No criminal charges will be filed against two women arrested at a fundraiser for Democratic congressional candidate Francine Busby, nor will charges be brought against the deputy who took them into custody, it was announced today.
Shari Lynn Barman and Pamela Ann Morgan were arrested the night of June 26 after deputies responded to a 911 call by someone who complained of a "loud Democratic rally with loudspeakers" at Barman's residence in Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
A helicopter, six patrol cars and a police dog were sent to the upscale neighborhood when the situation escalated after the arrival of sheriff's deputies, who used pepper spray on some guests, authorities said.
Barman later accused Deputy Marshall Abbott of exhibiting "unprofessional behavior" that led to the "shocking" incident, while the two-year department veteran said he arrested Barman for hitting him when he arrived at her home.
Barman, who is well-known in tennis circles and is the partner of Acura Classic co-founder Jane Stratton, denied hitting Abbott.
San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis ordered an independent review and concluded that no criminal charges are warranted against any of the three individuals involved.
"It is hard to imagine respected, responsible adults, or a decorated Marine with five years of service and an unblemished record of service in the Sheriff's Department, ending up in such a situation," Dumanis said in a statement. "Cooler heads could have intervened to defuse, not escalate the situation."
Some of the 50 people who attended the fundraiser said it wasn't loud, and the only amplified sound was Busby's speech, which ended about 45 minutes before deputies arrived.
A woman who attended the event said the reaction by deputies was "heavy-handed," and some gay rights advocates suggested authorities overreacted because the fundraiser was at the home of a lesbian couple.
Busby is trying for a third time to unseat Brian Bilbray, R-Carlsbad.
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