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FROM THE EDITOR: Sheriff’s campaign turns into soap opera (already)

Remember the last election for sheriff? It was ugly. Fun to cover, but ugly.

First, there were the missing, stolen and vandalized signs. Every cop and his brother it seemed was sneaking around at night and stealing signs.

But that wasn’t the half of it. One candidate, Ted Holmes, was arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer during the run-up to the election.

Later he sued the county and settled his case out of court. But the damage was done.

The fact is, Holmes was a candidate, he was arrested, and then his arrest was unceremoniously blasted on YouTube for all the world to hear. Politics doesn’t get much uglier or shameless than that.

Then there was Scott Cobel. He was the highway patrolman looking to upset DeMeo. Didn’t happen, but again, it appears the DeMeo faction used a little muscle to bend the race a bit.

Cobel’s daughter, remember, was detained by police for a time after a little teenage party got loud enough to lure DeMeo’s posse over to the crib. Needless to say, it seemed to a few people to be politically motivated.

Well, as much as I loved 2010’s crazy antics, 2014 is shaping up to be a bruiser, too. So hold on tight, public.

The first signs of the sheriff’s campaign going full-blown negative emerged just in the last few weeks with a group of Rick Marshall opponents — Marshall, if you aren’t aware, is the assistant sheriff, blessed with DeMeo’s endorsement, who appears so far to be the front-runner in the race (he’s also an expert sign grabber) — opening a Facebook page under the nom de guerre, Anthony Butrick.

Not the name I would have chosen. I would have gone with something about Marshall’s short stature, maybe a clever play on his nickname — Inch High Private Eye. But these are cops, not English majors.

“Anthony Butrick” is a play on words of sorts, because the group’s real name is “Anybody But Rick.” Get it? This group advocates that if after the primaries the sheriff’s race is between Marshall and, say, a lost seagull, we should all vote for the seagull.

They have videos on YouTube as well. Three of them to be exact.

The first one used a lot of our headlines, stories that did not exactly portray the current Nye County Sheriff’s Office leadership in a kind light. Poor Tony.

The second one was about a little problem Marshall ran into as a young police officer in Ventura County, Calif. in 1986.

Marshall found himself embroiled in controversy when a woman claimed he made advances toward her during a police stop in a public park.

I’ve heard this story from Marshall’s own lips. He says he was exonerated by a court. Though, he did resign his position after the ordeal. What that means, I’m not sure. Funny thing with cops is when they get in trouble, they can be found innocent by a judge, but still get hammered and forced to resign by their own internal affairs department. Happens here all the time. Marshall has assured me he didn’t leave because he was in trouble.

Besides, it was 1986. What is that, 28 years ago? I was in the sixth grade.

The third video is the best, in my high opinion. After attacking Marshall’s past, the group goes after what really could be the Marshall campaign’s Achilles heel (doubtful.)

His name is Antonio. He’s a Mexican-American of some stature inside the Nye County Detention Center. And apparently, he’s a bad, bad hombre.

Mark “Antonio” Medina is the lieutenant in charge of the local jail. He was a sergeant in charge of internal affairs before being promoted last year.

Anybody But Rick thinks Medina is a cerdo asqueroso (see Google Translate), and they attempt to prove as much using the man’s own private Facebook page for political fodder.

Poor Tony (DeMeo, not Antonio).

Apparently Antonio has quite the sense of humor. The video reveals all manner of sexist, racist, homophobic, you name it, jokes. Some of them Marshall may have mistakenly laughed at publicly a few times. Or took part in.

Cops tell dirty, disgusting, racist jokes? Shocking!!!!!

The video opens with this line “Birds of a Feather.” The first example of Medina’s low-grade humor is seen about 20 seconds in, a photo of a man sitting at a computer pointing toward the kitchen (I’m assuming) with a cute woman in her underwear looking sad at him, the caption underneath reads “Women don’t belong on the Internet. Back to the kitchen, bitch.” The word “bitch” is blurred out.

This is a family-friendly political attack.

There are other sexist jokes, poking fun at breast cancer, women drivers, hot female cops, hot Republican women, well-endowed women, lesbian women (of which there are a few working inside the NCSO; that must be comfortable). Typical locker room humor.

After flashing a few of these jokes, some dating back four years, the video poses the question, “Is He Alone in His Feelings?”

Then the video shows a pretty innocuous joke by Marshall sent to Medina, who responds with a much more funny joke about killing Muslims. I say funny, because it kind of is — if I’m 18 and serving in Afghanistan. After that, a photo of Medina and Marshall is shown, Medina’s “Past in California” is what the group says it plans to reveal next.

Yawn. Will that be from 1986, too?

Check the videos out for yourself. Not much there. But then again, it’s still early.

And that’s the point. I shudder to think what’s coming.

Sure, Medina’s jokes are tasteless. But he’s not running for sheriff.

Medina certainly has his issues with women apparently. And that does raise questions about whether this is reflected in his treatment of female subordinates and female inmates at the jail. If it is, then game on and shame on him and shame on Marshall for letting that happen.

But so far I fail to see the connection to Marshall’s campaign.

I do not feel any sympathy for Marshall or Medina. Politics is a blood sport. Marshall is a big boy (despite his nickname).

He can give as sure as he can get and Medina didn’t get where he is without taking a few licks, either.

What concerns me, however, is what this does to the public’s perception of its sheriff’s office, an office already tarnished. What this negativity does to the young deputies on the street, who care not about politics but about public safety, that worries me, too.

So, let me just put this out there, guys and gals, let’s have a nice campaign based on the merits and the good things you can do for us, the public. All this other stuff, just save it for the locker rooms.

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