Two former Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies who were fired after an incident at the county’s jail have now been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Christopher Johnson was indicted for deprivation of rights under the color of law, obstruction of justice, and aiding and abetting. Robert Kirsch is accused of deprivation of rights under the color of law, and aiding and abetting.
The two were accused of assaulting Charles Owens, a man in jail awaiting trial on murder, and rape charges. After an investigation, the two were terminated by the department. Sheriff Bill Brown released a statement saying that the alleged actions are disturbing, and don’t reflect the professional work carried out each and every day by 99.9% of the men and women in the Sheriff’s Office.
Owens was convicted last year of first degree murder, rape, and other charges, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.