Brickbat: I Need a Little Favor


After fighting the case for over a decade, Trinity County, California, officials have agreed to pay $7 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Jim and Norma Gund, who were attacked and badly injured after a sheriff's office deputy asked them to do a welfare check on a neighbor. The deputy assured them that it was "probably no big deal." He was, in fact, sending them to an active murder scene. The neighbor had called 911 and whispered "help me" repeatedly. The dispatcher who took the call said it appeared the neighbor was whispering in an effort not to be heard. The Gunds were told none of that. During discovery, their attorney found other instances in which the sheriff's office sent civilians into dangerous situations, including once when a woman was killed after deputies sent her to try to negotiate with a neighbor who had barricaded himself in his trailer.