Faced With More Police Abuse, Twin Brothers Vindicated Again
November 8, 2013 by Joe Snook
Medford, Ore. — Twin brothers Don and Jason Libby, owners of Jackson County Security, have both been cleared of separate false criminal charges stemming from different encounters with the Medford Police Department (MPD). MPD manufactured claims that the two bothers committed serious crimes, and they were eventually arrested and charged.
Jason Libby’s case was dismissed on June 27, just before trial. Don Libby was found innocent of all charges on Sept. 3 (also the date of his wedding anniversary) following a three-day trial.
MPD’s “threats and harassment” against the Libby brothers dates back “over 13 years” according to Don Libby. He said: “We have been wrongfully arrested five times and never convicted.”
For a full background of the Libby’s previous encounters with MPD, click here to read the US~Observer articles.
Background: Jason Libby’s Charges
On Jan. 7, at about 11:30 p.m. Jason Libby went to lock up Weldon’s Cleaners, where he was contracted to provide security. Upon arrival, he realized someone was using the bathroom. He checked the machines and determined that the person in the restroom was not doing laundry. Next, he advised the person in the bathroom that he was a security guard, that he was locking up the building for the night and that the person needed to exit the premises.
The man in the restroom, identified as Jeremy Bondurant, said he would be out in a moment. Bondurant later told police that he was bathing in the sink. The security video seems to corroborate that this man did bathe in the restroom, but he did it earlier — not at the time he was speaking with Jason Libby outside the door.
Jason Libby stood by for several minutes, hearing strange noises from the bathroom that led him to believe Bondurant may have been flushing drugs or engaging in other suspicious behavior.
At that point, Jason Libby notified Bondurant that he had to come out immediately. When Bondurant came out, he had a backpack in his possession, which he placed on the ground after Jason Libby asked him to. Bondurant told Jason Libby that he “had been at the laundry mat doing laundry and that his girlfriend had already left with the clothes and he stayed behind.” When Jason Libby said he would review the security camera to see if Bondurant was telling the truth, Bondurant admitted that he had not been doing any laundry and said he’d been using the restroom to wash himself.
Jason Libby then placed Bondurant under citizen’s arrest for trespassing. The security video shows the amount of force used to effectuate this arrest was minimal and that Bondurant was relatively compliant. After placing Bondurant in handcuffs, Jason Libby attempted to gain his consent to search the backpack, which Bondurant did not agree to.
During this conversation, a woman drove her vehicle into the laundry mat parking lot. She exited her vehicle and began writing down Jason Libby’s license plate number. Seeing a vehicle had come onto the premises, Jason Libby, along with the handcuffed Bondurant, came outside to see who had come onto the property.
Jason Libby recognized the woman as Debra Greenlee, whom he had caught digging through the trash at the laundry mat about six months prior. During that incident, the police were called and Jason Libby told Greenlee that she was never to return to the laundry mat. On Jan. 7, he told her again that she needed to leave. She refused and continuously screamed, “You’re not a cop; you can’t arrest him!”
Jason Libby attempted to place Greenlee under citizen’s arrest for trespassing. While dealing with Greenlee, Jason Libby attempted to call the MPD for assistance but dropped his phone. At that point, Bondurant attempted to flee. Jason Libby left Greenlee and pursued Bondurant on foot. That allowed Greenlee to re-enter her vehicle and begin backing out of the parking lot, stopping only when Jason Libby returned with Bondurant.
Jason Libby called the MPD.
When MPD officers arrived, they ignored Jason’s attempt to speak with them. MPD Officer Jonathon Baglietto directed Jason Libby to stand back while he contacted Bondurant and Greenlee to get their statements first.
In my experience with law enforcement, it is unusual that an officer would deliberately ignore a reporting party to first obtain a statement from a suspect.
Retired Police Chief and Detective for the State of Oregon Dean Muchow stated: “You, as a responding officer, want to know as much as possible about the accused before talking to them. You may only get one chance to communicate with them.” That is why you talk with the party who made initial contact first.
After obtaining statements from all involved parties, no citations were issued or arrests made.
Procedural Irregularities And Suspicious Actions
Bondurant has prior convictions for theft. At the time of this incident, he was on probation with a search clause — something Baglietto should have discovered. That means that his “person or property can be searched if the officer has a reasonable belief he may have controlled substances.” No reports indicated that Baglietto searched Bondurant’s bag that night.
It is suspicious that Baglietto, who should have known that Bondurant is on probation and has search terms for controlled substances (which means he has a history of drug issues) and who was told by Jason Libby that he thought Bondurant was flushing drugs in the bathroom, did not search Bondurant’s bag.
Understanding the MPD’s past with Jason Libby, it’s apparent why Baglietto did not search the backpack; Bondurant must not have been the officer’s suspect. The officer apparently was building a case against Jason Libby and either did not want, nor care, to find out what was in the bag.
According to Jason Libby, he had been told that there was no video evidence. But the night before trial, video was provided from an officer’s dash cam showing that Bondurant professed he didn’t want anything to do with this case. In other words, he was adamantly opposed to being involved in any way.
Baglietto can be heard telling Bondurant that he (Baglietto) would document that. The fact that Bondurant was adamantly refusing to be involved was never noted in any documents given to Jason Libby or his attorney, Nathan Wente.
Beyond not having any reason to be there that night except to escalate the situation, Greenlee did not have a valid driver’s license at the time. The officers reportedly knew that she didn’t and they knew she had driven to the scene. In fact, at the end of the video an officer can be heard telling Greenlee that he was not going to get involved in “her situation.” That same officer was then heard telling Greenlee to get in her car and drive it across the street. Greenlee was not cited or arrested for driving without a license, despite it being a crime to do so.
The MPD reportedly obtained copies of the security video from Weldon’s; however, the department did not turn over copies of the actual security video to the defense. Instead, it turned over its own “created” video, wherein it used a hand-held video recorder to record the security video as it was playing on its monitor.
The MPD specifically eliminated all security video prior to Jason Libby’s arriving at Weldon’s Cleaners. The MPD video eliminated the video footage of Bondurant entering the laundry mat and stealing an article of clothing on a countertop. The video eliminated the footage of Bondurant exiting the bathroom with his shirt off (corroborating that he had just bathed). The video eliminated the fact that Bondurant went rummaging through all the trash cans collecting items, including an empty laundry detergent bottle. It also eliminated the fact that Bondurant then re-entered the bathroom for a second time and did not come out again until after Jason Libby arrived nearly 10 to 15 minutes later.
Why was he in the bathroom for such a long time after bathing? Jason Libby believes he may have been manufacturing meth through a procedure called one-pot, backpack meth labs or shake and bake. One of the materials needed is an empty bottle, and plastic is sufficient. Remember the empty detergent bottle?
In response to Jason Libby’s harassment and fourth-degree assault charges being dropped, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz stated, “We had a less than cooperative victim in that case.”
Background: Don Libby’s Case
On Jan. 8, Baglietto contacted Don Libby in the Bella Vista Heights subdivision in Medford, Ore. Baglietto actually thought Don Libby was Jason Libby, according to information obtained. So in Baglietto’s mind, he was dealing with the same guy that he had just contacted the night before at Weldon’s.
Prior to Baglietto’s arriving, Don Libby had gone up a hill to check a construction site. He was killing some time before locking up a client’s business. Bella Vista had previously been a client; but at the time of this incident, the contract had expired.
Don Libby was just outside his car when he noticed a car coming down the hill from an area he knew to be highly trespassed — a large private lot at the top of the hill that overlooks the city of Medford. It is common for people to trespass there and do drugs, have sex, dump garbage, vandalize, etc.
As the car came down the hill, Don Libby used his flashlight to flag down the vehicle. It was disputed how this interaction took place; but all parties agree that, upon contact, the teenage driver rolled down his window and the strong odor of marijuana rolled out of the car. It was also disputed whether Don Libby identified himself as a security guard. Don Libby said he did; they said he didn’t.
Don Libby advised the occupants the area was a no-trespassing area, and they admitted to having used marijuana that night. He asked for their IDs to document that they had been advised that they were not supposed to be there.
Next, Don Libby asked the driver if he would step out of the car to do a quick eye test. It was while Don Libby was doing the eye test that Baglietto rolled up. Don Libby told Baglietto what he had observed, gave Baglietto the driver’s ID and then left the scene.
Baglietto indicated in his police report that he didn’t notice any impairment that would justify having the driver do field sobriety tests. However, Baglietto stated in his report, “Due to an odor of marijuana in the vehicle, I asked for consent to search.” Both “victims confirmed they smoked marijuana that evening… I suggested (the victims) leave on foot and return with a sober driver.” Why would they need a sober driver if they were not impaired?
After the police sorted out the mistake with the incorrect ID of Don Libby (again, Baglietto thought Don was his brother, Jason), Don Libby was charged with two counts of felony criminal impersonation. After a three-day trial, the jury found Don Libby not guilty on both counts.
Don Libby’s attorney, Wente, had done an exceptional job presenting the facts to the jurors.
Mainstream Media Bias And Government Contributions
You are presumed innocent until proven guilty — or at least that’s how the saying goes. But reality is far from the old saying. Mainstream media headlines such as “Twin Guards Face Accusations Of Exceeding Their Authority,” “Surveillance Video of Incident Leading To Security Guard Arrest…,” “Twin Brothers Face Various Crime Charges,” “Oregon Twins Accused Of Impersonating Police Officers…” clearly and intentionally implicate guilt.
Furthermore, the content in the articles named above touches far beyond innocent until proven guilty. You have government employees giving statements prior to a trial, which can greatly benefit other government (the prosecutor). “A citizen can make a citizen’s arrest,” explained Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau. “In these cases, we think it’s different because we think they’re [the Libbys] clearly going outside of what a citizen should do as far as arrest and also using force in inappropriate times.” Budreau said, “Private citizens cannot administer DUII tests, but they can detain someone for being under the influence.”
Wente addressed this statement during Don Libby’s trial and asked Baglietto to show him where in Oregon statues or any law it says you cannot administer DUI tests. There were no objections sustained, and no evidence or answer to support Budreau’s allegation that you cannot administer DUII tests. Yet that article may have been read prior to Don Libby’s trial by each and every juror.
Although it might seem unreasonable or strange for a security guard to ask someone if he is under the influence or to give an “eye test,” it’s not illegal. Wente stated he was “100 percent certain of this, which is why the prosecutor and MPD couldn’t prove it during trial.”
Several mainstream articles and news reports have alleged the Libbys’ guilt; even the reports that claim they were found innocent still portray guilt by quoting the prosecutors, police, etc. None of them mentions all of the evidence that is reported in this article — at least the evidence that proves the MPD was and is in the wrong. The only media that has stood by their side, conducted a thorough investigation and reported on it is the US~Observer.
To prevent future problems, Don Libby stated: “We have installed go-pro dash cams. Every time one of our vehicles are [sic] in use, the camera is on unless manually turned off.” They have “also purchased” video cameras for their person: the Taser Axon body camera. “We will be letting everyone know we are security officers and making sure they acknowledge during every encounter from now on.”
Let’s hope the MPD finds a way to preserve its evidence as well. That will save innocent people thousands of dollars since they won’t have to defend themselves, and the taxpayers will likely benefit by not funding very costly wrongful prosecutions.
Don Libby stated that they have “spent over $35,000 defending” themselves against the actions of the MPD. He also wanted to put the MPD on notice, saying: “My brother and I plan on filing a tort claim against the Medford Police Department, Chief Tim George and Officer Ernie Whiteman Jr. — independently.”
Editor’s Note: The US~Observer believes that not all officers at the MPD do wrong, and we are quite aware that there are good police. We have many friends in public service and appreciate their hard work. However, good MPD police need to realize that “a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch.”