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Calif. sheriff once said it's 'better financially' for officers to kill suspects than cripple them

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood was heard in a 2006 video saying it is better financially for officers to kill a suspect or inmate rather than cripple them. Youngblood is up for re-election in 2018, and KCDOA President Kevin Dees said they found the 12-year-old video while searching archives for broken campaign promises by Youngblood. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

The sheriff of what has been called "America's deadliest police" department once discussed how it is "better financially" for an officer to kill someone than it is for them to cripple them, a recently released archived video shows.

The video was released Monday by the Kern County (California) Detention Officers Association, and it shows Sheriff Donny Youngblood making controversial comments about police violence during an endorsement meeting in 2006.

What did he say?

Youngblood was asked about the training of detention officers during the meeting, and discussing reasons why they were trained more extensively than in the past.

"There's a good reason for that: millions and millions of dollars. You know what happens if a guy makes a bad shooting on somebody — kills them. Three million bucks and the family goes away.

"It's no different than when a deputy shoots someone on the streets, which way do you think is better financially? To cripple them or kill them, for the county?"

Someone in the audience answered, "Kill them."

Youngblood replied:

"Absolutely. Because if we cripple them we get to take care of them for life, and that cost goes way up."

How did the sheriff respond?

Acknowledging that the remarks sound bad, Youngblood maintains that his word were taken out of context and that he was not advocating or condoning unnecessary killing of inmates or suspects.

Youngblood said he was attempting to drive home the point that mistakes by detention deputies could be extremely costly. An example of that was a 2005 beating death of a Kern County inmate that resulted in criminal charges against the deputies.

"Do I wish I would have said it differently? I certainly do," Youngblood told Bakersfield.com reporter James Burger. "They weren't offended back then. Still, they are my words and I own them."

What was the motive for releasing the video?

The Kern County Detention Officers Association has endorsed Youngblood's challenger, Justin Fleeman, in the 2018 election. KCDOA president Kevin Dees said they found the 12-year-old video while searching archives for broken campaign promises by Youngblood.

Youngblood said he doesn't plan to attack Fleeman in retaliation, although he said he has "something I could use" against his opponent.


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