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Big Bear Sheriff's DepartmentBig Bear Woman Severely Beaten and Burned in Custody by Sheriff's Dept. for Suspicion of an “Annoying Phone Call”

Big Bear Woman Severely Beaten and Burned in Custody by Sheriff’s Dept. for Suspicion of an “Annoying Phone Call”

October 14, 2009 at 9:10 pm


Mission Statement:
To provide a vital source of information and an open forum to Big Bear Valley citizens and business owners so that injustice, corruption, and profit-seeking motives don’t drown out the majestic beauty of the mountain, personal and business prosperity, and the ability to exercise their constitutionally-guaranteed civil rights.

It is not the mission of this paper to fight the “bad guys” but to empower the “good guys” with the confidence to stand up for themselves in the face of conflict.

I want to hear from you. Your voice is integral to the success of this paper.

The launch of this online newspaper is dedicated to John & Gail Elerding ….
~ who listened to my voice with an open mind and an open heart.
~ who never stopped believing in me (even when their business, TJ’s Custom Woodwork in Big Bear City, came under fire).
~ who offered me a safe haven, warm bed, a consistent stream of silly jokes, a strong shoulder to cry on, valuable resources and advice, and most of all, an unwavering source of hope.

It’s my opinion that, no matter your belief system, the Elerdings personify the love of God in action. This is for them with an endless amount of gratitude.

Erin K. Baldwin, Editor-in-Chief

My Story:
On October 8, 2009, I was picked up and detained (later arrested) by the Big Bear Sheriff’s Department as a “suspect in an annoying telephone call.” Gail Elerding asked the officer, “Did you trace the call to her phone?” Deputy Morsch sheepishly answered, “No.” So why was I a suspect? Why were there three Sheriffs on the scene and one plain-clothes private investigator? To whom did I place the “annoying phone call”? I never received answers to these questions and still don’t know on what basis I was “detained for questioning, ” later arrested, severely beaten and burned, then sent to West Valley Detention Center for arraignment on unknown charges.

However, my belief (based on facts collected) is that the trumped-up charges and resulting false imprisonment were in direct retaliation for previous complaints I made against the Big Bear Sheriff’s Department “Fraternity of Good ‘ol Boys” for unlawful and meritless actions of intimidation fueled by personal monetary gain to the Sheriffs in question. This is not a random act of violence and peace officer criminal activity; rather, a methodically planned and orchestrated attempt to imprison me for my consumer and tenants rights advocacy efforts dating back to November of 2008.

Approximately ten days before the phone call incident, I had filed a complaint against Deputy Michael Ray McCracken and Sergeant Bryan Lane for an unfounded and harassing investigation on what they called a “citizen’s arrest warrant” for assault (not committed in their presence) written and filed by Bernadine Krueger, a long-time resident of Big Bear City.

On September 17, 2009, Bernadine Krueger, falling down drunk at 8:00 a.m., called the Sheriff stating I was threatening her life. I was a roommate of Ms. Krueger and a couple weeks before she had “fallen off the wagon” as she had done many times before and had caused many people problems according to John Day, chaplain of the Big Bear Sheriff’s Department. Dutifully, Deputy Meelker arrived on the scene, found no evidence of assault or wrongdoing on my part, watched me pack my belongings and stayed until I was safely outside waiting for a pick up ride from the Elerdings.

So why on September 23, did a covert investigation including interrogation of my clients and landlord (before even talking with me) begin by maverick, unstable, and chemically-challenged Deputy Michael Ray McCracken when he wasn’t present at the incident nor read Meelker’s report?

[All details of all incidents beginning in July when I moved up to Big Bear for the specific purpose of attaining some peace and serenity will be discussed in continuations of my story over the next weeks. The back story began in November of 2008 as I fought fraud in loan modifications and UDR tenant oppression via my blog Bad Biz Finder.

These details will include an assault against me by Keith D. White, a Prudential Properties of Big Bear real estate agent and his wife, Patricia A. White, an employee of Cornerstone Mortgage Company in Houston, Texas. The entire incident was caught on surveillance camera in Starbucks at Interlaken Plaza. The Whites quickly sued ME to obtain a temporary restraining order against me for actions they committed.]

But for here, suffice it to say, McCracken broke many laws and since he’s presently on probation for Driving Under the Influence “DUI”), he may not have been in a competent state of mind to be performing services on behalf of the Big Bear Sheriff’s Department.

The next day I filed a complaint against him and Sergeant Lane came out to the house to investigate. He spent 45 minutes covering up for McCracken and lying about the legalities of McCracken’s actions – so I filed a complaint against Lane that went to Lt. Bechtel who essentially ignored it.

In Big Bear, I have found, you just don’t mess around with the cowboy-vigilante-gunslinger rogue Sheriffs. On the day of the annoying phone call incident, I was followed and “detained for questioning” in handcuffs and thrown in a holding cell at Big Bear Sheriff’s Department on Summit Boulevard. When I arrived at the station, Deputy Morsch informed me that I was actually “under arrest, ” however; neither he nor anyone else read me my Miranda rights until several hours later. I, however, recited my Miranda rights to anyone who tried to bully me into answering questions, sign papers, take pictures, get fingerprinted, and so on, without the presence of an attorney.

From early evening October 8 to late morning October 9 I was severely beaten by Deputy Morsch, Deputy Massey, Deputy Long, Deputy Brunson, and Sergeant King all at one time. There were others but for several hours I was blinded from pepper spray.

I was thrown against the wall several times, taken outside behind the station and burned with pepper spray on my face, hands, arms, chest and neck while they all told me “We don’t think Big Bear is the place for you; we suggest you go back down the hill where you came from.”

Twice, I was dragged down the hall on my back by my feet at which time my pants slipped down and I was subjected to sexually illicit jeers; my head was slammed on a metal desk, and my wrists twisted. My hair was pulled and my neck was twisted to force me to get a mug shot. The resulting picture was the butt of jokes but mysteriously disappeared the next day when they decided to take a more flattering picture.

I was choked with a strong-hold neck grip until I saw stars, was forced to get down on the ground “like a dog, that you are” and when I explained I couldn’t due to a car accident, I was kicked in the back and fell to the ground with a set of boots on top of me. Every time I tried to defend myself and asked for an attorney, I was asked if I was “mental” and told “you don’t get an attorney until your arraignment.”

I was constantly doused with water and my request for blankets, my shoes and coat were deferred, “until I signed the papers and answered their questions.” I wrapped myself in the jail cell bed mat to keep from freezing and Sheriffs routinely came in and kicked my bed and screamed at me to keep me from sleeping. My burns from the pepper spray caused me to have to flush my skin with water for several hours and I screamed for emergency medical help and was told “I was awfully dramatic.”

My story includes horrifying violations of my constitutionally-guaranteed rights of:
~~ protection against unreasonable searches and seizures,
~~ freedom to petition the government for a remedy to resolve a grievance;
~~ rights to due process of law, including protection against self-incrimination;
~~ rights of the accused including a speedy trial;
~~ protection against excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment;
~~ rights to equal protection under the law;
~~ right to have an attorney present during questioning about a crime;
~~ the right to remain silent ; among many others …

Each and every detail will be written here on this blog over the next several weeks. I know I’m not alone. I have pictures of my bruises, burns, scratches, abrasions and torn clothing. I have a 20-page report from the Bear Valley Hospital corroborating these actions. I have contacted the American Civil Liberties Union to represent me.

Justice will be served. I guarantee it.

Erin Kelly Baldwin


  • Ca
    Cat77777 Oct 24, 2009

    nut case

    0 Votes
  • Ca
    Cat77777 Oct 24, 2009

    Not one bit of this is true Erin. Maybe being arrested. But nothing else. How you can lie about good people is beyond me.

    0 Votes
  • Kr
    krystiramsey May 06, 2011

    I dont believe a word of what you have posted especially about king i have known king for years and he has arrested me several times and they are not like that they are nice and kind they may be alittle mean at times but thats to set you straight they would never as you say drag you by your feet and so forth that is rediculous i think you need some counceling because big bear sherriffs department is not like that...

    0 Votes

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