Members of law enforcement from the Arroyo Grande Police Department and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office were recognized recently for combating prejudice after a South County cross-burning incident.
Assistant chief Investigator Mark Vallelly and deputy district attorney Dave Pomeroy from the District Attorney’s Office, along with commander Beau Pryor and detective Erik Jensen from the Arroyo Grande Police Department, were recognized by the Pacific Southwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League for their investigation and prosecution of the incident, which occurred on March 18, 2011.
On that date, an 11-foot wooden cross was burned on a residential lawn next to the home of an African-American teen. Three of the four defendants pleaded no contest to various criminal charges a year later, and a fourth was found guilty during a jury trial. All four defendants received prison terms ranging from five to 12 years.
Last month, two years after the crime, the Anti-Defamation League honorees were awarded the Helene and Joseph Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate during an awards ceremony in Los Angeles.