Local cops demonstrate what it means to be Guardians.

Last December 15, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputies Mike Mangin and Clint Baltzor were confronted by a knife-wielding man while serving an arrest warrant. The deputies were forced to defend their lives, and Deputy Mangin fired on the man. Following an investigation into the incident, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel held a press conference on January 15, announcing that Deputy Mangin was legally justified in his use of force.

And this is where the incident becomes important, because not only was Deputy Mangin justified in his use of deadly force.

Wounding the man in gunfire, our sheriff’s deputies then immediately did the extraordinary: they changed roles from warriors to first responders, and administered emergency medical care to the man who had threatened their lives only a moment earlier.

Read The Bulletin’s coverage of this incident below.

To my mind, Deputies Mangin and Baltzor, along with the two unnamed Bend Police Officers who aided them, acted according to the very highest ideals of American law enforcement. After they were forced to used deadly force against him, our cops did not stand idly by the wounded subject, waiting for paramedics to arrive. Instead, they immediately thought and acted to administer emergency care to him — and very possibly, to save his life.

This is surely one of the most difficult things we as a nation must ask of anyone in law enforcement or war: to act with compassion toward someone who has just nearly killed you, someone who threatened your life or the lives of others, and someone you were just forced to try to kill.

This is what it means to be a Peace Officer, not just a cop.

This was an act of true guardianship. And in that act, our local deputies and police officers were role models for the entire law enforcement profession.

I hope that Sheriff L. Shane Nelson formally recognizes the actions of Deputies Mangin and Baltzor in a public ceremony. America needs much, much more of this kind of virtuous conduct from the law enforcement profession. And our citizens — especially those of us who are critical of American cop culture, as am I — need to recognize such excellent professionalism when it occurs.

This story is a month old now, but I have a huge backlog of important law enforcement news stories that I’ll be posting about over the coming weeks (months?). I thought I’d lead off with this one.

So here is The Bulletin’s full article covering the incident by Garrett Andrews, because it’s good news about our local cops — and because the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office generally dislikes their coverage by The Bulletin. Our paper is tough on our sheriff’s office, but contrary to popular opinion, the Bulletin does support them.

As always, I encourage my readers to subscribe to The Bulletin, or to their own local newspapers. Journalism, both local and national, is critical to maintaining democracy.

Deschutes County sheriff’s deputy cleared in lethal force probe

Steven Newburg shot in shoulder during standoff, now in jail


Jan 15, 2021 Updated Jan 15, 2021

The Deschutes County sheriff’s deputy who shot a man in the shoulder during a standoff last month near Alfalfa acted within the law, the Deschutes County district attorney has determined.

In announcing his decision over a Zoom press conference on Friday, District Attorney John Hummel went a step further and praised the actions of Deputy Mike Mangin and other officers who responded on Dec. 16 to the incident, saying they demonstrated admirable concern for their suicidal subject.

“The restraint and compassion shown by the involved officers was striking and commendable,” Hummel said.

The man who was shot, Steven Eugene Newburg, 53, is now in custody in Washington, where he faces a parole violation charge in an older kidnapping case. Hummel said Newburg has recovered from the injury to his trapezius muscle, which was a “through-and-through” bullet wound listed as a minor injury.

In announcing his decision over a Zoom press conference on Friday, District Attorney John Hummel went a step further and praised the actions of Deputy Mike Mangin and other officers who responded on Dec. 16 to the incident, saying they demonstrated admirable concern for their suicidal subject.

“The restraint and compassion shown by the involved officers was striking and commendable,” Hummel said.

The Bulletin, January 15, 2021.

Hummel said he would pursue charges against Newburg for his role in the incident.

On the morning of Dec. 15, Mangin and fellow sheriff’s deputy Clint Baltzor were tasked with serving an arrest warrant on Newburg on behalf of the U.S. Marshals Service. Newburg was said to be suicidal and determined to not return to prison.

The deputies located Newburg at the first house they tried, but he ran out a back door, prompting a six-hour manhunt in the scrubland east of Bend that was ultimately unsuccessful.

The next morning, Mangin and Baltzor headed for a camping area Newburg was known to frequent. There they found a man matching his description. It was Newburg and police say he pulled out a knife and disregarded commands to give himself up.

Officers tried several less-lethal methods to stop Newburg, including a bean-bag launcher, police dog and a Taser.

Brandishing the knife, Newburg took a step toward Mangin, 15 to 20 feet away. At this, Mangin fired his handgun once, hitting Newburg in the top of the shoulder.

Despite his injury, Newburg still did not give up. He held the knife to his throat, creating a depression visible to the deputies.

Two Bend Police officers arrived on scene around this time. One began recording the incident on his cellphone. (Though both the sheriff’s office and Bend Police Department are in the process of adding body cameras to their ranks, none of the officers was wearing one at the time.)

Hummel released the 8-minute clip Friday. It shows a deputy toss several gauze pads to Newburg, who is sitting on the ground about 10 feet away. Hummel said the deputy intentionally tossed them a ways away from the man to get him to stand and abandon his weapon.

The ruse worked and as Newburg stood to retrieve the gauze, officers tackled him and took him into custody.

“I didn’t want to fight you guys,” Newburg said as officers restrained him on the ground and began treating his wound. “Thank you for the job you do.”

During the investigation, the sheriff’s deputy union did not allow Mangin to turn over blood and urine samples, which Hummel had requested to help determine if the deputy was in any way impaired at the time of the incident. Hummel stressed he did not have reason to suspect Mangin was impaired, and he was “disappointed” the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Employee Association did not provide the evidence.

Mangin was hired by the office in 2012. He has returned to active patrol duty, but a sheriff’s office spokesman said he was not available for comment Friday.

Reporter: 541-383-0325,


From The Tumalo Lookout:

Imagine if all the critics of American cops could believe that the actions of Deputies Mangin and Baltzor were the norm for the profession. How differently we might feel about our law enforcement!

And, perhaps this kind of compassion and guardianship is more common than we realize.

Unfortunately, we don’t know. Americans only have the word of cops to take for it. Because cop culture hates true transparency, and the U.S. has no mandatory national system of reporting or collecting data about law enforcement’s use of force.

And I stopped believing the word of cops over the past ten years — and especially over the last four. Nowadays, I depend on (too few) personal relationships, (too little) trust, and statistics.

Give me numbers, not propaganda or PR spin.

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