From the September 2000 Idaho Observer:

Bereiter to appeal absurd jury verdict

Maced, beaten Newport man convicted of obstruction

NEWPORT, Wash. -- Washington Superior Court Judge Linda Eaton sentenced Morris Bereiter, 50, of Newport August 16, 2000, to serve 30 days in jail and pay $1,000 for being pepper sprayed and beaten by Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Department (POCSD) deputies Greg Rogan and Thad Schultze at a routine traffic stop the afternoon of January 1, 1999.

Pend Oreille County Prosecutor Tom Metzger refiled charges of resisting arrest and obstruction of justice early last spring after Superior Court Judge Richard White had dismissed the case in December, 1999.

One has to wonder why the county would insist upon prosecuting Bereiter for county use of excessive force over an incident that turned ugly after Bereiter was pulled over for failure to stop at an icy rural intersection. It appeared from testimony that it was not Bereiter who was on trial, but deputies Rogan and Schultze. The three-day trial which began August 7, 2000, included witness testimony from Zerah, 16, and Zach, 14, who had been working with their father all that day and were witness to him being pepper sprayed and beaten by Rogan and Schultze. The boys' testimony were moving recollections of the events that were obviously truthful. Their stories were consistent with that of their father and the evidence which clearly indicates that Bereiter never did behave in a manner that would warrant such abusive treatment.

Deputy Rogan, fully armed and in uniform, sat to the left of Deputy Prosecutor Michael Carboni in plain view of the jury. It appeared that Rogan's uniformed presence was intended to be a constant reminder to the jury that the POCSD knows who they are.

The Bereiter story was originally published in the July, 1999 edition of The Idaho Observer. The edition was circulated throughout the county. The response from POCSD was thinly veiled threats to store managers who allowed The IO to be made available in their establishment.

There have been numerous other well-documented cases of excessive force that have been used by Sheriff Jerry Weeks' county law enforcement department. “I am not going to let them get away with what they are doing to the people of this county,” said Bereiter who, not surprisingly, will appeal the jury verdict.

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