'Incoherent' California man allegedly assaults mail carriers, causing feud between police, Postal Service
Apr. 12—The United States Postal Service suspended service to a Santa Monica neighborhood after alleging multiple assaults on mail carriers. The service remains suspended with no restoration date in sight — even though the alleged assailant has been jailed on an unrelated charge — and the Santa Monica Police Department is making passive-aggressive public statements directed at the Postal Service.
The bizarre ordeal started last week, when neighborhood residents received a letter dated April 7 from the Postal Service announcing that service would be suspended because "multiple carriers have been subjected to assaults and threats of assault from an individual who has not been located or apprehended," and that residents would have to pick up their mail from the local post office.
Some residents were surprised by the move ("I mean, you hear the post office as rain, sleet or snow," one person affected by the incident told CBS Los Angeles), and on April 11, the Santa Monica Police Department put out an unusually pithy press release on the matter.
"The USPS issued the letter and as far as we know did not contact our department before sending it," the department's statement reads. "The SMPD tried calling the two phone numbers on the letter— one went unanswered, and the other had a voicemail box that is full."
The police department said that investigators found only one reported incident in January in which a mail carrier was allegedly assaulted by a suspect with a broomstick, but the carrier ultimately declined to press charges. Police said the suspect "is known to our officers and also to the mail carrier he attacked," and was later identified by residents as 38-year-old Devon Morgan, who, was described to CBS Los Angeles by residents as "incoherent and angry."
"He walks around with a golf club over his back," neighbor Jim Price told the TV station. "It's a wood and it's very threatening to people."
Morgan has since been arrested and booked in the Los Angeles County Jail on an unrelated vandalism charge, though the Postal Service has offered no timeline for when service might resume. SFGATE reached out to the agency and asked what might allow for service to resume, as well as why only one of the "multiple" assaults led to a police report. The USPS responded after publication of this article, but did not answer either question.
The Santa Monica Police Department concluded its press release by telling frustrated residents to direct their anger towards the postal service.
"Without speaking to the postmaster, it will be difficult to know the extent of this issue," the release states. "The SMPD has never heard of the Postal Service suspending service for all residents in a neighborhood, and can only refer you to them for answers about their course of action."
CBS Los Angeles reported that Morgan has been jailed and released multiple times, with one resident stating, "It's going to take someone literally being physically really hurt before something happens."