Letters to the Editor

In letters to editor: Outrage over SLO PD’s recommendation to charge Skeeter Mangan

SLO police chief apologizes for ‘carelessness’ of leaving gun in bathroom

San Luis Obispo, California, Police Chief Deanna Cantrell apologizes after she left her gun in the bathroom at El Pollo Loco restaurant.
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San Luis Obispo, California, Police Chief Deanna Cantrell apologizes after she left her gun in the bathroom at El Pollo Loco restaurant.

Put me on the jury!

Please put me on the jury to hear Skeeter Mangan’s case of “grand theft” for “finding” the police ghief’s gun. I won’t burden the court listening to the Police Department’s investigation into the facts. I won’t have to consider the DA’s rewrite of the investigative report. He’s not guilty, he shouldn’t be charged, and this whole mess should be quietly put to bed.

Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. Don’t these guys have something more important to do? The ball’s in the DA’s court right now. No harm, no foul. Let it go, everyone in the county will thank you. You don’t even have to provide an explanation, just end it. If this thing goes to trial, Skeeter will be found not guilty for sure!

L.G. Gibson, San Luis Obispo

Think of the possibilities

Skeeter Mangan, with no intention or forethought, came upon an unattended, loaded gun. He did the smart thing by removing this clear and present evil and averting a possibly disastrous situation.

Think of the possibilities of the 10-year-old boy finding the loaded gun, inquisitively playing with it and the gun discharging, possibly injuring himself or the next patron entering the room.

Had I been placed in his situation, I would have removed the gun, taken a seat in the restaurant and called 911.

What was so compelling for our police chief to not realize she no longer had possession of her weapon for the time it took three patrons to enter the restroom? Was she on her phone? Was she texting? Was there another situation needing her immediate attention?

Charge Skeeter with possession of a stolen firearm? No way. And to his brother-in-law, award him a commendation for correcting this situation immediately by calling the police and turning over the firearm. The amount of time and money possibly spent by the city searching for this firearm would clearly be high in numbers had he not reacted so quickly.

Linda Shinn, San Luis Obispo

Chief should apologize

Let me get this straight: The chief of police loses a loaded gun, the hapless finder faces felony charges of theft and a family is torn apart because of a warrantless search related to the lost gun.

The consequences for the chief? A negligible fine of two days’ pay and a chorus of praise for all that she’s done right. Everything about this scenario is wrong, wrong and wrong, but the worst is that none of it would have happened if the chief of police hadn’t lost (not misplaced) her gun.

How do we make this right? I propose: the children are returned immediately to their parents, drug charges notwithstanding. The chief of police goes on unpaid leave for a month (still only 1/12 of her annual salary). Charges against the poor man who found the gun are dropped and the chief of police apologizes in person, face-to-face, to the parents, the children and the finder for the harm her actions caused.

This happens at a regular meeting of the City Council and her lost wages are then distributed between the parents, the children and the finder.

We can’t keep pretending that the loss of the chief’s gun is a small matter and that others should suffer the consequences, not her.

Sara Mikkelsen, San Luis Obispo

Is Cantrell contrite?

Police Chief Deanna Cantrell left a loaded gun in an El Pollo Loco bathroom.

Video shows the second person to use that bathroom was a child.

The first was Skeeter Mangan, described by his brother-in-law as having mental disabilities, who took it home and put it in a drawer until his brother-in-law helped him get it back to the police.

Skeeter did a better job than Chief Cantrell regarding keeping a loaded gun out of the hands of a child, yet her department is recommending felony charges against him?

If the chief still has any influence over her department, I would hope she would intervene and pay some of the courtesy she received forward.

Ed Cardoza, Arroyo Grande

Thanks, Skeeter

Should someone be punished for finding something of value in a restroom and not turning it in to the store immediately? I would say only if that object is illegal and known to cause harm. Thanks, Skeeter et al. for doing the right thing and returning the object to the rightful owner.

Paul Cappellano, San Luis Obispo

Justice for the wealthy

I don’t care to think about the local politics that would charge Skeeter Mangan with felonies because he found a gun in a restroom and took it home. And later returned it voluntarily. I doubt that many locals would consider it grand theft since most of us have found and kept any number of items as we go about our daily business.

At this point, we also realize that the district attorney’s test of whether or not it “can be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt” has sadly come to mean: Can Mr. Mangan afford the best legal counsel with the connections to quiet this down?

Mr. Dow, if you do file charges, please keep the public informed of how much the county will be paying to proceed with the case. And, should you throw this “perpetrator” in jail, please allow him to leave for 12 hours every day to go to work. Certainly if this is allowed for the billionaire pedophile, our system can do the same in a lost and found case.

Jeanne Kinney, San Luis Obispo

Drop the charges

The fact that the San Luis Obispo Police Department is trying to blame a disabled man for the enormous mistake made by the chief of police is unethical, immoral, hypocritical, shameful and frankly embarrassing.

All charges against this man should be dropped if the Police Department wishes to maintain the trust it has built with this community.

If the police chief can be forgiven for her mistake, this man can also be forgiven for his mistake.

If anything, they both need to be punished equally, even if that means charging the chief of police with the same felony charges this man is being charged with.



Wilson Packard, San Luis Obispo

She forgot it

Two years ago I forgot my wallet in a restroom of a gas station. I needed both hands to use the facilities and set it on the towel dispenser. When I realized my mistake and returned 30 minutes later, it was gone. The manager was kind enough to give me gloves so I could search all the trash cans on the premises, but I didn’t find the wallet.

The manager suggested I go to the police station and make a report, which I did. At the police station they showed me how to make a report, and then the officer explained that even if it was found, no one would be charged with any crime, because no crime was committed! I forgot the wallet.

I’ve been following the story of the police chief forgetting her gun, and wonder why anyone is being charged with a crime, since no crime was committed. She forgot it!

A. Lopez, San Luis Obispo

Even police make errors

The officer who told writer A. Lopez that whoever recovered Lopez’s lost wallet could not be prosecuted was wrong. Finding property does not make it yours, whether found or taken.

Officers can make mistakes. I worked with an officer who “knew” it was illegal to drive barefoot. Unable to find the appropriate statute, he made one up and would amend it with the courts later. When arriving back at the station and asking for help, well, you can only imagine the ensuing teasing.

Not all officers are experts in all areas.

Kenneth Godbold, Prescott, Arizona

She admitted it

Is the SLO PD totally out of their minds in asking that Skeeter be charged for what the so-called police chief did?

I know other police officers in other parts of the county, and they are just laughing at what she did.

Let’s face facts, she is not a good police chief and should not be in that position. Her gun could have killed a small child, let’s not forget that.

Luann Reis, San Luis Obispo

A plea for common sense

I read in The Tribune that the San Luis Obispo Police Department is asking that felony charges be brought against the man who picked up the gun the police chief left in a restroom. Perhaps we should objectively review this situation. If the chief , who is a trained professional in the use of handguns, had not forgotten the weapon in the restroom there would be no case.

Did you ever think what the consequences could have been if a child had discovered that gun, or a transient passing through? Would a transient turn the gun in?

I’m not defending the man who took the gun. I’m only asking that common sense be used and let chips fall where they may.

Yes, I heard that everyone from time to time misplaces or loses articles, but I can’t recall a situation where someone was killed or injured by someone leaving behind credit cards, sun glasses, billfolds, etc.

Jim Paglia, Atascadero

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