OK, after the bizarre story of Texas police raiding a Fort Worth gay bar and arresting drunk people, we have another story out of Encinitas, California, a suburb just north of San Diego. At the home of a lesbian couple, Congressional hopeful, Francine Busby, was holding a fundraiser until the cocktail hour was raided by eight sheriff’s cruiser… and a helicopter.
The party was Friday night in the 1300 block of Rubenstein Avenue, the home of Shari Barman, a Busby supporter.
It ended with Barman, 60, being arrested and jailed on suspicion of battery on a peace officer, and resisting, delaying and obstructing a peace officer.
Pam Morgan, 62, a Rancho Santa Fe resident and one of the guests, also was arrested and taken to the Encinitas Sheriff’s Station, where she was cited for resisting, delaying and obstructing a peace officer.
Other partygoers were doused with pepper spray, and seven deputies, a sergeant and a helicopter were dispatched to the neighborhood of expensive homes.
Busby, Barman, guests at the party and a Sheriff’s Department spokesman provided varying accounts of what happened.
Busby, 58, a Democrat seeking the 50th Congressional District seat in 2010, said she will meet with Sheriff Department officials today to find out who made what she called a “phony” noise complaint.
The Sheriff’s Department received the complaint at 9:33 p.m. from a man who said someone was talking on a loudspeaker and a crowd was cheering, keeping him awake.
From about 8 to 8:30 p.m., Busby said, she used an amplified microphone to talk to guests, whom she described as middle-aged supporters.
During Busby’s speech, Barman said in a statement yesterday, a man on the property behind her house shouted “disparaging remarks” about Busby and gay people. Barman lives in the house with her partner, Jane Stratton, 55.
After her talk, Busby said, people chatted.
“It was a quiet home reception, disrupted by a vulgar person shouting obscenities from behind the bushes,” Busby said.
Neighbors on three sides of the house said yesterday there wasn’t much noise from the party. One man said he slept through it.
“We didn’t hear anything until the sheriff came, with eight patrol cars and a helicopter,” said Natasha Cortina, 43, who said she and her two children were home with the windows open.
Hugh Elliott, 53, who lives closest to the house, said he heard a deputy’s radio, then arguing, coughing, crying and finally everyone spilling outside as the smell of pepper spray drifted over his back fence.
There is some indication that there may have been resistance to arresting by the owner of the home, but certainly not enough to justify a helicopter and pepper spray. Especially since the hostess was 62 years old. Seems… excessive?