Ken Warner – bad laws SHOULD be broken.
Or are you just another liberal man in sheep’s clothing?

bossmanham
bossmanham
8 years ago

How the hell is having a loaded firearm a crime in these United States?

Must be one of the slave states that has nullified the constitution.

misty owens
misty owens
8 years ago

Wow..everyone sure thinks they know everything! None of you were there, therefore just let this play out in court and stop acting like you know the thoughts of the deputies and the “motorist” I bet if the deputies would not have removed his weapons and let him go about his… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  misty owens

Exactly. All these instant experts who read an article where a lawyer for the guy who broke the law creates a fantasy world for the courts.

Nothing like sound evidence and analysis —-

getreal
getreal
8 years ago

I dont know why this is news? Complaints against Officers are common occurances. Lets not forget that the readers are only geting one side (the “victim”) and please also remember that Law Enforcement too, are “innocent unitl proven guilty”.

Carter
Carter
8 years ago

Legal Eagle, thank you for the response. I’m just wondering how probable cause was established prior to an officer making any contact with the driver. As I sat on the curb watching the checkpoint I watched an officer approach the car and another officer immediately begin walking walking the dog… Read more »

Casper Tidwell
Casper Tidwell
8 years ago
Reply to  Carter

Walking the dog around the car is within the law.

Having to wait at a traffic stop until the K9 arrives is not within the law unless the LEO has reasonable suspicion.

I will deal with that as someone else said by staying out of Mono County.

Carter
Carter
8 years ago

I believe I understand what you are saying about probable cause. I was just concerned that while I sat on the curb watching the checkpoint, I watched cars approach the checkpoint, get approached by an officer and then another officer would walk the dog around the vehicle. During this time… Read more »

Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
8 years ago

Carter, yes it is legally OK to have a drug dog at a DUI check point. You have no expectation of privacy regarding odors coming out of your vehicle. An alert on the exterior of your vehicle by a trained and certified drug dog, is probable cause to search your… Read more »

BDGP
BDGP
8 years ago
Reply to  Legal Eagle

It goes to show another poor example of our local and State LE. Checking ID’s is fine, perfectly legal, no argument. If the CHP officer observed an odor, by all means call for a drug dog or just do a search based on the PC. Running the dog up and… Read more »

Carter
Carter
8 years ago

In regards to being searched and amendment rights. Was it alright for CHP and the Sheriff department to have a drug dog at a DUI check point?

Mark
Mark
8 years ago
Reply to  Carter

That was infact legal.

The CHP demanding ID of the good folks looking at the gylphs was not.

They should have said no

BDGP
BDGP
8 years ago

I have been waiting for this and fully expect the ACLU to come in here sooner rather than later. Right or wrong, how the search and the subsequent arrest was made is the issue. One of these days they are going to mess with the wrong person and they will… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago

If I was dumb enough to carry a loaded weapon in my vehicle I would expect to be arrested when pulled over.

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

Police State!

Charles O. Jones – Would you also expect to have your vehicle searched without cause?

To hell with Mono County

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

The dude was breaking the law by traveling with loaded weapons. He admitted to the officers that he had a weapon under his seat – so yes, under those circumstances I would expect to have my vehicle searched. And “without cause” is what his attorney is claiming. That claim has… Read more »

BDGP
BDGP
8 years ago

I’ve been asked over the years if I have any firearms and/or if they were loaded. I’ve yet to be removed from the vehicle and have them checked or my vehicle searched. The question should arise from officer safety. The firearm(s) were not in reach, (at least as described) and… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago
Reply to  BDGP

With all due respect, being from “around here” has nothing to do with the law. If you or anyone else is illegally carrying loaded firearms in your vehicle, you deserve to be held accountable for it under the law.

BDGP
BDGP
8 years ago
Reply to  BDGP

Charles, you may not have stopped folks for that reason, but that doesn’t mean that’s not what’s happening. There have been at least 4 separate reports to me by motorist that have been stopped for not being recognized, they were not the right color, or their vehicle looking sub par.… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago
Reply to  BDGP

@BDGP “Charles, you may not have stopped folks for that reason, but that doesn’t mean that’s not what’s happening.” I’m not sure what you mean with this comment. I don’t work in law enforcement and I don’t stop folks. I have been stopped a few times one the years by… Read more »

BDGP
BDGP
8 years ago

Why? Do you expect that anytime you get pulled over that your 4th ammendment right will be violated? Granted, he wasn’t supposed to have a loaded firearm (PC12031), no arguement there. He declared his rifle. It could have been checked, and returned and away everyone goes The deputies went out… Read more »

Pedro
Pedro
8 years ago

Arrested, agreed. Evidence tampering I shouldn’t have to expect.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago

Funny how the people that LIVE in the Bridgeport area support the LE up there,and how they do their job keeping the area safe for the residents and visitors to the area….and it’s the Southern Mono County (Mammoth ?) that does all the complaining how things are being done…if the… Read more »

Big Rick OBrien
Big Rick OBrien
8 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Wayne, I don’t know where you get your info., but having a round in the chamber does NOT equate to a felony.(not in Kalifornia) You can legally have a handgun in a locked container in your vehicle OTHER than the glove box or center console AND have a magazine in… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
8 years ago

I actually believe this guys story. Twice in the past 3 years I have had local police zoom up on me and tail gate me for Zero reason. I have know idea why, but I had done nothing to provoke such actions. They never pulled me over , but I… Read more »

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Yep, they know Trouble when they see it.

mono county local
mono county local
8 years ago

travertine – there has been a guy hiding in the bushes with binoculars along with the occasional LEO stopping in – the place is over and done thanks to the freaks and the perverts

Shaun
Shaun
8 years ago

I support the deputies, department, and the sheriff. They are doing their job enforcing state law and he was in the wrong by having a loaded gun. Good job deps, keep the stories comming in about these good arrests in my town!

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
8 years ago
Reply to  Shaun

Atta boy Shaun, now that’s how you bow your head in obedience. I don’t mean to shatter your glorified perception of the criminal justice system, but this is my opinion.. and if you can, try and shake off the shackles of common perception and hear what I am saying.. I… Read more »

Only one?
Only one?
8 years ago
Reply to  Shaun

You also work for them Shaun! Or should I say Shaun M. You better support them or you’ ll be fired! Bet your enjoying that promotion too! AB 109 money gave you that! Talk about misuse of funds!

Reality Check
Reality Check
8 years ago
Reply to  Shaun

Shaun, I am sure that you would have marched right into the showers like a good little sheeple in 1939.

Dave Markley
Dave Markley
8 years ago

This gentleman didn’t know the speed limit? And he apparently didn’t know that transporting loaded firearms is illegal.

Responsible firearm ownership in California requires an understanding of the often changing California Penal Code. There are numerous resources available:

http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/travel

http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/Transporting

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=25001-26000&file=25850

Welcome to Mono County
Welcome to Mono County
8 years ago

The claims of Mr. Boulaalam ring true. The Sheriff Department’s motto should read: “Welcome to Mono County. Please step out of your car.” We are locals who go to Travertine. We have been there (in bathing suits) on more than one occasion when a Sheriff’s SUV drove through and shone… Read more »

sugar magnolia
sugar magnolia
8 years ago

Did they think she had a concealed weapon?! lol….

but seriously, it’s not illegal to soak naked is it?

Pedro
Pedro
8 years ago
Reply to  sugar magnolia

Probably wanted dashcam photo to share with coworkers. If someone did that to his daughter, he’d rightfully beat the crap out of them.

Tinner
Tinner
8 years ago

I am only guessing but from what I’ve seen on reality television shows about police on patrol (shows like COPS) but 99% of the individuals that the cops question who say “I was scared” usually seem pretty dang shady if not obviously guilty as hell. It sounds like Boulaalam is… Read more »

John
John
8 years ago

Sounds like the guy was carrying a loaded gun. It also sounds like the guy was pulled over for speeding then told the officers he had a loaded gun in the car. Then the DA filed the case thinking there’s enough proof to win. OK so where is the misconduct.… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  John

I did reach out. The Sheriff chose not to comment. Neither did the DA.
BK

Big Rick OBrien
Big Rick OBrien
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Did you really think that he WOULD comment ? That way, if it’s proven that the deputies WERE in the wrong, he doesn’t end up with egg on his face.

Pedro
Pedro
8 years ago
Reply to  John

John,
Uh…, the alleged misconduct would be the staging or mishandling of evidence. “Remember these words. If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

Mark
Mark
8 years ago
Reply to  John

The key is don’t give then any reason t search your vehicle. Hand them your dirvers lic. Registration, and proof of insurance. Then exercise your 5th amendment rights. If they ask to search your car exercise your 4th ammendment rights and say no. of course if you’re alone and don’t… Read more »

rich
rich
8 years ago
Reply to  John

loaded guns are not illegal. and he was not pulled over for speeding. he was pulled over cause the cop wanted to check his sobriety. once that was done, he continued to harass the man until he found something to charge him over. there is no plausible way a person… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago
Reply to  rich

rich….Your saying and telling people having a loaded weapon in a vehicle is not against the law ?….only if you have a CCW…..if you don’t think so,tell you what…..load your pistol or rifle….set it on your front seat of your car or truck…and then do something stupid and get pulled… Read more »

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
8 years ago

Can you say “police state”? This is what happens when one’s fear overrules one’s liberty.. It’s a sad fact when teachers are given a tax write off for having to cover the essentials in a class room, and at the same time we have over 2,000 people CURRENTLY serving a… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago
Reply to  JeremiahJoseph

Or maybe you are just on a major highway with a lot of drunk drivers and speeders. Just saying.

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
8 years ago

Or maybe they just need new equipment next year so they are taking more off the backs of the tax payer… Or maybe the idea of protection or security is ever pervasive, Prisons, Police, Insurance, Warranties, Protection agencies, Military and domestic armament, airport groping, government surveillance and alike is proof… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago
Reply to  JeremiahJoseph

Routine traffic stops conflated into a police state. What nonsense. You know nothing. China is a police state. You cannot access sites like this from the internet in China, and you can be tossed in jail for saying things against Chinese officials like we talk about the Sheriff or County… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago

Your comment is a tad self-righteous and name-calling does not mean you are right. Please refrain. The good thing about our country is we can have a civil debate about what violates our rights. You suggest that is a bad thing to do. Couldn’t disagree more. China is hardly the… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago

Benett — I don’t read DT’s comment as self righteous at all. And I think his characterization of Right Wing Extremists as dead center. And I don’t see what many people are complaining about. The guy broke the law. He wasn’t tortured to gain a confession. He was asked and… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion.
BK

Pedro
Pedro
8 years ago

DT, seems JJ would be stereotyped left wing by most. Maybe he’s individual gas bag with own opinion like me and you. You sure like to complain when your rights are trampled, but call others confused.

Observer
Observer
8 years ago

I think that Ken Warner and Desert Tortoise are the same guy.

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
8 years ago

I know nothing? Ouch DT, Why resort to juvenile attacks? Prove to me my stats and ideas are out of touch, or prove your case! other then that I am just wasting my time replying to some troll, it seems.. Ken, I don’t see DT’s comment worth anybody’s time. You… Read more »

Seriously?
Seriously?
8 years ago
Reply to  JeremiahJoseph

Little JJ…..I so agree with you….(a first in all your posts) we shouldn’t spend more on the criminals of this state than our education system. So if what you say is true, lets provide our criminals with tents, fences, crappy (hand-me-downs from the military) cots, and make them farm to… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago
Reply to  JeremiahJoseph

Jeremiah…I ,too,drove from Lone Pine to Bishop and back this week….twice….and saw about 4 drivers pulled over by LE…..thing is,I saw about 75 that SHOULD have been pulled over for either speeding or doing some other stupid thing putting others on the highway at risk.

Local
Local
8 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Key word… SPEEDING!! That’s what cops should be looking for….

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

Everyone here that reads the Sierra wave expected this sooner or later.

Youssef Boulaalam you have my support.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Break a law — hire a lawyer and play the victim.

Reality Check
Reality Check
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken, do you think the Deputies would arrest a local rancher who carries a loaded gun to deal with coyotes attacking his flock or herd? Is everything black and white to you Ken? This is about enforcing Spirit of the Law vs Letter of the Law. They could have checked… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Reality Check

Unlike you, who appear to be an expert on law enforcement, I won’t try to speak for the Sheriff’s Dept.

You do that quite well. You should run for office. We could use your wise and just viewpoint.

Reality Check
Reality Check
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Thank you Ken! I do know a lot about law enforcement. I have watched every police show that has ever been on TV since I was a kid. I learned to most from Dragnet, Barney Miller and Hill Street Blues. I must say that I really appreciate your posts on… Read more »

Big Rick OBrien
Big Rick OBrien
8 years ago
Reply to  Reality Check

The “us vs. them” mentality is alive and well in Mono County. The sad thing is that the Sheriff, on his VERY OWN website, states that everyone will be equally treated with dignity and respect…AND, take into account the “spirit” of the law. I don’t care WHO you are… NOBODY… Read more »

Reality Check
Reality Check
8 years ago

Big Rick, you are very wise and totally in tune to what is really going on. Hopefully it can change in the future with a new sheriff.

sugar magnolia
sugar magnolia
8 years ago

True, but in reality they don’t need a reason to pull you over, they make one up. They are profiling people and pulling them over when they expect to find something. That, people, is illegal and wrong. I still think we’ll see a lawsuit stemming from the ‘saturation’ they ran… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago
Reply to  Reality Check

Reality Check…You stated “Mono County is not South Central Los Angeles”….true,but when LE is dealing with loaded weapons in a vehicle,still a dangerous and unlawful thing to be doing….now I’ll go back to my “google” search and try to find the last time they had a man(allegedly) swinging a hand-axe… Read more »

Reality Check
Reality Check
8 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Wayne they use AK-47s in South Central not axes. There is no firewood down there.

rich
rich
8 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

you said it is dangerous and unlawful to have a loaded firearm. that is false. we have a natural right to bear arms. no statutory regulation can trump the constitution. any law stating other wise is illegal and void. period.

Pedro
Pedro
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Doubt an established local attorney would make frivolous claims if he planned to stay in Mono County. Seems he thinks officers may have committed felony in order to make misdemeanor arrest stick. Election time going to be interesting. CA PC 141. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), any person… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago
Reply to  Pedro

Johnnie Cochran was established local attorney in the LA area.

I’ll gladly wait for the courts opinion on the matter rather than relying on the opinion of an arrestee’s attorney.

Pedro
Pedro
8 years ago

Cochran could have been disbarred and still made big money as consultant in LA. Can’t see that happening here. Don’t hold your breath for a trial, probably a plea deal that protects everyone and leaves us all still speculating.

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

Just remember a decission by the court has nothing to do with the truth.

REALAMERICANPATRIOT
REALAMERICANPATRIOT
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Hope you never end up on jury duty. You can not pull someone over and go “fishing” for a law that was broken.

rich
rich
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

first of all. its not illegal to carry a gun. ever heard of the 2nd amendment? 2nd, any law stating otherwise is illegal. again-refer to the 2nd amendment, especially the part about “shall not be infringed”. 3rd. the police have become a violent gang that uses arrests and ticketing to… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  rich

You should join a militia in Montana and secede from the U.S.

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago
Reply to  rich

rich, There are limits to how and where we can legally carry a firearm, the SCOTUS has ruled on this and it IS the law of the land – even though you may disagree. Our right to bear arms, like our right to free speech in not absolute. And equating… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark….your right on that one….what suprises me is it wasn’t someone that was (allegedly) speeding,driving without a license,DUI,no insurance,no registration on vehicle,in possession of pills,coke,meth,needles,pot,drug paraphanalia along with having a loaded pistol in the vehicle that is the one that is crying foul and hiring a “defense lawyer” and saying… Read more »