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3 arrested so far in ongoing billboard dispute

Posted: April 25, 2014 12:55 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2014 12:55 p.m.

The ongoing Santa Clarita Valley dispute over electronic billboards between those petitioning against them and the “petition blockers” rallying in their support has netted three arrests and spurred several confrontations at local stores, a sheriff’s official confirmed Friday.

Two men, both from out of town, were put under citizen’s arrest Thursday, each on suspicion of interfering with public transportation.

Joshua J. Morrison, 23, of Anaheim Hills, and Timothy R. Middleton, 27, of Hillsboro, Missouri, were arrested following a confrontation at the Food 4 Less store, Lt. Mark Hershey said Friday.

Their arrest brings to three the number of people charged with misdemeanors during the past two weeks in the ongoing efforts of signature-gathering petitioners opposing the city’s approval of electronic billboards.

Last Saturday morning, Kimberly Shanklin, 45, of Belleville, Illinois, was arrested outside a local Walmart on suspicion of battery in connection with an alleged assault. 

Deputies, meanwhile, are frequently dispatched in response to reports of confrontations at other local stores, Hershey said.

Early Friday deputies were sent to a disturbance in front of Stater Bros. in Canyon Country, Hershey said.

“All we’re trying to do is keep the peace,” he said. “It’s very frustrating.”

“Store managers are getting frustrated as well because the customers are walking into the store complaining. They (managers) are asking us, ‘Can you make them leave?’” Hershey said, noting that the answer isn’t entirely clear.

When deputies respond to the reported incidents of confrontation, they typically tell the two groups to respect one another and for each to express views apart from the other side.

“They argue with each other, and one side always wants us to label them the victim,” he said. “We tell them, ‘You stand at one door and you stand at the other door.’ But when we leave they phone us to say the other person has crossed the line.

on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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