Felony charges against Shawn Plummer have been dropped, but not before it cost him a job.
Plummer, 34, of Mammoth Lakes was arrested May 30 for attempted assault with a deadly weapon and for displaying a weapon in a threatening manner.
According to a Mammoth Lakes Police Dept. press release, Plummer brandished a knife during an altercation with two Southern California men after the men had left the Westin following a wedding reception.
The “victims,” who said Plummer was accompanied by two other men, described the knife as having an 8” blade.
MLPD Sgt. Karen Smart said Plummer and his group had exchanged words with the two men, identified as Mathew Hair, 22, of Riverside and Scott Murray (age and residence not listed) earlier in the evening, and that the altercation led to a continuation of bad blood.
In his report, Officer Ron Gladding said the call he initially responded to was for a report of a physical fight in progress. As he drove up Canyon, he was flagged down by Murray, who described the suspect as possibly Asian or Hispanic and wearing a cowboy hat and blue jeans.
Officer Ramos, in his own search of the surrounding area, found and detained Plummer, who had been walking home. Both Hair and Murray positively identified him as the person who had threatened them.
Murray, who had been wearing Navy dress whites, said Plummer, in provocation, had called him something akin to a “homo sailor.”
Plummer was transported to the Mono County Jail, where he stayed for four days until the time of his court hearing. The judge released him on his own recognizance.
Holes in the above account, however, quickly cropped up and ultimately led the District Attorney’s office to dismiss the case.
1. There were five people (including Plummer) in Plummer’s group, not three. Two people in the group were women.
2. Plummer’s “knife” was actually a 3” blade which was part of a “multi-tool” he carries on his belt.
3. Plummer was not wearing a cowboy hat; he was wearing a camoflauge marine boonie hat. “It’s more Gilligan than cowboy,” says Plummer, who is neither Asian nor Hispanic.
4. Hair admitted to police he was involved in an earlier physical altercation at the Westin.
5. Westin employees corroborated Plummer’s account that he had not been at the Westin that evening. In fact, he couldn’t have been, as the bar was closed for a private party. Westin employees also say the cops had already been called up to the hotel once that evening to resolve a wedding reception disturbance.
Plummer and his group, meanwhile, had been at Lakanuki.
6. The altercation, as described by witness Josh Fitzgerald, was a verbal one lasting less than a minute in duration. According to a statement made to an investigator, Fitzgerald said he and his friends were walking home from Lakanuki when they heard two men loudly cursing and yelling walking down Canyon. The investigator’s narrative states: “The large man was yelling and cursing at the group of friends that Josh was walking with. Josh states that he did not understand the reason they were being yelled and cursed at. The large man was challenging all of them to fight. The large man was being held back by a smaller man, who kept trying to make the larger man walk downhill.”
7. Plummer denies having said anything to the two men.
In the interest of disclosure, Plummer does have a history with the law, but nothing beyond a misdemeanor.
Plummer’s attorney, David Hammon, described the case as “pretty thin” and said police “didn’t do a very thorough job.”
This comes as little consolation to Plummer, who lost a job with the U.S. Forest Service over the incident. Plummer had procured a job as a wildland firefighter, but the USFS rescinded its offer after learning of the charges levied against Plummer.
When asked why the MLPD issued a press release about the arrest, Smart said it’s standard department procedure to issue press releases in conjunction with felony arrests, and that such arrests generally meet with a prosecution success rate of 95%.