Resignation Letter from US Foreign Service Officer Matthew P. Hoh

US Foreign Service Officer Matthew P. Hoh,
Senior Civilian Representative, Afghanistan

September 10, 2009

Ambassador Nancy J. Powell
Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Ambassador Powell,

It is with great regret and disappointment I submit my resignation from my appointment as a Political Officer in the Foreign Service and my post as the Senior Civilian Representative for the US Government in Zabul Province. I have served six of the previous ten years in service to our country overseas, to include deployment as a US Marine office and Department of Defense civilian in the Euphrates and Tigris River Valleys of Iraq in 2004-2005 and 2006-2007. I did not enter into this position lightly or with any undue expectations nor did I believe my assignment would be without sacrifice, hardship or difficulty. However, in the course of my five months of service in Afghanistan, in both Regional Commands East and South, I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan. I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end. To put simply: I fail to see the value or the worth in continued US casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war.

This fall will mark the eighth year of US combat, governance and development operations within Afghanistan. Next fall, the United States’ occupation will equal in length the Soviet Union’s own physical involvement in Afghanistan. Like the Soviets, we continue to secure and bolster a failing state, while encouraging an ideology and system of government unknown and unwanted by its people.

If the history of Afghanistan is one great stage play, the United States is no more than a supporting actor, among several previously, in a tragedy that not only pits tribes, valleys, clans, villages and families against one another, but, from at least the end of King Zahir Shah’s reign, has violently and savagely pitted the urban, secular, educated and modern of Afghanistan against the rural, religious, illiterate and traditional. It is this latter group that composes and supports the Pashtun insurgency. The Pashtun insurgency, which is composed of multiple, seemingly infinite, local groups, is fed by what is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies. The US and NATO presence and operations in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non- Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified. In both RC East and South, I have observed that the bulk of the insurgency fights not for the white banner of the Taliban, but rather against the presence of foreign soldiers and taxes imposed by an unrepresentative government in Kabul.

The United States military presence in Afghanistan greatly contributes to the legitimacy and strategic message of the Pashtun insurgency. In a like manner our backing of the Afghan government in its current form continues to distance the government from the people. The Afghan government’s failings, particularly when weighed against the sacrifice of American lives and dollars, appear legion and metastatic:

* Glaring corruption and unabashed graft;
* A President whose confidants and chief advisors comprise drug lords and war crimes villains, who mock our own rule of law and counternarcotics efforts;
* A system of provincial and district leaders constituted of local power brokers, opportunists and strongmen allied to the United States solely for, and limited by, the value of our USAID and CERP contracts and for whose own political and economic interests stand nothing to gain from any positive or genuine attempts at reconciliation; and
* The recent election process dominated by fraud and discredited by low voter turnout, which has created an enormous victory for our enemy who now claims a popular boycott and will call into question worldwide our government’s military, economic and diplomatic support for an invalid and illegitimate Afghan government.

Our support for this kind of government, coupled with a misunderstanding of the insurgency’s true nature, reminds me horribly of our involvement with South Vietnam; an unpopular and corrupt government we backed at the expense of our Nation’s own internal peace, against an insurgency whose nationalism we arrogantly and ignorantly mistook as a rival to our own Cold War ideology.

I find specious the reasons we ask for bloodshed and sacrifice from our young men and women in Afghanistan. If honest, our stated strategy of securing Afghanistan to prevent al-Qaeda resurgence or regrouping would require us to additionally invade and occupy western Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, etc. Our presence in Afghanistan has only increased destabilization and insurgency in Pakistan where we rightly fear a toppled or weakened Pakistani government may lose control of its nuclear weapons. However, again, to follow the logic of our stated goals we should garrison Pakistan, not Afghanistan. More so, the September 11th attacks, as well as the Madrid and London bombings, were primarily planned and organized in Western Europe; a point that highlights the threat is not one tied to traditional geographic or political boundaries. Finally, if our concern is for a failed state crippled by corruption and poverty and under assault from criminal and drug lords, then if we bear our military and financial contributions to Afghanistan, we must reevaluate and increase our commitment to and involvement in Mexico.

Eight years into war, no nation has ever known a more dedicated, well trained, experienced and disciplined military as the US Armed Forces. I do not believe any military force has ever been tasked with such a complex, opaque and Sisyphean mission as the US military has received in Afghanistan. The tactical proficiency and performance of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines is unmatched and unquestioned. However, this is not the European or Pacific theaters of World War II, but rather is a war for which our leaders, uniformed, civilian and elected, have inadequately prepared and resourced our men and women. Our forces, devoted and faithful, have been committed to conflict in an indefinite and unplanned manner that has become a cavalier, politically expedient and Pollyannaish misadventure. Similarly, the United States has a dedicated and talented cadre of civilians, both US government employees and contractors, who believe in and sacrifice for their mission, but they have been ineffectually trained and led with guidance and intent shaped more by the political climate in Washington, DC than in Afghan cities, villages, mountains and valleys.

“We are spending ourselves into oblivion” a very talented and intelligent commander, one of America’s best, briefs every visitor, staff delegation and senior officer. We are mortgaging our Nation’s economy on a war, which, even with increased commitment, will remain a draw for years to come. Success and victory, whatever they may be, will be realized not in years, after billions more spent, but in decades and generations. The United States does not enjoy a national treasury for such success and victory.

I realize the emotion and tone of my letter and ask that you excuse any ill temper. I trust you understand the nature of this war and the sacrifices made by so many thousands of families who have been separated from loved ones deployed in defense of our Nation and whose homes bear the fractures, upheavals and scars of multiple and compounded deployments. Thousands of our men and women have returned home with physical and mental wounds, some that will never heal or will only worsen with time. The dead return only in bodily form to be received by families who must be reassured their dead have sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost, loved vanished, and promised dreams unkept. I have lost confidence such assurances can anymore be made. As such, I submit my resignation.

Sincerely,

Matthew P. Hoh
Senior Civilian Representative
Zabul Province, Afghanistan

Cc: Mr. Frank Ruggiero
Ms. Dawn Liberi
Ambassador Anthony Wayne
Ambassador Karl Eikenberry

War protestors civil rights case settled

July 20, 2006
Sacramento, CA

I am pleased to report that my three year old federal civil rights action against the County of Sacramento was resolved on July 20th, 2006.

The Stipulation of Dismissal and Order includes language to insure that Members of the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff are fully informed about this case and advised regarding “the detention of war protesters and California Welfare and Institutions Code § 5150, and the citizen complaint process/civilian oversight of the Sheriff’s Department”

Though I did not get all that I wanted, I did accomplish the majority of my goal, which was to bring awareness to the issue and a review of policies. I did my civic duty to push back when my civil rights were abused and threatened. I finish feeling good about myself, and happy it is settled.

Tim

Full text:

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

TIM CASTLEMAN,

Plaintiff,

v.

COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO,

Defendant.
/
CASE NO. 2:03-CV-02319 WBS PAN(GGH)

STIPULATION OF DISMISSAL AND ORDER

[FRCP 41(a)(1) and (2)]

Complaint Filed: 11/06/03

All parties respectfully submit the following Stipulation of Dismissal and Order as follows:
1.Defendant COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO has agreed to withdraw its pending Motion for Summary Judgment which is scheduled on July 20, 2006. Plaintiff TIM CASTLEMAN has agreed to withdraw his pending motions also scheduled to be heard on July 20, 2006.
2.Although the COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO does not believe it has any liability in this case, in order for plaintiff TIM CASTLEMAN to agree to dismiss the case, George Hills Company, claims administrators handling this case on behalf of the COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO, has agreed to privately advise the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department regarding this case and plaintiff TIM CASTLEMAN’s concerns about the detention of war protesters and California Welfare and Institutions Code § 5150, and the citizen complaint process/civilian oversight of the Sheriff’s Department.
3.As a result, it is hereby stipulated by and between plaintiff TIM CASTLEMAN and defendant COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO, all the parties to this action, through their designated counsel that the above-captioned action be and hereby is dismissed with prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1) and (2). Each side to bear their own attorneys’ fees and costs.
IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED.

My PROPOSED letter from the County to settle & dismiss, June 2006

On June 27th I met with the County’s Attorney & Adjuster and offered to settle and dismiss if we could get the following letter signed by the Board of Supervisors. They declined but will get back to me with a counter offer. The next court date is July 20, 2006.

Whereas investigation of the incident that occurred on April 26th, 2003 between Tim Castleman and the County of Sacramento has determined that
a) Mr. Castleman should not have been arrested and
b) County Mental Health Crisis Center employees should have released Mr. Castleman within the initial 4 hour evaluation period and
c) The response to written complaints to various County Officials was inadequate.

Therefore this letter is produced and approved by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to acknowledge the foregoing points and to thank Mr. Castleman for helping identify training and policy shortcomings that are now being addressed, in part, as follows:
a) A civilian oversight committee is tasked with review of complaints regarding the Sheriff’s office.
b) A policy review regarding use of the 5150 statute to arrest war protesters.
c) A policy review of the alleged collusion between mental health staff & sheriff officers to hold all for 24 hours to exonerate deputies.
d) Citizen complaint response will be improved.

Further, The County of Sacramento apologizes for the emotional trauma, financial burden, and inconvenience to Mr. Castleman with this letter and an undisclosed monetary compensation to him, and promises its officers & employees will not harass or disturb Mr. Castleman in the future.

Signed: Date:

District 1, Roger Dickinson

District 2, Illa Collin

District 3, Susan Peters

District 4, Roberta MacGlashan – Chair

District 5, Don Nottoli – Vice Chair

Detained and taken into custody

On Saturday, April 26th, 2003, I was standing on the NW corner of Marconi & Fulton in Sacramento, CA, protesting the war on Iraq. Across the street from me was a separate group holding banners and signs protesting the war on Iraq. Within 30 minutes I was handcuffed and taken away by officers from the Sacramento County Sheriff.

I was taken into custody and held overnight at the Sacramento County Mental Health Treatment Center and I was told my bicycle had been taken to a property warehouse in Rancho Cordova. I was released about 10 AM on Sunday, April 27th after evaluation by an RN, a Mental Health Counselor & an MD who all concluded I was not a danger to myself. The officers that detained me said they were doing so because I had been “observed going into traffic and yelling at passing vehicles.” and that I was “Dangerous to myself”.

I freely admitted I was vigorously protesting as loudly as I could, and will gladly testify in a court of law that I was making statements regarding this cultures addiction to petroleum, the illegal war in Iraq, asking how many more had to die and so forth, but I steadfastly deny that I ever stepped off the sidewalk or onto the roadway at any time, much less “into traffic” – to the contrary, as the officers were detaining me, I asked why they would do nothing about the car that illegally entered the crosswalk, blocking a bicycle rider’s right of way. I was also accused of altering the sign in front of the EXXON station which I denied to the owner when he asked me, to the officers when they asked me and to all of the staff workers that interviewed me at the Mental Health Center.

I asked the officers to visit with the protestors that were across Fulton Ave, on the NE corner of the intersection to obtain their statements or at least names & contact information but they (the officers) refused. Instead, another car was called and they loaded my bicycle into the trunk of their car and left. We drove to another area of the parking lot and parked for a while. Officer Oanai checked the validity of a registration for an employee of the tire store we were parked in front of. A few minutes later a third Sheriff car arrived and I was again searched and transferred to their car.

It was shortly after noon when this different pair of Sheriff officers delivered me to the Sacramento County Mental Health Treatment Center under the “5150” law. My vital signs were taken and I was searched again and relieved of my shoes, belt, wallet and keys. I was given a Patients’ Rights handbook, which I sat down to read but did not finish before I was called by the RN to give my health history. When my interview was completed by the RN it was no later than 2 PM. I then finished studying the Patients’ Rights Handbook and began taking notes in the back of it.

I understood that I would need to be seen by two more people to regain my freedom, one being a Mental Health Counselor and the final one being the Doctor. At 5:20 PM I asked “Morad” if I would have to spend the night. I explained that my Mom would be concerned no matter what, but if there were a chance I could be released that evening I would refrain from calling her. He then consulted with staff member “Yolanda” and I observed her shake her head from side to side with a small smile, after which Morad turned to me and said it was unlikely that I would be seen, but he did not know for sure. At 5:30 I confirmed some admission notes with him and Yolanda was there listening. Morad suggested I go ahead and call my Mom to let her know I would be there overnight.

At about 6 PM staff member “Teresa” came to the waiting area and sat down next to me for a conversation that lasted about 20 minutes. We debated my position against the war and she repeatedly assured me that if I protested as I had earlier in the day I would be brought back to the facility. We also discussed the statements by the officers that I had been “observed going into traffic” and their claim that I had altered a sign on the EXXON station. I steadfastly deny these allegations. Teresa then disappeared into the back rooms of the administrative area for about a half hour. I presumed she was discussing my case with either Morad or the Doctor.

At 7:50 PM I again asked Morad if I would be able to see the Doctor before she went off duty and he said it was unlikely. He explained that there were other people ahead of me and I would have to wait for them to be interviewed first. I saw the Doctor coming and going and asked her to please consider that my Mom would be concerned and could she stay a few minutes late to expedite my release. I made all of these requests in a calm, respectful voice, explaining my concern was not for me, but for my Moms sake.

Around 8 PM I heard the Doctor come out and say goodbye to the staff which compelled me to ask again if I could be seen before she left and I was told by Yolanda & Teresa that I probably would be.

Morad returned to the desk at 8:30 and I again asked if I would be interviewed and seen by the Doctor and he replied that she had left for the day and would not return. I then called my Mom and let her know what was going on.

At about 9 PM Morad called me to the desk to ask for a urine sample, to which I reluctantly agreed after he told me that sometimes the Doctor would consider my refusal as proof I was using drugs and that it might delay my release.

At 9:25 PM Morad again called me to the desk and we went to an office for an interview that lasted about 45 minutes as I answered some questions, told my side of the story, answered more of his questions and then reviewed the “legal paperwork” (his words), in that order.

I met with the Doctor from 8:55 to 9:10 AM on 4/27. She advised me that we “Had to support the President” and reminded me of the tragedy of 9/11, to which I replied that none of the 18 or 19 terrorists were from Iraq, and I asked if finding no weapons of mass destruction meant anything to her. She said we would find them eventually and that we “had to support our troops.” I agreed and said the best way to do that would be to get them home as soon as possible, and that she would surely have a new batch of customers as a result of this illegal war. She smiled and agreed, and after a few more questions informed me that I would be released right away and that I should not protest so loudly any more.

During the discharge process I was informed of the restriction on my Constitutional right to Keep & Bear Arms for 5 years, to which I asked for and was given a form to sign requesting a hearing for Relief From Firearms Prohibition, I also asked, in writing, to view my records, to have a copy of my records mailed to me (copy fees & postage paid by me), that I be given a list of people my records have been shared with, and that my records NOT be shared with anyone without my written consent. The discharge counselor accepted my written request and, to her credit, signed and dated it as a witness.

I rode a public bus to Arden Fair and walked the short distance to Howe park which is near my home. From the park as I approached my street I observed four Sheriff cars on Bell Rd, 3 marked and one unmarked. One of them turned off Bell onto a street just before mine, another turned off Bell into Santa Anita park (across the street from Howe park). I experienced a very real fear that they were looking for me to have another go at me so I delayed returning to my home until the Sheriff cars were no longer around, about a half hour.

I consider myself fortunate to have suffered no more insult than I have, however I believe it is vital that our law enforcement community be held to the oath they took when they were given the power to affect a citizens life the way they have mine. Sure, I was loud and offensive, but I was not a danger to myself nor was I wandering around in traffic as they have claimed. I did nothing to deserve to be locked up in the Crisis ward of the Mental Health Center, and by using the “5150” law to confine me, the officers escape any accountability to proper legal channels plus I receive the added consequences of tagging me with a Mental Health Record and denying me the right to keep and bear arms. This is the first time I have ever been admitted to a Mental Health Care facility under any circumstances, and it was involuntary.

I am also deeply concerned about the clear attempt to influence me away from my stand against the war by all of these so-called Mental Health Professionals. This “observation period” felt much more like punishment to me, considering the filthy bathrooms, bright lights in the sleeping area, the 20 minute “infommercial’ for Prozac and obvious disdain many of the staff members had for the other ‘clients’, and the complete unwillingness to process me through to relieve my 77 year old Mom of excessive worry. To be fair, some staff members were very professional and courteous, but several were clearly biased and resentful of the people that were being held there. I am sure that is a hard job, but when two staff workers were called “minimum wage black bitches” by an angry client, they interrupted what she was doing (signing some forms for Morad) to confine her to a “quiet room” for a time. Admittedly, this woman had been noisy and rude for several hours, and she was clearly disturbed, but frankly, the workers almost seemed to enjoy egging her on! I would be reluctant to discipline Yolanda & Teresa, but perhaps some training is in order, or maybe a different assignment in the facility that doesn’t require interaction with patients would be more appropriate, in my humble opinion.

This concludes my statement of what happened from about noon Saturday, April 26th to about noon Sunday, April 27th, 2003.

———————————

I Mailed copies of the previous statement to my County Supervisor (Muriel Johnson), Sacramento County Mental Health Center & Sacramento County Sheriff on April 29th, 2003 by certified mail before 10 AM

More about this here: http://timcastleman.com/500words/index.php?cat=9

PLAINTIFF’S SEPARATE STATUS REPORT

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

Tim Castleman,
Plaintiff,
vs.
County of Sacramento,
Defendant )
) Case No.: CIV.S 03-2319 WBS PAN -PS

PLAINTIFF’S SEPARATE STATUS REPORT

U.S.C. 42 § 1983, 1985 and 1988
Assault and Battery, Invasion of Privacy, False arrest, False imprisonment.
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL AND
COMPENSATORY, PUNITIVE AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS($20,000,000.00)

PLAINTIFF’S SEPARATE STATUS REPORT

Plaintiff, Tim Castleman has prepared and respectfully submits the following Status Report pursuant to the Court’s Order dated December 22, 2004.
Plaintiff has attempted in good faith to negotiate a settlement outside of the courtroom since the beginning of this incident. Plaintiff’s attempts to find common ground with the County of Sacramento have only been met with escalating levels of legal defense, with the one exception occurring in the office of County Supervisor Muriel Johnson, who clearly agreed with plaintiff and promised certain actions that were never fulfilled. In addition to plaintiffs attempt to reconcile at each deposition taken, a final attempt was made on April 6th by e-mail to the four attorneys for the defense listed in the Court’s April 4, 2005 Order. There has been no reply.
In order to comply with the Court’s Order, Plaintiff submits this separate Status Report, a copy of which will be sent to defendant’s attorneys.
(a) Service of Process: Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint has been served on defendant COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO. Defendant COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO filed its Answer on January 21, 2005.
(b) Joinder of Additional Parties: Plaintiff reserves the right to enjoin additional parties.
(c) Amendment of Pleadings: Plaintiff reserves the right to amend his pleading at any time, but is prepared to present his case to a jury now.
(d) Jurisdiction and Venue: Jurisdiction is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. sections 1331 and 1343. Jurisdiction of plaintiff’s state law claim is predicated upon 28 U.S.C. section 1367. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. section 1391(b).
(e) Anticipated Motions and Scheduling Thereof: Plaintiff has no anticipated motion at this time, other than to demand a trial by jury.
(f) Anticipated Discovery and Scheduling Thereof, Including Disclosure of Expert Witnesses:
i. Initial disclosures will be made according to Rule 26(a)(1)
ii. Discovery has commenced as defendant has taken depositions of plaintiff, two third party witnesses and the county employees and officials involved. Further discovery will continue to cover all aspects of liability and damages and will include subpoenaed documents and further depositions of material witnesses, some of whom are hostile to plaintiff.
iii. Plaintiff reserves the right to use all depositions and testimony given to defendants counsel in a public trial by jury.
(g) Future Proceedings, including setting appropriate deadlines for discovery, motions and scheduling the pre-trial conference and trial: Plaintiff is not opposed to the Court setting reasonable deadlines for discovery and motions, and scheduling the pretrial conference and trial dates.
(h) Estimated length of trial: 1 day
(i) Modification of standard pretrial procedures specified by the rules due to the relative simplicity or complexity of the action or proceedings: None
(j) Whether the case is related to any other case, including any matter in bankruptcy: This case may be related to other war protestor cases, especially in relation to abuse of the 5150 statute in California, but also to false arrest and confinement for protesting the war anywhere in the United States of America.
(k) Whether a settlement conference should be scheduled: Despite several attempts by plaintiff to negotiate a settlement, defendant seems uninterested. Plaintiff remains willing to discuss a settlement.
(l) Any other matters that may add to the just and expeditious disposition of this matter: None at this time.

Dated April 12, 2005

By Tim Castleman, PRO SE

First Amended Pleading

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

Tim Castleman,
Plaintiff,
vs.
County of Sacramento,
Defendant )
) Case No.: CIV.S 03-2319 WBS PAN -PS

First Amended COMPLAINT

U.S.C. 42 § 1983, 1985 and 1988
Assault and Battery, Invasion of Privacy, False arrest, False imprisonment.
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL AND
COMPENSATORY, PUNITIVE AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS($20,000,000.00)

Dated this 21st day of April, 2004

By Tim Castleman, PRO SE

COMPLAINT
Introduction
1. This is an action for money damages brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 1988, and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and under common law of the State of California, against Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, the County of Sacramento, Officers M. Taylor and Onai, Doe’s 1 – 50, The Sacramento County Mental Health Crisis Center and Sacramento County Doctor Dalida. Jurisdiction is based upon 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 1343 and on the pendent jurisdiction of this Court to entertain claims arising under law.
2. It is alleged that the individual sheriff officer defendants made an unreasonable seizure, and false imprisonment of the person of Tim Castleman, without probable cause, under the color of law, violating his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and that these defendants assaulted and battered Tim Castleman. It is further alleged that these violations and torts were committed as a result of policies and customs of the County of Sacramento.
3. It is also alleged that individual medical practitioners committed acts of battery and false imprisonment while attempting to render medical care without my consent.
PARTIES
4. Tim Castleman at all material times is a resident of Sacramento County, in the State of California, in the United States of America and of full age.
5. Defendants Officers were at all times relevant to this complaint duly appointed and acting officers of the Sheriff department of the County of Sacramento, acting under color of law, to wit, under the color of the statutes, ordinances, regulations, policies, customs and usages of the State of California.
6. The County of Sacramento is the public employer of the said officers and medical practitioners.
7. Sacramento County Mental Health Crisis Center is a facility funded and controlled by Sacramento County.
Statement
8. On Saturday, April 26th, 2003, I was standing on the NW corner of Marconi and Fulton in Sacramento, CA, protesting the war on Iraq. Across the street from me was a separate group holding banners and signs also protesting the war on Iraq.
9. Soon a man claiming to be the owner of the Exxon gas station, which I was standing on the sidewalk in front of, came out and asked if I had changed the numbers on his price sign from $1.91 to $9.11. I told him that I had not changed the sign. He and his assistant then changed the sign and left.
10. Within a few minutes I was approached by two Sheriff Deputies, one from each side. As they approached me and asked for my attention I asked why they were detaining me. They then stepped closer and each deputy took hold of one of my arms to escort me off of the sidewalk to the gas station parking lot.
11. I again asked why I was being detained and they responded that they had a report I had changed the sign and was running around in traffic, and therefore they were taking me into custody because I was a danger to myself.
12. I was handcuffed and confined to the rear seat of the patrol vehicle with the doors closed and locked, thus preventing any reasonable means of escape.
13. While I was confined in the patrol vehicle the officers appeared to be questioning the owner of the gas station.
14. I was later transferred to another patrol vehicle, and delivered to the Sacramento County Mental Health Crisis Center without my consent and while I was still being held in confinement.
15. Diagnostic medical procedures commenced without my consent.
16. I was searched again and my wallet and accoutrements were confiscated.
17. I was ordered to disclose my private medical history.
18. I was then transferred to a holding cell with other prisoners where I was physically confined with no reasonable means of escape.
19. I was then transferred to a cell block where I was issued a bunk. In the cell block I was also confined and had no reasonable means of escape.
20. The following day I was ordered to submit to another medical examination without my consent.
21. The County Doctor told me I had to support our president and that I should not protest so loudly next time.
22. During the discharge process the County attempted to coerce me into relinquishing my constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
23. I was then released from custody at which point no notice to appear was issued nor were any formal charges filed.

COUNT I
42 U.S.C. § 1983 Against Individual Defendants
24. Paragraphs 1 through 23 are incorporated herein by reference as though fully set forth.
25. Plaintiff Castleman claims damages for the injuries set forth above under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants for violation of his constitutional rights under color of law.

COUNT II
Assault and Battery Against Individual Defendants
26. Paragraphs 1 through 23 are incorporated herein by reference as though fully set forth.
27. Defendants Officer M. Taylor, Officer Onai, County Employees and County Doctor Dalida assaulted and battered Tim Castleman.
28. As a result of this assault and battery, plaintiff Castleman suffered damages as foresaid.

COUNT III
False Arrest and Illegal Imprisonment Against Individual Defendants
29. Paragraphs 1 through 23 are incorporated herein by reference as though fully set forth.
30. Defendants Sheriff Officers illegally arrested and illegally imprisoned Tim Castleman.
31. As a result of this false arrest and illegal imprisonment, the plaintiff suffered damages as aforesaid.

COUNT IV
42 U.S.C. § 1983 Against County of Sacramento
32. Paragraphs 1 through 23 are incorporated herein by reference as though fully set forth.
33. Prior to April 27th, 2003, the County of Sacramento developed and maintained policies or customs exhibiting deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of persons in Sacramento, which caused the violation of Castleman’s rights.
34. It was the policy and/or custom of the County of Sacramento to inadequately and improperly investigate citizen complaints of police misconduct, and acts of misconduct were instead tolerated by the County of Sacramento.
35. It was the policy and/or custom of the County of Sacramento to inadequately supervise and train its sheriff officers, including the defendant officers, thereby failing to adequately discourage further constitutional violations on the part of its police officers. The County did not require appropriate in-service training or re-training of officers who were known to have engaged in misconduct.
36. As a result of the above described policies and customs, sheriff officers of the County of Sacramento, including the defendant officers, believed that their actions would not be properly monitored by supervisory officers and that misconduct would not be investigated or sanctioned, but would be tolerated.
37. The above described policies and customs demonstrated a deliberate indifference on the part of policymakers of the County of Sacramento to the constitutional rights of persons within the County, and were the cause of the violations of plaintiff’s rights alleged herein.
WHEREFORE, the plaintiff prays that this Court:
a. Award compensatory damages to plaintiff against the defendants, jointly and severally;
b. Award costs of this action to the plaintiff;
c. Award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the plaintiff on Counts I and IV of the complaint;
d. Award such other and further relief as this Court may deem appropriate.
e. Award punitive damages in the sum of Twenty Million Dollars.
The plaintiff hereby demands a jury trial.

Dated: April 21, 2004

Tim Castleman

Terrorized & Ticketed for 'No headlight on bicycle'

August 10, 2002
To:
LT. Steve Johnson
Fulton-El Camino Parks & Recreation
2201 Cottage Way
Sacramento, CA 95825

Tonight I was molested in the neighborhood park I have been visiting for over 25 years.

I had taken my classic Montgomery Ward 3 speed bicycle for a spin in the park and was about halfway through my ride when I noticed a car with high beams on coming right at me, I swerved off the pavement and the car pursued me. Now quite frightened, I pulled up to a stop as the driver turned on the blue & red lights’, indicating it was a police car.

The door opened and the officer asked me where I was going – I replied that I was on my way home and that I lived very near the park. He than asked me if I had ever been arrested to which I replied “Yes, many, many years ago” and then he asked for what and I told him it was for DUI, but it been well over ten years ago and I had not been arrested since. He then asked me for my identification, I said sure and as I got it out of my wallet I asked what I was being detained for.

This is when the officer became belligerent and rude. He said he had stopped me because I did not have a light on the front of my bicycle. He then instructed me to stand in front of his car while he checked out my ID. This is when I asked him if he had probable cause to detain me, which angered him further and he yelled at me something to the effect of “I know my job, don’t tell me how to do my job”.

Again I was frightened at his threatening tone and I moved to the front of his car. After about 5 minutes, I leaned toward the car and spoke to the officer saying: “If I am not under arrest, I would like to go home now.” He replied that I was disobeying his orders and told me to move away from the car. I was perhaps 10 feet away from the front of the car at this time.

I repeated my request, and at this point the other occupant of the car, a scruffy scary looking guy, jumped out of the car and quickly came very near me stating something like “You are not running the show here, you do what you are told”.

At this point, I was not only very frightened, but I also began to get very angry about this whole scene. I was being treated like a suspect in a rape or bank robbery, for riding my bicycle without a headlight! Again I spoke to the officer saying, “If I am not under arrest, I would like to go now, and why is this man standing next to me with this threatening posture?” which served to further anger the both of them.

The officer standing next to me then said I better shut up or he would handcuff me and I could wait in the back seat while they did the paperwork. His tone was very angry and threatening, and he used his very close physical proximity in what seemed an enticement to violence. I don’t know how else to describe it when someone comes very close to you and yells commands at you, such as “Shut Up!” or whatever.

Realizing that I was outnumbered, and that they had guns and handcuffs, I decided my civil rights were not worth getting beat up over at that moment, and that I could tell my side of the story later, I asked the officers to be sure and write both of their names on the citation. At about this same time you, Lt. Steve Johnson, arrived in your car, and the second officer moved away from me and returned to his seat in the car.

By now I was extremely agitated about all of this and stated that I would be filing a written complaint with the officers supervisor concerning the way they had conducted themselves. You then identified yourself as their supervisor, which explains why they backed off when you arrived on the scene, and invited me to lodge my complaint with you on the spot. I responded that I was too angry at that moment and that I would file a written complaint but just wanted to go home right then. I asked you for a business card so that I would have the address. You stated you were out of cards, but had some in your office if I wanted to wait.

At this point, I had no desire to stick around with these guys while you left, so I said no, I would find the address in the phonebook. You then offered to write the information on a piece of paper, and I accepted that, and promised you I would send this letter.

Finally the original officer got out of his car with his citation book and invited me to approach – not being sure I heard him correctly, and a bit traumatized from the events so far, I asked him if he wanted me to come closer to the car. I offer this to you as proof of my state of mind at this point, because by this time you were there also, and surely heard me say that to him. I was then instructed to walk my bicycle home, or I would be put through this whole ordeal again. I did exactly as I was told and this is my statement of the events that transpired the evening of August 10, 2002 in Howe Park, 2201 Cottage Way.

My complaint is that I feel I was harassed and detained without good cause, excessive force was used in the detention, and I was punished for requesting that the officers respect my civil rights.

The remedy to this for me will be a written, public, admission of wrong, and apology, combined with dismissal of these two officers from their positions. We cannot have thugs dressed up in police uniforms pretending to be protectors of the peace.

What ever happened to “Protect and Serve” anyway? I have a couple of questions I would like the officers to answer:

1) When you pointed your car at me, and accelerated as I was steering towards the field, were you prepared to drive out on the grass to pursue me on my bicycle?

2) After you stopped me, and informed me of the headlight violation, why did you decide to question me further? Be specific – what was it about me, my appearance, or actions that made you suspicious? (I want this answer in writing.)

3) How far was the aggressive one prepared to go to entice me into violence?

4) Finally, what makes you think you have the right to bully folks around? You need to understand that you frightened and intimidated me, when all you really needed to do was educate me about the alleged deficiency on my bicycle. You may have noticed, it is a collectable Montgomery Wards brand and is in all original condition, which means it was made long before laws were written requiring electric lights, the statute you are claiming as your justification for molesting me in the park last night.

You cited me for violation of CVC 21201(d), specifically “No headlamp on bicycle”.

The statute I was cited under pertains to vehicles operated on a roadway or highway. My bicycle is NOT a vehicle. According to Department of Motor Vehicles, California Vehicle Code Division 1- Words and Phrases Defined:
A “vehicle” is a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.
Amended Ch. 987, Stats. 1975. Effective January 1, 1976

Further, the bicycle is in fact equipped with white and red reflectors, and conforms to every code or statute that applies to bicycles.

In closing, I just want to offer that I have true gratitude for the efforts of the law enforcement community. A culture without laws would be barbaric and primitive. However, it is important that people entrusted with the power to arrest and detain do not abuse that power. When the police are allowed to bully citizens, we have the makings of a police state. I was molested in the park last night by two Park Rangers driving a fully equipped police car and wearing what appeared to be police uniforms. I had no choice but to obey them. It was that or physical injury and further confinement. All I did was go for a spin in the park! I know for sure I should be able to do that without fear of being molested, isn’t that what the Park Rangers are paid to do? Now I am afraid to go to my own neighborhood park! Not because of the criminals that may be there, but because of the Park Rangers that may decide to give me a hard time for no real good reason. I could end up arrested just for taking a walk in the park, according to these guys.

Tim Castleman