Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'No Excuses,' Jefferson County Sheriff Says after Deputy Smears Homeowner's Surveillance Camera with Mud

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'No Excuses,' Jefferson County Sheriff Says after Deputy Smears Homeowner's Surveillance Camera with Mud

Article excerpt

IMPERIAL - The Jefferson County sheriff's office has apologized on social media after a deputy used mud to cover an outdoor surveillance camera at a private home.

In a Facebook post Wednesday night, the sheriff's department said the department's office of professional standards is investigating.

"No excuses from us," the sheriff said.

Grant Bissell, a spokesman said the sheriff's department, said the department is investigating in part to find out the deputy's motivation for smearing the camera with mud. The status of the deputy wasn't immediately clear Thursday.

On Sunday, deputies went to a home near Imperial after St. Louis County police asked them to help find a man, Bissell said. The man, 31, is a registered sex offender who failed to check in with authorities monitoring the state's registry, Bissell said.

Deputies went to the home in the 1000 block of Autumn Oaks Drive and couldn't find the man, who no longer lives at the home, police say. He is on the Missouri sex offender registry for endangering the welfare of a child -- an 11-year-old girl when the man was 18.

As the deputies were leaving the home on Autumn Oaks, one deputy walked back toward the home. He smeared mud on the lens of an outdoor surveillance camera that was connected to the side of the home, police say. The resident's camera showed a deputy approaching, then the view is obstructed.

Asked why the deputy covered the camera, Bissell said, "I wish I knew. I wish I had a good answer for that."

Bissell said the man they were searching for was "known to be a violent sex offender."

"They'd been to that address a number of times and might come back," he added.

The homeowner, Ashley Mathis, 28, was still infuriated Thursday.

"I don't accept their apology," she said. "It's a complete lie."

Mathis said the man they were searching for is her ex-husband, and he hasn't lived at the home for six years. …

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