Born-Again Defense Evangelist, Police Chief Jerry Dyer

Almost two weeks ago, I noted that former-accused-statutory-rapist-turned-police-chief Jerry Dyer had seen the light: after some of the officers on his crack team of — wait, that won’t work… — after one-third of his specialized drug enforcement team came under suspicion and two officers were arrested for running a car theft ring, Dyer reminded everyone:

It’s important for me and for all of us to not rush to judgment on this case.  There is no indication that any other detective in that unit was involved.

And he’s right.  His other officers were busy elsewhere.

Today, a Fresno Bee headline reads: “Video shows officer hitting man.”  The video shows two police officers holding down a homeless man and beating him in the face.

As Dyer notes,

On the surface, the video is disturbing — one that’s going to have a lot of people concerned. (Jim Guy, “Video shows officer hitting man” (February 11, 2009) Fresno Bee, p. B1, cols. 2-3 (emphasis added).)

However, the Bee story goes on to say,

The chief said that it is too early to say whether it was appropriate for the officer to punch Beaty in the head.  (Jim Guy, “Video shows officer hitting man” (February 11, 2009) Fresno Bee, p. B1, col. 3.)

KSee24 News say Dyer told them we need to wait for the detailed police reports, which will tell us what happened leading up to one officer punching Beaty repeatedly in the face while another officer holds him down.

Dyer has apparently seen the light.  He’s a reformed man.  It’s certainly a change from past cases — including some I have been or am involved in, so I’m not naming names — where Dyer has gone on television stating what he believed these individuals had done as if his beliefs were fact.

One can only hope that Fresno’s “new” police chief can hold on to his nascent faith and that, in fact, he may become something of an evangelist, preaching his new religion amongst the ranks of his own officers.

Because it actually would be nice, for a change, to see more cases tried in court — and less in the press.


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Comments

7 Responses to “Born-Again Defense Evangelist, Police Chief Jerry Dyer”

  1. Eric Essman on May 11th, 2009 4:55 pm

    Mr. Horowitz:
    I am sure that as an attorney you believe in the concept of a person being innocent until proven guilty. Police Chief Jerry Dyer was never even charged much less found guilty of statutory rape. And yet you feel the need to mention that incident in the first sentence of your article about the man.Would you appreciate it if an attorney prosecuting a man you were defending did the same thing? Probably not. But then again I will not make assumptions since I do not know you. In the headline you mock his religious faith. His faith may or may not be genuine. Who knows? But certainly “neither” one of us knows. And yet you proclaim it in a very mocking way. Neither one of us can see inside the mind of Mr. Dyer, at least I claim no psychic abilities and I speak only for myself. Please do not misunderstand me I am not a right wing “whatever the cops do is great” kind of guy. I do not wrap myself in the American flag every night as I watch Fox News. In fact I am very much to the left in the political spectrum.Even to the left of most green party members.But persecuting the man on the basis of his religious beliefs and headlining an incident for which he was never charged or found guilty is more than a little unfair. At least that is my opinion. And I think you would agree it is unfair if it was done to one of your clients. Again, just my opinion. I did enjoy reading your site and will continue to read it. Please accept my apology if I seem overly negative. All the best, eric essman.

  2. RickH on May 11th, 2009 7:03 pm

    Eric, what do you drape yourself in while watching Fox News, then? Just kidding! I appreciate your input. I mean that sincerely and seriously.

    However, if by “innocent until proven guilty” you mean that you think that I think a person hasn’t committed a crime unless a jury says he has, then you are, indeed, jumping to conclusions. I don’t think that at all. If a person has committed a crime, they actually have committed the crime whether a jury or other fact-finder ever decides they did or not.

    I am less certain of whether most people accused of crimes have committed them until all the evidence has been presented. (Do you believe O.J. Simpson is innocent, or that a jury simply failed to convict for other reasons, or do you believe he got away with murder? My feeling is that “I don’t know” and that drives a lot of people batty when they hear me say that.) Being less certain doesn’t mean I don’t have my suspicions.

    And here’s the thing — as a judge (who for obvious reasons will remain nameless) said to me the other day during a discussion of this very issue concerning Dyer — “there are certain things in one’s history which should disqualify you from certain career choices.” As he went on to say, “This is one of them.” That particular judge actually likes Dyer and has personally interacted with him. His feeling — and mine — was that based upon the accusations and how the thing played out, Dyer should never have become the police chief.

    My comments about Dyer have never noted anything other than that he has formerly been accused of a particular crime. And while I have some reason to think that these accusations are true, I wasn’t there and do not know if they are. What I do know is that Jerry Dyer rides a high horse in a fashion that appears to me to be very hypocritical. And if I’m doing nothing else on this blog, I’m expressing my opinion. (I can’t swear to this, but some day I think the dictionary definition of “blog (v.i.)” will include “to write, on the Internet, about one’s opinion.”)

    As for mocking his religious faith, I do no such thing. While it’s true that I suspect anyone who reminds me of the Pharisees of at least giving the impression that their religious expressions are politically-based, I have no idea (as you noted) as to what’s going on inside Dyer’s head. I mock his behavior, not his faith.

    My opinion is that if Dyer were truly desirous of modeling the behavior of the purported savior, he would speak and behave differently than he does. I believe, too, that he would also likely be unable to hold the position that he does in contemporary society, because the way he is expected to act would clash with his principles.

    Finally, I’m not persecuting Jerry Dyer. Jerry Dyer suffers not one wit because of anything I say. I couldn’t persecute Jerry Dyer if I desired to do so, which I actually don’t.

    I do desire to get Jerry Dyer — consistent with the principles to which he claims allegiance — to say the same things about other criminal defendants that he says about criminal defendants who also happen to be police officers.

    When that happens, I will have fewer monkeys in my butt, I will be less cranky and you and I can perhaps share a drink and discuss this on a more philosophical level.

  3. Eric Essman on May 12th, 2009 10:02 am

    Mr. Horowitz:
    Thank you for replying to my post. I realize you are a busy man. But I disagree with you when you say that you are not mocking his religious faith.The first line on your blog is “Born again-Defense Evangelist, Jerry Dyer. Of course this is meant in a sarcastic and mocking way. Anyone can and does discern this when they see the headline. And you certainly have a legal right to mock anyone you desire, but at least own up to it. Also you are a very intelligent man and you know better than I that anyone can accuse snyone else of any crime in the world. Being accused of a crime means almost nothing in today’s world. What if one of your female clients accused you one day of sexual molestation? Would you want a blog that was written about you to start with the headline “Accused sexual molester, Rick Horowitz”. I think you would agree that would not be right or fair to you or your reputation. And I would stand in agreement with you about the unfairness of it. I think you are being in the same way unfair to Mr. Dyer. Also, comparing Chief Dyer to O.J. Simpson is as outrageous as it is ridiculous. O.J. Simpson was charged with a crime and faced a jury trial that had a preponderence of evidence pointing toward his guilt. Has Chief Dyer ever been formally charged with the crime of statutory rape? Has he ever been tried for the crime? The answer to both questions is as you know is”no”. If you have something more weighty than an accusation about Chief Dyer please let it see the light of day. Bring it out in the courtroom and give the Chief a chance to defend himself. Or do you believe the right to defend oneself only extends to people who are not police officers? I saw much evidence presented against O.J. Simpson but I have seen no evidence presented against Chief Dyer. If the evidence is out there you have a duty to the public to let them view it and decide for themselves. What one judge may or may not think about Chief Dyer is really inconsequential. We all have people who do not like us for whatever reason. I am sure that you may have people who speak ill of you. That does not mean that their comments have objective truth value does it? I feel that I must come to the defense of Chief Dyer because he is in this case, the victim of what I consider to be cheap shots. His faith is being mocked and he is being labeled because of something he was accused of. If you feel you have a case against Chief Dyer then make it public and give him his day in court. He deserves that day as much as any other citizen. And for the record “yes” I do believe that O.J. was and is guilty. I will continue to support Chief Dyer until someone can show me some concrete reasons (something called evidence I believe) why I should not. I do like your column but I believe you are really off base with your criticism of Chief Dyer. It sounds more like a personal attack than a legal commentary. Just one man’s opinion. All the best, Eric Essman.

  4. Eric Essman on May 12th, 2009 5:01 pm

    Mr. Horowitz:
    Your comment about the judge confused me a little. You said (or in this case wrote) the judge “liked” Chief Dyer. And yet the judge thought he should not be the police chief and (I assume from the tone of the comments) that he was indeed guilty of statutory rape. So am I to assume that you spoke to a judge who likes rapists but just not as police chiefs? If you could please clear this up for me I would appreciate it. I do appreciate your time and effort that you take to put together your blog. But (I realize I am being redundant) I think you are being very unfair to Chief Dyer.

  5. When The Pot Calls The Kettle... | Fresno Criminal Defense on May 13th, 2009 5:09 pm

    [...] his initial comment to this blog, Mr. Essman attempted to portray himself as being open-minded, or even-handed, or something along [...]

  6. lily on November 18th, 2009 3:29 pm

    Thank you Mr. Horowitz for your blog. I think this Eric fellow would be correct if we were talking about an ordinary person, but since we are talking about a powerful public figure, he is being a little unreasonable and naive. Dyer never got his day in court not because there was a lack of evidence, but because he was protected from the accusations as an officer, and because of his purported faith. I have a copy of the newspaper that reported the accusations of statutory rape. Basically, his response to the accusations were that he and his wife were working out their problems and that he is a born again christian seeking forgiveness. That tells me two things: yes, he did commit statutory rape and that he uses his faith as a shield. There are many born-again christians in prison, homeless on the streets, and facing harassment form Dyer’s pd, why don’t they get the same forgiveness that Dyer gets?

    The judge you spoke with is absolutely right, his actions should have been a huge red flag to all of Fresno. An this so called reformed man uses his faith as a cover of piety while he trains his pd to harass every black, brown, and/or poor person in this town. If he were truly a pious, Jesus-following man, he would not be opposed to community based policing, he would not justify the murders of 40 men in 8 years at the hands of his department, and he would not publicly refer to the poor as scum. You have every reason to mock his faith, it is an insincere sham.

    Based on the news coverage of the accusations against Dyer I believe it is quite safe to say he committed that atrocity, but we all know he will never be held accountable. Please, continue to bring it up, we should never ever forget what sort of man is leading OUR police department.

    And please, I hope you will join us in the fight to FIRE DYER!!

  7. Harry Williby on July 14th, 2010 7:07 pm

    Good Job Rick! We borrowed some of your language for our blog series. It’s nice to know there are Attorneys who KNOW cops commit crime(s).

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