Former sheriff’s deputy left ‘heartbroken’ by the California jury’s decision despite video of the attack
By Taylor Penley
A former California sheriff’s deputy says anti-law enforcement bias is to blame after a jury acquitted a man seen on video beating her to the ground and trying to shoot her with her own weapon.
Former San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy Meagan McCarthy told “Fox & Friends First” Thursday that recent reforms to California’s jury selection process allowed jurors with an “expressed bias” against law enforcement to decide her case.
“If you express an implicit bias towards law enforcement, you are allowed to sit on a jury. And that has never been the case before,” McCarthy said. “So in my situation, we had many jurors who expressed this bias towards law enforcement, and they were still allowed to decide guilty or not guilty on my suspect.”
The attack happened in 2019 after McCarthy responded to a frantic 911 call from suspect Ari Young’s mother, saying, “Oh, my God, oh, my God! Get my son out of here” before going quiet on the line.
Video shows Young pummeling McCarthy repeatedly after she arrived on the scene and struggling with her for her gun. Once Young had possession of the firearm, he proceeded to fire several shots before the gun jammed, according to McCarthy.
A jury found Young not guilty of attempted murder and assaulting a peace officer, instead finding him guilty of the lesser charge of negligent discharge of a firearm, and failed to reach a verdict on several other allegations, including resisting arrest.
Young’s defense team called the video an “illusion” and argued self-defense, saying McCarthy had no right to pat down the schizophrenic suspect.
“I was heartbroken,” McCarthy said of the decision. “You know, I’ve spent nearly four years healing from this incident and to be told ‘You’re not a victim. You don’t get to speak. You don’t get to have that closure.’ That was kind of the knife in the back that I was hoping I wouldn’t have.”
“I don’t know how you can see a video of a crime and allow this person to enter a community. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s devastating for the people.”
California Assembly Bill 3070, which focuses on the “unfair exclusion” of potential jurors, went into effect in 2022. According to the bill’s language, among the peremptory challenge grounds now considered invalid for juror dismissal, are “expressing a distrust of or having a negative experience with law enforcement or the criminal legal system” and “expressing a belief that law enforcement officers engage in racial profiling or that criminal laws have been enforced in a discriminatory manner.”
California State Assemblyman Bill Essayli, R-Riverside, a former federal prosecutor and deputy district attorney in nearby Riverside County, said the case should have had enough evidence to secure a conviction.
“[The defense] argued that she didn’t have a lawful authority to detain him, and therefore, he’s free to defend himself and do whatever he wants to get away from her, including beating her up and shooting at her,” Essayli told Fox News Digital. “That’s not correct. That’s not the law. And I don’t think the judge should have allowed that argument to be presented in that manner.”
The county sheriff also expressed frustration with the lack of “meaningful consequences” in the case.
“The video speaks for itself, and more importantly it demonstrates the increasing violence the public and our deputies experience,” San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Shannon Dicus told Fox News Digital. “I share in the frustration at the lack of accountability for these brazen and violent crimes, crimes perpetrated by a criminal who created a situation where law enforcement help was requested, a criminal who repeatedly and brutally attacked, disarmed, and tried to murder a deputy sheriff.”
McCarthy said the justice system and state of California not only let her down but set a “damaging” precedent for police officers and victims.
“You go to work, especially being a cop, to serve and protect the community that you swore to do. That’s exactly what I did that day… To say that somehow I’m not a victim and I’m not righteous of the closure of the justice system, is just very damaging to not just cops but people.”
The mom of two told Fox News Digital she was forced to retire from the job she loved due to post-traumatic stress. She said Thursday the attack has saddled her with “a lot of guilt and emotion.”
“I was hoping for closure. I was hoping for justice. I was hoping for peace. And I never saw that.”
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.