Is Butte County justice blind?

This paper published last week the story of Dr. Donald Mangus, a 72-year-old plastic surgeon cited last month by a California Highway Patrol officer for allegedly brandishing a firearm after another vehicle cut off his vehicle on Highway 32 east of Hamilton City.

The CHP pulled him over in the parking lot of his East Avenue office, confiscated the gun and cited him for three misdeamors: brandishing a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle and carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle. Mangus reportedly does not have a concealed-weapons permit. The officer confiscated the gun, and Mangus was sent on his way.

We are not judging the doctor’s innocence or guilt in the case; that is for a court to decide. Our concern is the perception of a double standard at work here. We can’t help but think the suspect would have been treated differently had he been a 19-year-old Hispanic from Hamilton City, an African American from Chapman or a Chico State student who happened to be a Muslim named Mohammed. We are not faulting the CHP officer; he handled the matter as the situation called for. We just hope he would have done the same no matter the race or cultural background of the suspect.

The Butte County District Attorney’s Office is still awaiting the legal paperwork from the CHP before the decision to file charges can be made. We’ll keep watching.