Last week, we reported that SLO Police Department lead investigator Sgt. Chad Pfarr made ... let's say "insensitive" remarks about college students who report rape charges. In essence, he blamed the victims, saying they're just inexperienced drinkers who blacked out, woke up, and felt like they got sexually assaulted, when it "was just something they conjured up."
Wow. You're the guy who a frightened victim has to come to for justice? You do know how hard it is to report sexual assault, right? You know how under reported it is because it's so difficult, right? Tell me, Chad—can I call you Chad?—do you also ask them what they were wearing or if they, you know, "were asking for it?"
Pfarr went on to explain that "more times than not" it was a beer choice issue. Seriously! He said students might drink 10 Bud Lights one weekend and are fine, but the next weekend they have 10 Firestones "that are 8 percent ABV," black out, and assume they've been "roofied and sexually assaulted."
Come here, Chad, let me scream a little secret into your ear: When a woman feels like she's been sexually assaulted, it's not something that her brain tells her. It's something her body tells her. It's the kind of thing that a body is incapable of conjuring up if it hasn't actually been touched inappropriately.
Hmm. I'm no expert, but maybe Pfarr isn't the best choice for investigating sexual assaults.
I might have just left this whole thing alone until our own investigation into Pfarr's interactions with victims had progressed—not that our Public Records Act requests are going to be honored, these being sexual assault interviews and all—but The Tribune picked up the story, and once again, SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow had to stick his foot in it.
"He cares very deeply about proving those cases," Dow said of Pfarr to The Trib. "He would not intentionally make a statement that would appear to not support victims of sexual assault."
It's interesting that Dow already knows what happened before the SLOPD could investigate, amirite? SLOPD Capt. Chris Staley said his department would review the recorded phone call between New Times and Pfarr. Wouldn't it be more prudent to wait to hear the recording before advocating for Pfarr? Dow is the same guy who jumped on Facebook to excoriate The Trib for reporting that his good buddy Sheriff Ian Parkinson's jail was under an FBI investigation for inmate deaths.
I don't know about your Facebook page, but mine is lit up with "Me too" postings from women who have been the victim of rape, sexual assault, or sexual harassment. The scope of the problem is vast, disturbing, and wholly unacceptable. Between Donald "Pussy-Grabber-In-Chief" Trump and Harvey "Casting Couch King" Weinstein, a light is once again being shone on the darker edges of patriarchal culture, and it ain't pretty.
Let's hope the SLOPD is going to be part of the solution and not the problem. And Dow, you should just shut up until you know the facts. Instead of leaping to protect law enforcement, get it through your head that they're subject to the same laws and scrutiny as the general public.
In other law-related news, you know who's shaping up to be a big problem in the rollout to marijuana legalization? Here's a hint: His name rhymes with "glass bong." Yeah, I'm talking about 1st District SLO County Supervisor John Peschong, who at the Oct. 17 supes meeting corralled his two conservative colleagues—4th District Supe Lynn Compton and 5th District Supe Debbie Arnold—and pulled the old switcheroo on pending county marijuana policy.
Hey, California voters, remember how you voted yes on Proposition 64 to legalize recreational marijuana? It was democracy in action! The will of the people! Go, America! Yeah, well, as far as our three conservative supervisors are concerned, you didn't know what the hell you were doing, but never fear, they'll save you from yourself.
The Peschong-Compton-Arnold triumvirate voted via straw poll to ban medical and recreational dispensaries and prohibit the manufacture of edibles in unincorporated areas, meaning all the areas they have sway over. What the hell? Why? What about our vote?
Well, apparently Peschong took a trip to Colorado where he learned of a child who ate some edibles and went to the hospital. Hey everybody, please don't tell John how many children go to the hospital each year after accidently consuming their parents' prescription drugs. If he finds out it's 34,000 kids, he'll freakin' flip out! He'll ban your blood pressure meds!
The good news is the Board of Supes will be listening to public comment on Oct. 20, sometime after they reconvene at 9 a.m. Hopefully when Peschong and company are faced with medical cannabis patients, growers, businesspeople, and recreational users, he'll join his more marijuana-friendly colleagues—2nd District Supe Bruce Gibson and 3rd District Supe Adam Hill—who believe SLO County should work with state law and reap the financial benefits, protect users, and prioritize public safety.
As Gibson said, "To lessen the negative impacts of cannabis, you make it legal and you regulate it. If you try to ban it, because this is high value, you drive it into the black market."
We tried prohibition. Now let's try following the will of voters.
The Shredder respects women and smokes ganja. Send ideas and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.