Upset about delay between assault and suspect’s arrest

I’m embarrassed for the Baker City Police Department. And I feel humiliated at how I’ve been treated after I was assaulted at my rental home at 804 Auburn Ave. on March 13. I also believe I have been falsely arrested by the Baker City Police four times in the past.

After I was assaulted by Gary Allen Mezo at about 3:30 p.m. on March 13, I called police dispatch (Editor’s note: Mezo was cited and released on a warrant for fourth-degree assault on May 9). Mezo was a former tenant who had rented my house on Auburn, and he had already moved out. Baker City Police Sgt. Wayne Chastain responded to my home and took a report.

The District Attorney’s office didn’t receive the report on the incident until April 9, and an arrest warrant wasn’t signed until April 29. I had called Union County Dispatch when I learned that Mezo hadn’t been arrested because I had heard he was in Union County.

Finally, after I had called Baker County Dispatch five times asking whether Mezo had been arrested, as I knew where he worked, he was arrested.

Gabe Maldonado of the Baker County Sheriff’s Office was able to find Mezo on March 22 to serve him with papers related to a civil case I had filed.

I believe I have been retaliated against because I forced the issue about what I think is the illegal closure of an alley between Valley and Auburn avenues near my rental home, and about illegal burning in that area, and repeatedly asked whether Code Enforcement Officer Mark Powell had dealt with the situation. I was forced to go to then-Mayor Mike Downing’s office and a result Sgt. Chastain cleaned up the issue with the burning. The alley situation has not been resolved after more than a month.

The public holds the police to the highest standards of excellence, to protect and serve. God Bless.

John Widman

Baker City

Reader would like to see more opinions on this page

Dan Collins here. Fresh from the Coos Bay area. Just moved back after some 22 years. You may have seen me comment on articles in FB over the past year or so.

The local paper in Coos Bay,, has a vibrant opinions and comment section. I don’t see that here. Are people not as outspoken? Or does the newspaper not wish to go there? FB feedback has been great, but not everybody does FB and especially not the older folks. Your website doesn’t get much action in the way of comments for some reason.

I’m a person who believes that local public input is very important. Because you need to sometimes challenge what you’ve been told. And there’s a worrisome trend across the country right now where that public input is drying up.

As you know, corporate media has gobbled up many smalltown papers. And one by one, the comment sections have vanished. I can only assume this is to stymie any dissent. In a democratic society, that’s dangerous. You still have your comment sections, but it’s amazingly quiet to me.

As you can tell, I’m an opinionated person and something of a devil’s advocate.

Dan Collins

Baker City

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