Opinion » Shredder




Up is down, good is bad, right is wrong, real is fake—welcome to George Orwell's 1984, when "truth" is subjective.

Was SLO Police Chief Deanna Cantrell truly "transparent" about the loss of her loaded Glock 42 pistol, which she left in an El Pollo Loco restroom on July 10, and which she claimed to have immediately reported lost? Or was she instead scrambling frantically behind the scenes to locate the weapon before having to disclose what can best be described as a boneheaded mistake that endangered public safety, and for which she ultimately received a slap on the wrist?

And what about the poor sap Cheyne Eric Orndoff, 33, of O'Conner Way in SLO, whose own Orwellian nightmare started when his home was raided by the SLOPD due to a bad tip from Morro Bay PD that claimed he resembled the man on video footage entering the El Pollo Loco restroom after Cantrell exited? Police arrived at his home on July 10 in search of Cantrell's weapon and I guess assumed Orndoff's facial hair must grow at lightning speed since Orndoff had a full mustache and beard mere hours after the video was recorded of the clean-shaven man in El Pollo Loco, who turned out to be Skeeter Carlos Mangan of Los Osos.

Hey Johnny Law, did you tug on Orndoff's beard to check if it was fake?

Orndoff's nightmare was compounded by his erroneous inclusion on a database of probationers. Turns out his brother used Orndoff's name as an alias when he was arrested for drugs in 2017. Orndoff has apparently tried repeatedly to have the error corrected since it was affecting his ability to get employment, but to no avail.

Gee, thanks, bro? I guess Thanksgiving is off this year, eh?

Even though Orndoff clearly wasn't the man on videotape, and even though he reportedly offered to provide court documents proving he wasn't on probation (his brother was), the police still searched his home without a warrant because of the database mistake and based on what they claimed were dangerous conditions viewed through the home's open front door.

They took Orndoff's two daughters, 7 and 9 years old, into Child Protective Services, and he and his wife, Vanessa Marie Bedroni, 31, were arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment. Police also took the family dog, Princess, 5, to the pound. Don't tell John Wick! God knows what would happen.

In a hearing on Aug. 6, prosecutors claimed that police discovered needles and meth in the couple's bedroom. Wow, police could see that through the open front door? Why did they really go in? Even though he didn't look like the suspect in the video, did they really believe he had Cantrell's gun? Were they just being dicks all pumped up to search the wrong man's home? Was this a way to cover their mistake? Were they making child endangerment lemonade out of wrong-suspect lemons?

Orndoff has since said the needles are for prescribed medication, and he and his wife have pleaded not guilty to all charges. The police say, "Nope, nope, nope! It's meth alright! We saved these kids! We're heroes!"

CalCoastNews, the local blog site that lost a 2017 libel suit and was ordered to pay $1.1 million in damages, has reported all sorts of discrepancies in both Cantrell's claimed timeline as well as the official account of events surrounding the lost gun. They point out that the police log was changed, to which the city responded that changing the log is acceptable because it's a "living document." Doublethink if I ever heard it! Look, I don't trust CalCoastNews farther than I can throw Donald Trump, but something smells rotten in the town of SLO.

Cantrell spoke to The Tribune, and SLO City Attorney Christine Dietrick spoke to The Trib and New Times to refute CalCoastNews' claims. Frankly, I don't know who to believe. Everyone seems to be covering their own behinds.

I've heard too many stories of Child Protective Services overstepping their bounds, of police cover-ups, and of distortions of the truth and misinformation coming from "official" sources to not be highly skeptical of everything to do with this case.

All I know for sure is that two scared girls, ages 7 and 9, are without their parents, whose home was searched without a legal warrant. If Orndoff's name had been taken off the database a year ago as he requested, the police would have had no reasonable excuse to search the home without a warrant. Orndoff and Bedroni have to wait until an Aug. 15 hearing to see if they'll be reunited in time for one of their girls' upcoming birthdays.

As for one of the officers in charge of searching Orndoff's home, Detective Jason Dickel—who Orndoff claims wasn't interested in looking at the documents proving he was wrongly in the database, hence not on probation, hence not subject to search—he was promoted to sergeant two weeks later by Cantrell.

Job well done, J-Dick! Oops! I mean, Sgt. J-Dick.

This whole thing stinks.

As Orwell wrote, "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." Thanks to everyone involved in this story and their various versions of the "truth," the public must be feeling very strong indeed! Δ

The Shredder can't be trusted ... or can she? He? It? Send ideas and comments to [email protected].


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