Rohnert Park Police Officers Being Investigated Following Two Incidents Where Humboldt County Cannabis Was Seized Under Suspicious Circumstances

Rohnert Park police officers Sgt. Jacy Tatum and Officer Joseph Huffaker have been placed on administrative leave and are under an internal investigation after a pair of articles we wrote describing allegations that officers had illegally seized Humboldt County grown cannabis during a traffic stop lead to an apparent cover up attempt. In our articles, Zeke Flatten drew attention to irregularities in the conduct of the police officers whom he alleges confiscated three pounds of cannabis from him on December 5 near the Mendocino/Sonoma County line.

Zeke Flatten

Zeke Flatten [Photo provided by him]

Part of the alleged cover up included accusing Mr. Flatten of transporting 30 pounds of cannabis. According to our investigation, these pounds belonged to a Humboldt County farmer whose product was also confiscated in a suspicious manner as it was being transported south in the latter half of December. Recently, Mr. Flatten says efforts have been made to intimidate his wife and silence him.

On February 11, we posted two stories about Mr. Flatten, who alleged that two law enforcement officers, including one that he believes “with almost certainty” to have been then Hopland Tribal Police Chief Steven Hobb, stopped him and illegally removed three pounds of Humboldt County cannabis from his rental vehicle a few miles north of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line. Hobb, who has left his position with the Hopland Tribe and is now working as an officer for the city of Clearlake denies this.

Mr. Flatten alleges he was pulled over about 10 miles south of Hopland by an unmarked black SUV on December 5. Two men got out of the vehicle dressed in green uniforms with raid style vests lettered with the word “POLICE.” They  seized the cannabis he was carrying without leaving an inventory of the items confiscated, and left him without searching his vehicle in “less than 5 minutes.” As they were leaving, one of the two men told him they were with the ATF, a federal agency that doesn’t recognize state cannabis laws.

Mr. Flatten, however, had worked extensively with the ATF on at least one case while he worked as an undercover officer. And, ironically, according to Mr. Flatten, the man’s parting words, while intended to squelch any complaints, actually made him more inclined to believe the stop was illegal. He said that the ATF are professionals who collect evidence properly, unlike the officers that had confiscated his three pounds.

Letter from Zeke Flatten to the Mendocino Grand Jury alleging police corruption.

Letter from Zeke Flatten alleging police corruption and detailing the dates beginning on December 8 when he had attempted to file a complaint. [Click to enlarge]

During the stop, both officers had handled Mr. Flatten’s rental car paperwork. Later, he carefully sealed the paperwork away to preserve any fingerprints on it. But, so far, no law enforcement agency has attempted to develop prints and match them with suspects.

After attempting and failing to get various agencies and departments to investigate what he felt was an illegal seizure, Flatten told us his story. (See the full stories we posted here and here.)

On February 13, two days after the stories were published, former Mendocino County Undersheriff Randy Johnson who was in charge of investigating Mr. Flatten’s allegations because it occurred in their jurisdiction sent us a press release he said showed that Mr. Flatten had actually been pulled over legally by the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety (Rohnert Park’s police force). He said the Mendocino Sheriff’s Department would no longer be looking into Flatten’s incident, because as he told us in a later interview, “Our investigation showed [the stop] was done by a legitimate agency.”

The press release issued by Rohnert Park described a marijuana seizure that occurred at some unspecified time in December. (Download and read the Press Release from Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety here.)  It did not name Zeke Flatten nor did it identify the date the stop allegedly occurred. According to the press release, the officers confiscated an unspecified but “large amount” of cannabis. However, there were no details that would link that stop to that of Mr. Flatten on December 5.

Sgt Jacy Tatum

Jacy Tatum being sworn in as a sergeant in 2015. [Photo from the City of Rohnert Park Police and Fire’s the Facebook page]

However, the press release gave a case number, RPK 17-5373, and named two Rohnert Park officers as contacts — Sgt. J. Tatum and Commander J. Taylor.

When contacted, Commander Jeff Taylor said he was unable to find the report on which the press release issued two days before under his supervision was allegedly based. He asked for more time.

After over a week of attempting to recontact him, on February 26, Commander Aaron Johnson of the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety responded to us but refused to answer any questions about the case. He did say that both Taylor and Tatum, the officers listed on the press release, were on medical leave.

In response to a public records act request, the city eventually responded 24 days later with the Incident/Investigation report for Case RPK 17-5373 as well as some though not all of the information requested. Though the report states that the stop occurred on December 5, the date Zeke Flatten had been pulled over, the time listed (1 p.m.) does not coincide with evidence Flatten provided us, which included a timestamped gas receipt for 11:50 a.m. in Hopland and records of a phone call made after the incident to his wife at 12:15 p.m. from the Starbucks parking lot in Cloverdale. His documents indicate the stop occurred around 12 p.m.

In addition, the vehicle listed in the report by Sgt. Tatum is a white Mercedes SUV that did not have a license plate. Flatten has a rental agreement corroborating his account that he was driving a white Kia with California plates.

Furthermore, though Flatten claimed that only three pounds were in his vehicle, the officer filing the report, Sgt. Jacy Tatum (who was also listed as a contact on the press release) claimed that a “total of approximately 30 pounds was located along with several hundred containers of concentrated marijuana hash.” In addition, the attached Evidence/Property Report showed Officer Joseph Huffaker had placed 30 pounds of marijuana into evidence. (Note: The “several hundred containers of concentrated marijuana hash” were not mentioned further but we later learned they hadn’t been confiscated.)

However, though the document claimed that the stop originated on December 5, the 30 pounds of marijuana they claimed they seized on that date wasn’t entered into evidence until December 19–two weeks later. Chain of custody rules require officers to document where seized evidence is kept. But, there was no explanation offered for where the 30 pounds of marijuana allegedly seized two weeks earlier had been located. [Read Sgt. Tatum’s account here.]

In addition, the Rohnert Park cases filed before and after the one listed on the press release were both dated December 19. Police report numbers are usually sequential and cases are normally filed in chronological order. Why would one that allegedly took place on December 5 be filed between two cases on December 19? Unless, of course, it did not take place on December 5 as claimed…

The officers’ account also does not list normal information gathered during a stop–the license of the driver, the VIN number or plate number of the vehicle, and the address of the driver.

The officer’s report though seemed at times very detailed. Sgt. Tatum described, for instance, that a California Highway Patrol officer and his trainee arrived at the scene to “assist us.” The details led this reporter to believe that the report likely described a real stop–but not one that involved Mr. Flatten.

Our investigation led to a Humboldt County farmer whose cannabis had been seized from the Mercedes Benz and, eventually, also the driver, both of whom wish to remain anonymous. The driver said he had gotten his temporary California cannabis permit and he had headed south in the last half of December from Humboldt County with 30 pounds and also with containers of hash.

He said he was stopped by two law enforcement officers in a black unmarked SUV. He said, “They were wearing almost civilian clothes, but they were wearing a tactical vest with their [personal] name on the vest.”

He said he was almost immediately suspicious. As with Mr. Flatten’s stop, the officers didn’t follow normal procedures. “[The officer] didn’t ask for my registration,” the Benz driver said. “He asked me immediately to get out of the car. He didn’t run my license.”

Officer Joe Huffaker

Officer Joe Huffaker after receiving “a lifesaving award” in 2015. [Crop of a photo on the City of Rohnert Park Police and Fire Facebook page]

When asked if he had any marijuana, he said he told the officer that he did but told the officer, “Everything is legal” and offered to show his manifest. The officers requested to see his cargo. One of the things the Benz driver said he found disturbing is the officers asked him several questions about what strains of marijuana he had and didn’t seem interested at all in the hash he was also carrying which seemed odd to him. The officers told him they were taking the marijuana but would leave him the hash. The Benz driver said because he felt he was legally transporting the 30 pounds of cannabis, he argued with the officers. “At least give me an inventory [of the items taken],” the Benz driver said he asked the officers. He said he intended to use the receipt from the officers to have his attorney argue for the return of the cannabis.

According to the Benz driver, one of the officers began to get hostile and started threatening that they could arrest him and also confiscate his hash. He said they told him that they were “associated with the federal government” and didn’t have to follow state law.

Eventually, said the Benz driver, a California Highway Patrol vehicle with two officers drove up and parked behind the first officers’ vehicle. Though the Benz driver never actually spoke to the CHP, at this point, he said he began to believe the stop must be legitimate and stopped arguing with the original officers. He left the scene still carrying the containers of hash but leaving behind the 30 pounds of cannabis with the officers.

He does say that afterward, like Mr. Flatten, he also called the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department and lodged a complaint. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department says they don’t have a record of either complaint.

Capt. Bruce Carpenter of the California Highway Patrol confirmed that two of his officers, though they couldn’t remember the exact date, did remember coming across the two Rohnert Park officers after the officers had pulled over the Mercedes Benz. He wrote, “They had no contact with the driver of the stopped vehicle and did not know what actions were ultimately taken by the Rohnert Park Officers.”

At the end of the Incident/Investigation Report filed by Sgt. Tatum, he states that the case was forwarded to the “DA’s Officer for filing.” However, an aide for the Sonoma County District Attorney told us, “I’ve looked every which way in our system and we do not have it.”

A report generated from Rohnert Park shows that Officer Joe Huffaker entered the 30 pounds of marijuana as “Found Property”–they were not originally booked as evidence but rather as incidental items. That, along with the officers’ failure to gather basic evidence such as the Mercedez Benz’s driver’s license number seems to indicate that the 30 pounds were never intended to be part of a criminal case.

Terry Simpson from Simpson Investigative Services Group contacted this reporter and Zeke Flatten several times during the course of what he characterized as an “Administrative Investigation for the City of Rohnert Park on the complaint of Mr. Flatten.”

Simpson said that he believes the two stories posted February 11 on this website detailing Mr. Flatten’s allegations about having three pounds of cannabis stolen by law enforcement officers led to the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety press release on February 13. He also revealed that he believes that the investigative report written by Sgt. Tatum which accuses Zeke Flatten of having “30 pounds…along with several hundred containers of concentrated marijuana hash” was not written until February 20, a week after the press release and around 11 weeks after Mr. Flatten was stopped by law enforcement on December 5.

Simpson stressed several times, verbally and in writing, that neither the City of Rohnert Park nor he were attempting to build a case against either Mr. Flatten or the Mercedes Benz driver. He did write to Mr. Flatten that “the officers are on Admin leave and will stay on it until I’m done.”

Later, he told this reporter, “People that are doing wrong are going to pay for it.” He stressed that did not at all mean Zeke Flatten or the Mercedes Benz driver.

At one point on this last Tuesday, he asked the question at the bottom of this investigation…”What the hell happened to Mr. Flatten’s 3 pounds?” Likely, only the officers involved in Zeke Flatten’s stop can answer that question…and they’re not talking.

Meanwhile, Mr. Flatten says that he discovered in the last week that his phone has been cloned. According to Slate Magazine, this lets the person with the clone “intercept incoming messages and send outgoing ones as if [the clone] were the original. If both phones are near the same broadcast tower, you can also listen in on calls.”

Over the weekend, Flatten wrote this reporter, “Everything I’ve done on my phone has been [sent] to another device for an undetermined amount of time. There’s evidence I’ve been under digital and physical surveillance and most likely they are aware [the clone] has been discovered.”

He also believes that his wife was followed in her vehicle and briefly cornered as an intimidation tactic. Flatten says he believes the cloning and the intimidation have occurred because someone “want[s] the rental contract and the potential fingerprint evidence.” He said that the rental car contract handled by the officers during his stop could lead to at least one other officer besides Sgt. Tatum and Officer Huffaker being involved in taking his three pounds and not entering them into evidence.

He has filed reports about the cloning and surveillance with both the police in the city he is staying in and the FBI.

 

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123 comments

  • Everyone acts as if this is a big surprise, these laws have been doing more than taking bud from folks , they steal cash all day everyday on the 101-99-36- etc and all over the 🇺🇸 but yet nobody really calls them by there correct label . Gang . They (police) are by far the biggest gang in America .

    • unbridled philistine

      I am grateful everyday to law enforcement! Few bad apples here and there…. But still I love our nation of laws. Who do you call for help? Remember that..

      • unbridled philistine- we can’t afford to have bad apples in law enforcement. must be nice that a gang of armed white guys brings you such feelings of comfort.. who are you so afraid of?

        rich white people who benefit from the status quo are afraid of the poor and people of color.
        the poor and people of color are afraid of the police, who have their boots on our necks while they serve the interests of the wealthy. so who do we get to call?

        it boils down to race and class, not law and order. get it??

        • unbridled philistine

          I am not afraid of anybody, But I am still happy there is group of people that can deal with the crack heads on the corner, The kind of people I would never deal with my self! So I for one am grateful that people want to do that work cause I do not want to and neither do most of you. Most of you guys sound like disgruntled dope growers who have a bone to pick with LE over some story from your past? Sorry too see the level of support most of you have…

          • Unbridled- why do these “crackheads on the corner” need to be dealt with? Does the suffering of someone less fortunate than you necessitate an armed response?

          • I too, am happy that people in costumes of violence can initiate brutality on others for making bad choices that harm themselves or traffic infractions to generate income for courts and prisons. Plus, the billions generated in assets forefeiture from the dope growers especially who are trying to make a living selling the devil’s cabbage to sick people in the highest opiod epidemic states. How are these pharmaceutical companies going to make any money if dirty cops can’t keep marijuanas off the streets? It just wouldn’t be America if we weren’t #1 at police brutality, and the world leader in imprisoned people per capita in the world!!!

        • You got something against white people ? You seem to like to judge people based on their skin color which is absolutely disgusting

        • Racist much…. whos the racist?find a mirror

          • Chess not checkers.

            Race has nothing to do with what happens up there with law enforcement get real. it’s a predominately White county, get out of the county and see what’s happening it’s every place, I’m fuckin white ive been ripped off by Leo in Humboldt county during a raid on my property years ago ripped me off and lied in there reports. I’ve also been beat up an robbed by police in different states and it had nothing to do with race, had to do with cops who take there jobs personally and bring their problems at home to work with them, it’s something that happens to anyone that runs into the wrong cop at the wrong time and place. They should make body cams with audio mandatory for all officers and if the cut it off at anytime during shift they should be reprimanded for it, we all need to be held accountable for our actions especially people in possisions of power, they can ruin someone’s life with what’s put in a report and then it’s up to you to fight your way out of it (if you have the money too). at the end of the day they should be under more scrutiny then any other profession out there it’s ground level for all cases state and federal the agents and officers should be recorded start to end of shift.

      • The full phrase is “a few bad apples ruin the bushel.”

        These aren’t isolated cases, they are the norm. I would rather have no cops than corrupt cops, end of story.

      • I don’t call the cops unless someone is already in extreme danger. In case you dont read other news, more often than not a call to the cops escalates into them hurting or killing someone that had nothing to do with the original call. Im almost 50 & have never had a cop actually help me when ive called so why risk someone getting hurt?

        Hopefully we dont have the secret jails that cops run on their own outside the law like the ones discovered on the east coast.

        Im just LMAO that they stole from an undercover cop!!
        To the rest of us this has been the norm for so long with no one believing it.

        Every single person I know who was busted on their land had cash and herb confiscated that never got listed in reports. Thats why they bust pot and cocaine as most meth and heroin labs have little cash on hand and nothing to take. I saw a cops type show on drug enforcement&one of the officers literally said that.
        Wonder why so many people get off on crimes? Sign your property over and charges are dropped. Its a capitalistic system we’re in that leads to this, money wins.

        Just a reminder, the sheriffs here, namely coroner jager, were stealing peoples estate items after they died and selling them to folks working in the courthouse. Thats for real and investigated by the state AG. It goes way deeper than that!!!

        • Sheriff and Deputies stealing estates from the deceased and not prosecuted . . . sounds like a Maggie Fleming stunt. The pretend Sheriff Honsel and Fleming tried to dump it off on the FBI. They said, Nay, nay. Nest stop – the State (maybe AG?). And the penalty? “The County” was charged $17,500.

      • Grateful for law enforcement over stepping there boundaries!? Grateful for officers with deep racism mishandling legal citizens, even too the degree of death..? Grateful for officers that steal, lie, and then get away with it..!? You’re grateful for a system in which we not only allow a group of people to control the laws, but however they decide to interpret those laws as well?!?? How can anyone be grateful for handing your freedoms and liberties too a group of “enforcers” that only enforce what they decide too.. I’d love too see your gracious attitude when swat raids your home for lettuce in the trash can and treats you like a piece of shit. Destroy your home, find nothing, and then leave without a single sorry because they still believe you’ve done wrong and they just didn’t catch you yet. Wondering if you’d still be grateful when you attempt too sue for the unnecessary damages caused to your home and family only to be thwarted in all directions, lied too, and then followed and intimated just for trying to right what’s been wronged from you.

        Just use your brain.. any police force can decide too ruin your life and your neighbors perception of you all while never admitting any wrong nor proving any wrong. How would you feel having to prove you did nothing wrong while the police don’t need to prove anything one way or another. Whether you did or didn’t do anything wrong.. how can one provide proof of no wrongdoing, when it’s the police that should provide proof of wrong doing.. asset forfeiture is an easy thing for police to walk away with and a impossible thing for those wronged to prove they were wronged..

        At any point your home could be taken for any reasoning and you would be left attempting to prove your innocence while the other side need not prove anything either way..🤔

        I’m just sooooooo grateful we live in a legal political system in which one man or woman must fight the entire police force and a system in which police are there for the police only and the citizens are merely the product the law enforcement has the entitlement to sell. Half the time an arrest is a sale of your own freedom and rights. One of which the law enforcement profits from the sale immaculately. Leo’s are life’s buyers and sellers, not indifferent to Slavery in most cases, and there profits come from the sale of someone’s freedoms…

        Many are great men doing there job, but I’ve met far more officers that are solely there too progress themselves. Whether through financial means, arrest numbers, or theft of lives/items for personal profit..

        • Remember Dave Anderson (CHP)?

          • Veterans friend

            I certainly do😠

          • Lost Croat Outburst

            Remember Chief Dave Gunderson of the former Blue Lake Police Dept.?

            This is a very sad development. We need police, but we don’t need crooks in uniform; it sort of negates the whole idea of public trust and stuff. Isn’t that obvious?

            Maybe get Jeff B. Sessions III as a character witness.

      • I call the law office of Smith & Wesson.

      • I would never dial 911 for help . Never have in 40 years .

        • unbridled philistine

          I agree with you! One should not depend on a telephone to protect oneself or family… That said I am the kind of person a criminal would walk around to find an easier target. My wife sees a dirtbag in Eureka and reaches over and locks the door and I said” I am a much better of a safety device then that lock ever can be” So I have learned that other people have much harder time to avoid bad people then I. On top of my white priv I get special treatment for being tall and in shape for sure..

        • A armed society of citizens is a safe society

      • Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters of the dissappearing bag! Ain’t nuttin’ in blue towns we pay our fair share however we can. Come on, share some love with the peace officers. Give a bag for good measure.

        https://reason.com/archives/2018/04/25/chicago-debt-impound-cars-innocent

      • Veteran's friend

        I call my friends. They don’t rob me, arrest me or intimidate me.

      • I turn to community. Not the croooked killer rapist cops. There’s no such thing as bad apples. Some organizations are just plain toxic. Our whole justice system is a joke. Judges paid cash by the prison industrial complex to send our youth to prison. Rich get away with environmental destruction, pollution, war, killing of innocent. This is the world you see as protecting you. From so called evil. That evil is the psychosis of the state of human kind. We love to breed our anger and sickness on the world. Look deeper. See the truth. We are projecting our fears on the world. It’s not working.

      • I am also greatful to law enforcement for being out there for us but that does not give them the right to illegally stop people and confiscate anything to benefit themselves. Are these 2 officers being paid while on administrative leave? I hope they have to pay it back if they are able to prove that that they stole from these 2 people. How many more are out there that they stole from? Any time a government official gets paid they also accrue vacation, sick leave and retirement no matter what they are paid for.

        • Chess not checkers.

          And before I see a bunch of people talking shit I beleave In law and order we need laws and enforcement I’m not against them, I just know there’s a special place in hell for dirty cops and child molesters they are the lowest forms of life on the planet, (know that all dirty cops that are reading this now in the county) even in the worse prisons with the worse criminals you fuckers get no rest, [edit]

      • Chess not checkers.

        I don’t call those MF’rs unless I want more problems, I’m with the rest 42 years on this planet not once has a cop ever been there when I needed them. Only when I don’t need them are they there to give me a hard F’in time. I enforce my own laws on my property F.U !!!!

    • SoHumMountainRanger

      Thank you! The police are definitely the biggest, nastiest gang in America. I hope these two bandits get in some serious trouble with the FBI.

    • Look in this age of tech officers whereabouts should always be tracked with gps bodycam trackers etc. They know where they are at all times etc

  • I'd like to file a complaint ..

    Holy shit ! Gonna take me two reads to digest the amount of manipulation, lies and irony, and the impressive Ace detective work (on YOUR PART!)

  • Good work Kym. Watch your back.

  • Outstanding reporting. Well done. Thank you, Kym.

  • A lot of back and forth on this story. At first sounds like illegitimate stop and then maybe it was legal What is RP PD doing interdiction 10 miles south of Hopland and now they are on leave and under investigation? How does one determine that their phone has been cloned ? A lot of to do over 3 lbs.

    • Kudos to the man who lost the 3 lbs. He did a lot more than insist on getting his pounds back. He make the corruption surrounding detective Tatum be brought to light!!!I’m glad to see that Tatum is finally being held responsible for his actions. He has been a bad seed and corrupt cop from the beginning. He’s responsible for most of the officer involved shooting deaths of people in rp. And was found not guilty on every single one even tho his victims were shot and killed from behind as they tried to run from him. Or better yet what about the mentally unstable mother who was shot and killed in front of her son because she had a razor blade and was saying she wanted to take her own life. These are just a couple different situations involving detective Tatum that should never have gone unpunished. The truth is he is a corrupt cop and has been for a very long time and RPPD has covered up/ hidden/ not released most of his wrong doings and it is about time that they are forced to deal with it. My hat’s off to the gentleman who forced the issue of corruption that has been plaguing my city for so long!

  • Ann Constantino

    Thank you Kym. Great job.

  • Happens all the time

    I know if at least three people this has happened to in the past. Before you didn’t have a leg to stand on and you knew they would make your life miserable if you tried. Now someone finally had a leg to stand on. So glad the victim came forward with their story. And 10 toes is right, cash gets taken too.

    • Right on, I was actually a victim of this in laytonville in 2008 and they took half a box an no confiscation paper…. and folks said I was full of it …. it’s 2018 everyone now has a smart phone or camera ontheir hands / phone .makes it easier to be a snitch or snitching indirectly and not even be aware of it , Best thing now is to get a front and rear recording dash camera at the electronic store to document all driving on interstates and highways , my buddy did and beat a case In Arizona when he got pulled for “tail gating “ and they found bud during the stop . Case was dismissed but bud wasn’t given back lol.

  • I am confused about where the two vehicles (Mr Flatten and the Mercedes Benz) were pulled over? It seems like it was in the vicinity of Cloverdale or just north of the Sonoma County line? Either way, what would Rohnert Park police be doing up there? Where does the police report list the location of the 30lb confiscation? Seems if nothing else the Rohnert Park police would be explaining what their officers are doing pulling someone over so far from their jurisdiction (?)

    • Perhaps you should read the story.

      • I did read the story in its entirety – just confused about where the police allege they were pulled over vs where the two individuals claim they were pulled over and if the locations differ. Obviously something very screwy went on here but it was never discussed what Rohnert Park police are doing so far north in the first place.

    • James Marmon MSW

      Almost all of Cloverdale’s small police department was out on administrative leave at the time because of an Officer Involved Shooting where they blasted away at some poor prowler. Cloverdale’s Police Chief had previously worked in Rohnert park and requested assistance from her former agency. Looks like they were out on the 4 lane looking to boost their income, it was right after harvest time, shit was moving up and down 101, they wanted a piece of the action I suspect. My brother said he saw them out on the freeway pulling people over right and left, he too wondered what the hell they were doing so far north.

    • Ye ol smartypants

      Yes, between hopland and cloverdale… where tatum hides all the time… everyone knows who he is, where he is, and to hide your cash… he tried to pull me over there before… lights and all… i just kept going… and he pulled off into the dirt… I wasnt stupid enough to let him stop me there… most people know he hits that spot because cellphones dont work there… so you cant dial 911 and request help

  • Did Mr flatten have weed taken from him that was legally grown with a permit and that he was selling to a licensed dispensary ? If he didn’t then all this is sour grapes because he got busted. Of course Kym will give him the spotlight as a victim.

  • Humboldt County’s Internal Affairs Division (as well as Arcata’s, Eureka’s, Fortuna’s, etc) should have their funding doubled. Too many dirty cops here. Be careful investigating them, Kym- they tend to be vindictive.

  • Very newsworthy…maybe a 20-20 program. Would they confiscate cases of wine or booze or beer from a car? Would someone need a special permit to transport many cases of alcohol to a wedding or a private or public party? I think not…

  • Oh, wow!

    Keep pushing this story into the public domain, and push hard.

    Good job Kym, and Mr. Flatten.

    When police are the criminals too, it’s a shit battle to prove it, I really hope this gets the attention and investigation it deserves.

    • Absofreakinglutely so & the sooner the better!!! We need to be able to have faith that the LEO’s are on our side & NOT their own!!!

  • Excellent investigative reporting, Kym. Well done. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    “Feb 26…He did say that both Taylor and Tatum, the officers listed on the press release, were on medical leave.”

    “Simpson….did write to Mr. Flatten that “the officers are on Admin leave and will stay on it until I’m done.”

    Med/admin? Still getting paychecks?

  • Excellent work, Kim! Hold their feet to the fire!

  • I’m a fairly simple person so bear with my ignorance. What does the Rohnert Park matter have to do with the Hopland matter? It seems evident that none of the players are the same – different drivers, different officers, different cars, different police agencies…? Or is the point of lumping them together to try and describe some “bigger” multi-agency drug-stealing conspiracy? I also fail to understand why RP would issue a press release describing the incident on the day of, if the ultimate scheme was to try and steal 30# of marijuana, as described in the article. Basically I’m just confused. The point here is that some officers are making fraudulent stops and stealing marijuana (allegedly) but I am having a hard time following the sequence of events and introducing a second agency and other drivers into the story makes Pike Mortar’s head hurt.

    • From my cursory read of the article, I believe it was the “alleged” crooked cops in a desperate attempt at damage control who mixed the two stories together. They are caught redheaded and they are attempting to recreate a paper trail from two different “busts”. If these two aren’t found guilty of something, it will reflect very poorly on the RPPD. The reporter did an excellent job of teasing the truth out of this sordid mess.

    • Wow you are confused. Maybe you should re-read the article all over again

  • Kudos to Mr Flatten for having the guts to speak up about this and to Kym Kemp for having the guts to investigate and report on it.

  • groba dude osnt trustafarian

    Zeke Flatten’s story is a crock, and I am not able to understand what he could possibly gain from his mission to expose “corruption” among sworn officers. If he has proof, video, audio, witnesses or whatever, then fine. Other than that, he needs to let this go.

    My personal experience tells me that drug addicts tell lies, endlessly, and they love to create drama. It is a part of their disease, their personality disorder.

    This drug transporter will say anything at all, and he merely wants notoriety. He is lucky he was not prosecuted, and he does not have anything to say that is factual.

    If cops are crooked, they will eventually not be working as cops.

    Don’t believe these lies, consider the source. Zeke Flatten would be well advised to be careful, going forward, and he probably shouldn’t return to Mendo…

    • He seems to have some proof, if nothing else, he has proven that these cops did not maintain what must be required documentation involved in detaining people and confiscating property. What do you base your claims on?

      • Groba dude trustafarian osnt

        I admit that the police have poor records. Also, the stories don’t match at all…

        Who’s more credible, a drug trafficking storyteller, or a police supervisor? Drug addict with wacky story, or sworn officers?

        The original story was incredible, now even more stuff has been made up to order.

        I don’t buy Flatten’s stupid story, and he is lucky not to be in jail.

        • Dude, you have no imagination.

          • groba dude osnt trustafarian

            AND, I imagine Mr Flatten will get no one fired, and I imagine he will not get his product back. And I imagine we will never know the truth, there will be no trial, and that Mr Flatten is full of shit up to his hairline.

            How is that for imagination?

            I actually witnessed two CHP officers running and gunning in Lake County last August, they profiled me (longhair in Acura) in about a second, pulled me over in about 20 seconds, stuck nose in car, smelled no weed, let me go, and had a Toyota Tacoma 4×4 pulled over in about 60 more seconds, which they commenced to search very quickly…

            I did not have time to watch further, but it was unusual behavior, for CHP, and I still wonder what they may have done with the rest of their shift…

            I agree that times are crazy, and if you are gonna transport, you need a dashcam.

        • He does have their fingerprints on his rental car agreement. That pretty much says it all right there.

        • Groba dude [edit] clearly live in a bubble and have no idea about the outside world. I live where Tatum is a cop and Tatum is a corrupt cop and a bad seed. [edit]

      • groba dude osnt trustafarian

        What proof are you referring to?

        The story on both sides is inconsistent, and Flatten changes his account from report to report.

        I would say that the reporting could be flawed, which is absurd because Kym does not make this stuff up, the records from the police staff could be incorrect or misfiled or misremembered, and I have no explanation for the mismatch is the stories, OR, Mr Flatten could have made a lot of stuff up, lied about everything, told a wild story, and then raised a fuss because he was righteously out of a bit of product (which was originally 3 pounds, but is now more popularly known as 30 pounds!)(and, apparently, some hash oil).

        I just don’t believe Mr Flatten, and I don’t think he is able to prove anything at all. And that he never will, and no cops will be fired. I tend to trust sworn officers, but I am not a lawbreaker, in general, and Mr Flatten appears to think that he is exempt, for whatever reason…

    • And which officer are you?!

  • I have a relative that was fired from San Jose pd for brutality and things that may be similar to these type of allegations. Him and his fellow crime partners(cops), were eventually all fired. No criminal charges were filed though.

  • Friedrich Nietzsche 1844-1900

    “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”

  • PLEASE PLEASE KEEP PUTTING THIS STORY OUT THERE……EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW WHO AND WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH. ITS ONLY FAIR!!!!

  • I’ve been illegally pulled over by Jacy for no reason..Same spot.. He kept asking where the pot was.. But there was t any… Searched my vehicle.. He was very rude.. And after he let me go he sped past me and pulled over the guy directly ahead of me..

  • Veteran's friend

    If any of y’all think cops are above reproach, I direct your attention to Joeseph James DeAngelo.
    As a police officer he murdered 12 & raped 50 and escaped justice for over 40 years….til yesterday!

  • Great story. Best local news reporting since Will Houston’s story on how the Trump Administration destroyed the local committee that advises on Trinity River water issues. Thanks and keep up the great work.

  • It’s about time!! I have heard several firsthand accounts about these particular officers and others in their department doing stuff like this. It’s been going on for at least a couple years that I’m aware of. They must be sitting on piles of cash. I wonder who they have reselling all the Cannabis they’ve been stealing.

  • Dirty cops <3 OH NEVER 😉 !!! When in reality there are so many who are thieves, drunks, rapists, wife beaters, child molesters, and murderers it really is a tragedy. Sure there are a few "good" ones but more often than not are very shady. MCSO CEO slamming beers at Applebees walked out to his car and drove off with a smile just last week. As far as the 101 gauntlet area I myself was pulled over in this area… Even though Cloverdale it was a HEALDSBURG cop found a shoe box hoping it was,weed. I told him several times I didn't have what he wanted. He insisted called in CHP and kept looking. Found DIDDLY SQUAT and raced off to pull a fancier SUV over. Dirty cops are a dime a dozen. Remember Daniel Holtsclow, he raped women after pulling them over. It is easy to hide behind a badge and in fact many are never caught or are allowed to do what they want without the CO blinking an eye. Fat retirement pensions for all!!! Yippie <3

  • Hey Kym, What’s the difference (in the law) between ‘found’ and confiscated? And, what happens with items logged as ‘found’?
    I regret that this has happened to Mr Flatten and his family. I’m sure this has turned life sideways. There is a part of me that has a lot of respect for the fortitude it will take to ride the transition through Prohibition.
    I say this understanding the loss already of so many, over the years, as has been spoken of in the above replies.
    It does seem wise that permited transporters carry front and rear recording dash cameras. A hard way to learn what seems like the necessities of the trade.
    Hoping for a positive, and safe outcome.

  • In a web full of commentary and fluff, this is First Person Reporting of the.. well, of the first class!

  • San Quentin Time

    I will repeat this one more time;
    Meanwhile in Eureka real criminals sell Meth and Heroine on every street corner. A house is getting burglarized, 5 cars were stolen. Mentally Ill patients walk around the streets aimlessly with knives and guns, children are being robbed of their lunch money. THE illegal Sex Trafficking continues at the cheap bed bug infested Motels, gangs run the West and East Side of town, and MS 13, Surenos, Northerners and Mexican Mafia run the states largest heroine ring in Fortuna. But hey, go get the pot growers!
    I sure am glad they are busting the cannabis farms, It really makes me put faith in the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. I feel a lot safer knowing this Cannabis isn’t growing and destroying the community. What a joke, they have zero priorities, except the priorities of assets forfeiture and filling the deputies pockets with crisp $100 bills, shhhhh don’t tell anybody or they just might show up at your house shoot you and plant a gun on your corpse claiming “the suspect pointed the weapon at me so I had to stop him” They don’t call it shooting any more they call it “stopping the suspect”….. then their “Deputy Coroner” will show up at the mortuary to “examine the body” and claim “yup, everything the deputies say is true”, after all the Coroner is a member of the Deputy Sheriff”s Association, all part of the old ” i’ll scrub your back if you scrub mine

  • Cops like this are why Chris Dorner was celebrated as a hero before the cops finally killed him. We need more Chris Dorners actually. Anyone remember what happened to Tommy Mclain on his own front lawn. I do.

  • A big component of this story is being completely overlooked, that an innocent person (Hobbs) was falsely accused of a crime, with his image blasted all over the internet, before there was any real evidence. His accuser used an image from a website to base his accusations, without any supporting facts. This is a dangerous method of getting a “story” out, and one that could have destroyed an innocent man’s current and future profession. Yes there was an incident that needs to be investigated in a professional way, with actual facts and not random accusations. The jury of the internet can be brutal.

    • If law enforcement would like to develop prints from the rental contract and investigate this matter, then we could see whether Mr. Flatten’s accusations have merit. If law enforcement doesn’t investigate, was Mr. Flatten supposed to sit quietly and ignore what he knew was wrong? He still strongly believes Hobb was the officer that stopped him. The rental contract is still available for investigation. If I were Mr. Hobb and innocent, I would be demanding those fingerprints be developed. As far as I know, he hasn’t.

      • There is always civil court to bring allegations into the light rather than using the press.

        • But my job is the press and I believed Mr. Flatten’s accusations were worthy of being explored and they weren’t being investigated. So I did. And so far the accusations being in the press have led to the City of Rohnert Park investigating two officers. At this point, I have had several people reach out to me with further stories of cannabis being taken and disappearing. We’ll keep investigating what’s going on.

        • Lost Croat Outburst

          The whole idea of a free press is to shed light on alleged grievances and problems. It’s called “America” and we’re supposed to be “Americans”. To quote Jake Tapper: You didn’t know that? Not even Halfway through the Trump presidency and we are going down the drain like last night’s bongwater. Just throw it away, man.

      • its relatively easy to use fingerprint powder to develop the prints.. any boomer who had a gilbert chemistry set could do the required steps(which were one of the experiments).. and a smart phone camera can then photograph them.. problem is access to AFIS..(automated fingerprint identification system) to actually id the prints or collect items from the suspects that bear their prints also for comparison if no AFIS access …

        just sayin
        anon

  • struggles real!

  • It’s not the same game anymore. This has been happening for decades but because there was no legal way to transport, the citizens had no way of fighting back. Well now they can. Good job Kym.

  • The 4th Estate at its finest. Excellent work Kym!

  • Do you think that they intercepted the second white vehicle looking for mj in an attempt to obtain mj to replace the previous ‘evidence’ they no longer had and couldn’t produce for inventory to log the Flatten incident? Just a theory!!

    Great investigating Kym!!

  • Apd can’t solve crimes of black men dieing or won’t when 80,000 cash goes missing was it somebody they know and are protecting and serving their own.

  • Cops got kids in college to feed.

  • This happened to my partner and nephew on 101 in Sonoma. Same guy (Tatum) pulled him over and took something like 6 pounds headed to an Oakland dispensary. He poked around and found that these guys have a effin’ fence who takes the stolen cannabis and sells it.

    So all you idiots talking about how the boys in blue are so honorable – stuff it. I have cop friends and they’re honorable guys. I’d trust them. But these shenanigans are really beyond the pale.

    Good story, Kym!

  • I like your reporting Kym and know you do a good job so I’m assuming you fact checked Benz story and saw a copy of his paperwork for the transportation of the weed.

    • I did not. That’s why it says, “The driver said he had gotten his temporary California cannabis permit” It doesn’t say, “The driver did have his temporary cannabis permit.”

  • I like your reporting Kym and know you do a good job so I’m assuming you fact checked Benz story and saw a copy of his paperwork for the transportation of the weed and verified with the dispensary that they were buying it from him.

  • That’s not all.
    I have it on absolute certainty that Humboldt Pot Cops have stolen extremely valuable assets during CDFW raids.
    Dirty cops, hopefully they will fess up.

  • Rose Fulkerson

    these two assholes are the same ones who illegally sezied my children I honestly believe and for good reason that there was money involved

  • Officer Jacy Tatum illegally pulled me over on the 101 a while back for “travelling too close to the vehicle in front of me” during rush hour traffic. He said he smelled marijuana (which was complete BS. but hey, that’s probable cause, right). I had a rental minivan filled to the brim with boxes of mine and my wife’s belongings. Jacy Tatum used his “probable cause” to pull every box out of that van to diligently search through everything in that vehicle. When his multiple hour search turned up empty, he was obviously not happy. He slapped me with a traffic ticket and left an enormous (van-worth) mess on the side of the 101 to clean up on the side of the road. What a way to begin a cross country trip. I remembered his name and just got the random idea to Google him today. Glad to see justice being served!

    His disregard for the Constitution had my opinion of law enforcement forever changed.

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