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To: Gunnison County Sheriff's Office and State of Colorado Attorney General, Phil Weiser

FIRE GUNNISON COUNTY DEPUTY STEPHEN LIEST

The officer in question has resigned from the Gunnison County Sheriff's Department. I have been in touch with Sheriff Gallowich and recently attended a very productive and informative meeting with him. They are in the process of implementing Colorado Senate Bill 217, which includes the use of body cameras by all of their officers. I look forward to continuing productive dialogue with our local law enforcement and being transparent about any community concerns that arise. Thank you to all who supported this campaign and signed your name to the petition. Our community appreciates your support.

FIRE GUNNISON COUNTY DEPUTY STEPHEN LIEST

This petition has been generated after direct grievances were filed with the Gunnison County Sheriff's office. Due to their lack of action on this matter, we have started this petition to gather local signatures that can be taken to the Colorado Attorney General, so that we can request further investigation. 

So what happened? 

On July 18th and 19th, Gunnison County Deputy Stephen Liest posted disturbing comments on Facebook that amount to direct threats against our community members should they be protesting and he come across them while he was at work. He did so under the Facebook account name Scooba Steve. The Gunnison County Sheriff's Office confirmed it was their Deputy's account in their statement to the public regarding this matter. Photos will be attached to this petition. He has also posted disparaging remarks in the past against the LBGTQ community in the form of a profile photo mocking homosexual identity. This behavior cannot be tolerated from those in law enforcement who are charged with protecting ALL RESIDENTS regardless of their opinions and decisions to engage in peaceful protest, or their sexual identity.  

What was the response of the Gunnison County Sheriff when presented with this information? 

On Monday, July 20th, the Gunnison County Sheriff's Office released a statement saying that they were "investigating" the incident and that the views of the posts did not represent the department. They confirmed within their own statement that it was in fact the Deputy's Facebook account. They also stated that it was their belief that this Deputy's account was hacked, due to multiple secondary friend requests. Anyone who uses Facebook would know that makes absolutely no sense. Everyone receives friend requests from strangers, but that does not mean you were hacked, or that by receiving multiple friend requests from random accounts that you are somehow prone to hacking. 

What evidence has the Gunnison County Sheriff provided to the residents it is charged with protecting and serving? 

As of writing this on Tuesday, July 21st, the Gunnison County Sherif's Office has not provided any evidence to support that this account was hacked. It is quite easy to know if you are hacked and Facebook provides a couple of different ways to access such evidence. First, Facebook automatically sends notifications to your email when your account information is used to login from a different device or IP address. So if this account was hacked, we should be given those emails which the Deputy would have received sometime before Saturday, July 18th. Second, you can go into your Facebook settings and determine when and where your account information was last used. It would be very simple for the said Deputy to login and screenshot information which could indicate where this hacking they claim actually occurred and from what type of device. We welcome evidence from the Gunnison County Sheriff's department. We anticipate their next move will be to say that "How can you prove it was his account?" as the Sheriff's secretary indicated as much on the phone when I called to ask if the Sheriff had any new evidence to present to me on Tuesday, July 21st. Our response is that the Gunnison County Sheriff's Office already proved as much in the statement they publicly released. According to their statement, "Initial information indicates that the Deputies Facebook account has been hacked...". So it must be known to the Sheriff that the account Scooba Steve does in fact belong to Stephen Liest or if not Stephen, then another Deputy on his force.

Why is this important?

What is the appropriate action that needs to be taken? 

Simple. This officer needs to be fired. He should not have a gun or be charged with protecting any of our residents because he has demonstrated troubling bias and opinions that are not in line with those who serve in law enforcement. Additionally, it would be nice to see the Gunnison County Sheriff's Office provide some training on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and remind their officers that every American is granted the right to peacefully protest without fear of reprisal. 

This petition will gather signatures for the next month and be passed along to the Colorado State Attorney General if Sheriff Gallowich does not take this seriously enough to remove the officer on his own.


Reasons for signing

  • If good cops don’t hold bad cops accountable, they’re all bad.
  • Honestly, is this really a man you want “protecting us”? The systematically law enforcement has enough issues that I cannot even begin to address, but this establishes an individual bias on various groups of people. If he feels comfortable to post it, it’s obvious that those feelings run deep. Keep this man with a badge, it speaks volumes about your department. His statements are unacceptable and I hope statements on Facebook are the only harm he has done to this community.
  • I am very uncomfortable with his statements. Him getting behind a badge and gun will only make them worse.

Updates

2020-07-31 12:45:22 -0400

Petition is successful with 469 signatures

2020-07-23 16:44:11 -0400

This is welcomed news. However, there are still many questions to be answered by the Gunnison County Sheriff, including but not limited to: 1) How did the investigation conclude? 2) Will this conduct be a part of this officer's record? 3) What is the department doing to uphold Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training among their other employees? Michelle will be reaching out to schedule a meeting with Sheriff Gallowich to discuss these questions and others. Thank you to everyone who has signed this petition and placed much needed pressure on this Sheriff's Department to act in accordance with their own mission statement. It takes a village, and your efforts have helped us demand greater transparency from our local law enforcement agencies. So once again, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

2020-07-23 16:44:02 -0400

On Thursday, July 23, 2020 the Gunnison County Sheriff's Office announced on their Facebook: This morning, July 23, 2020, Corporal Stephan Liest issued a resignation letter to the Gunnison County Sheriff. Effective immediately.

2020-07-22 11:09:13 -0400

Thank you to everyone who has signed the petition. I received an update from Sheriff Gallowich yesterday afternoon and he informed me that Stephen Liest is now on administrative leave and that they have hired a digital investigator from outside the county to conduct the investigation. I will post that notice from the Sheriff's Office in the google drive folder that is linked below. Thank you.

2020-07-21 18:05:12 -0400

100 signatures reached

2020-07-21 14:46:39 -0400

50 signatures reached

2020-07-21 13:38:48 -0400

Here is a link to the photo evidence we have gathered: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Rn1Le-PNEzQt8p7z6d8Nw1BSuqriCOGv?usp=sharing

2020-07-21 13:27:17 -0400

25 signatures reached

2020-07-21 13:06:10 -0400

10 signatures reached

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