Newest Gustine Police officer previously fired for allegedly bribing witnesses

SAN FRANCISCO -- The newest police officer in Gustine comes to the job after being fired by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office for allegedly bribing witnesses of a police beating to remain silent.

Shawn Osborne was one of three deputies to lose their jobs in connection with a 2015 beating.

Last week, Osborne was sworn in as a police officer in Gustine. His first duty will be protecting kids as a School Resource Officer in the small town west of Merced.

In a May 1st Facebook Post, Gustine Police Department writes, "We are proud to introduce Shawn Osborne, our newest full-time police officer."

The department writes Osborne was sworn in on April 30th and is a 20-year vet of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, but makes no mention that in July 2016 the Alameda County Sheriff's Office fired then Deputy Osborne.

In surveillance video, Osborne can be seen swinging a gold chain that reportedly belonged to Stanislav Petrov.

The video was captured by the same camera that shows Deputies Paul Wieber and Luis Santamaria allegedly striking Petrov more than 40 times. Deputies Wieber and Santamaria were fired and are facing criminal charges. Osborne was not charged criminally but was fired after an Alameda County Sheriff's Office internal investigation into the allegation that he gave the gold chain to a homeless couple who witnessed the beating to silence them.

Bryan Ballenger is Gustine Unified School District's Superintendent. He says his Vice Principal contacted him after community members called the school outraged about Osborne's hire. Many of them also commented on Gustine Police Department's Facebook page.

"It's not the way that you would ideally want to learn about something in somebody's background," said Ballenger.

Ballenger says Osborne starting working as the School Resource Officer this past Friday. Once he learned of the Facebook post, Ballenger spoke with the Police Chief and City Manager.

"They confirmed that they knew he had lost his job, yes," said Ballenger.

"We've been assured that they've gone through a very extensive background check and that there wasn't something there that would preclude them from hiring him," he continued.

Neither the Police Chief nor the City Manager responded to requests for comment.

Osborne's Attorney reached out to him on behalf of our sister station in San Francisco but said she did not hear back. She said she believes Gustine Police Department made a good decision to hire him.

Osborne will fill in as the School Resource Officer through the end of the school year. Ballenger says he'll work with the police department to hire a new School Resource Officer for next year.
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