A commander and 33 year veteran of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, Dave Myers, is now a candidate for Sheriff and running against the incumbent Bill Gore. The two will be on the June ballot.
Sheriff Gore has held the seat since 2009 when Bill Kolender stepped down.
IVN San Diego's request to interview Sheriff Gore was declined.
Candidacy Has Brought Retaliation
For Dave Myers, the opportunity to run against Gore is something he cherishes, although to hear him talk about his experiences at the Sheriff's department since he announced his candidacy, you might think he committed a crime himself.
Myers released a statement from his campaign website detailing retaliation allegations against Gore. The statement reads, “I have been removed from the chain of command and all internal management committee meetings. I have been forced out of my command staff office. A broom closet downstairs was cleared out to make room for my new ‘office.’ Every day, when I show up for assignment, I am assigned to spend the day sitting in this ‘office.’ Sheriff Gore has literally forced the highest ranking openly gay officer on the department into an actual closet. It’s one thing to make excuses for why he won’t grant the voters an opportunity to hear us debate the issues. It’s quite another to employ retaliation in a taxpayer funded workplace as a campaign tactic. I have the right to run for this office and should be treated just like any other officer at my rank.”
Video Interview with Dave Myers:
Podcast with Dave Myers:
A Fresh Look at The Zahau Murder
In addition to addressing retaliation allegations, IVNSD spoke with Myers about reopening the Rebecca Zahau criminal case following the civil trial that ended in a jury verdict for the Zahau family. The verdict stands in contrast to the finding by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department that Zahau committed suicide.
In the civil case, a jury found Zahau's death was brought at the hands of her boyfriend's brother. Jurors in the wrongful-death trial determined that Adam Shacknai must pay Rebecca Zahau's family $5 million for their loss. Punitive damages are still pending and Shacknai and his attorney's said they plan to appeal the jury decision.
As a candidate for Sheriff Myers, with assistance from an attorney, is combing through the evidence. He said, "After the civil trial results were announced, I made public my desire when elected Sheriff, to reopen the criminal case in the Zahau case. Whether it's the Zahau case or any other case when there is any doubt as to whether innocence or guilt I think in law enforcement, we have an obligation to open the case, and we shouldn't make statements that only if a victim brings forward additional evidence would we reevaluate and reopen, I think especially after the case was closed, ruled a suicide, and then it took the family 7 years and a civil trial and 9 people to say there is something here, only then did the issue come back open again, and I very much believe law enforcement should reopen the case. The attorney for the family has let me see the evidence he has and I intend to make a statement about the case prior to June 5, election day."
"Sheriff Gore Wants To Fire Me"
In a recent interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Sheriff Bill Gore suggested he would like to fire Commander Dave Myers. It's believed part of Gore's decision lies in the fact Myers decided to launch a campaign for Sheriff. Myers told IVNSD, "Once you tell your boss you're trying to run against him you're... I did expect not a warm welcome but I didn't expect what did happen which was, took me out of chain of command for everything within the Sheriff's office, I've been ordered not to attend any Sheriff's meetings, currently I have to have a written approval from Sheriff Gore to attend. It's unprecedented in the Sheriff's department." Myers continued, "If you speak against the Sheriff you're going to be retaliated against, you're going to be marginalized, and when you try to change a culture from within, not only do they want to get rid of you and fire you."
Arrest and Incarcerate Has Been Used As "Homeless Management"
On any given month there are about 6,000 inmates in our San Diego County jail system, and on average about 26% of the population is made up of homeless, about 1,600 people.
Candidate Myers says, "Law enforcement in San Diego County has historically used the ability to arrest and incarcerate as a form of homeless management, to me that's a displacement, it doesn't create true long term solutions to the question of homelessness. And this has been the solution from the Mayors of San Diego County which have the highest population, who literally have done nothing to create true wrap around services from housing first to other abilities to catch individuals other than pushing the idea of incarceration. Had it not been for the Hepatitis A outbreak, we would not have the bridge solutions we are seeing now, which provide relief, but not long term."
Deaths in County Jails
I asked Myers how he would handle the increasing number of inmates who die in custody. Myers said, "Recognizing that individuals incarcerated are still humans. We have to create an empathetic face for the individuals within custody. This culture of they are prisoners they are incarcerated they are let's just do the bare minimum or not even the bare minimum. A grand jury report came in again and said the health care provided to female inmate population don't even meet the CDC standards for third world countries. We have important data from the 46 inmate suicides, we need to look at that data and apply to our prison population to prevent more deaths."