Here’s a scoop you won’t find in a Fullerton Police Department press release: It’s a detailed account from one college student’s allegations of brutality by Fullerton cops in downtown last year, which he says resulted in an Internal Affairs investigation and one FPD officer being reprimanded for “inappropriate actions.”
On the night of March 17th, 2010 at approximately 10:10 pm, I was smoking a cigarette outside Heroes Pub in Fullerton, CA. I was approached by some individuals who identified themselves as gang members and referred to me as “faggot” and “pussy.” Apparently, an altercation began after one of them threatened to “fuck me up” and/or “kill my ‘bitch ass’” if I did not “keep walking.”
At this point, all I remember is a half dozen or so Fullerton police officers screaming at me to put my hands behind my back and spread my legs, which I did. I was violently handcuffed, and asked what was going on. None of the officers would answer me, and instructed me to “shut the fuck up.” At this point, one of the officers threw me on the ground and told me to “stop resisting arrest”, which is odd, because I was not at all resisting, and in fact had no idea I was even being arrested (or why.)
After being beaten on the ground and searched, an unknown officer violently tugged me up by the chain that connects the cuffs (which, in my opinion, were on much too tightly – perhaps in an effort to maximize my agony.) I was repeatedly yanked back and forth by the cuffs, which caused tearing and lacerations on my wrists, which was corroborated by my doctor as consistent with someone attempting to injure the wrist and cause pain. Once the officers were done beating me (because according to them, I was “resisting arrest” and “being combative”, which is completely absurd, as I’m a non-violent college student with no rap sheet who hadn’t even had the opportunity to enjoy a beer yet. Might I add I am 5’9 and weigh 160 lbs.)
At this point, an officer picked me up by the cuffs and started to crack my fingers. I screamed in agony “Ouch! Stop! You’re breaking my finger!!”, at which point the officer asked which finger. I instructed the officer it was my left pinky which was in pain, and then the officer proceeded to twist the finger until it broke (again, my physician will provide x-rays and his report upon request.) I screamed that “You broke my finger!” and the officer said something along the lines of “good.”
At another point, I was asked if my right hand was ok, I replied with “Yes.” Then an officer said “not anymore” and attempted to twist my thumb until it broke, and then my right wrist until it broke. He was unsuccessful. I believe I was punched in the back of the head and body while on the ground being arrest, and the video of the incident might prove this. I was punched so many times during the experience that I am unsure when most of the punching by the officers occurred, but it did occur multiple times. I was also hit with a blunt object. It could have been my shoe, which was violently ripped from my foot (as evidenced by the broken double knot that seems to have exploded due to a large degree of force.) Since I was face down on my stomach during most of the beatings and an officer had his boot pressed painfully on my face, I was unable to see a.) Who was hitting me and b.) With what, if any, objects I was being hit with.
I should note that before I was place in the back of officer [name omitted] squad car, I was asked to “Watch my head”, at which point an officer deliberately slammed my head into the side of the car to cause me pain. While in the back of the squad car, I asked repeatedly why I was being arrested and the officer essentially told me to “Shut the fuck up.” I called him “crooked”, among other things, and vowed I would get justice for having my finger broken. The officer driving the squad car then sped up to a high speed, and then slammed on the breaks, causing me to fly forward and slam my face into the grate that separated us. He repeated two more times, and he seemed to be enjoying it, as he had a smile on his face, and appeared to be impressed with himself for further injuring me.
When we arrived at the station, I was beaten again by more officers and I overheard an officer tell one of the jail guards to “take special care of this one, he thinks he’s smart.” I’m assuming this was in reference to me screaming to be charged, mirandized or explained the situation. I want to note that I was never told why I was arrested, and I was not charged until approximately 6:00am. I was never read my Miranda Rights.
I was thrown into a cold, cement cell with no heating. The officers took my shoes, socks and tie and left me to rot without explanation. I repeatedly screamed asking for an attorney, a phone call, an explanation – and was given none of them. I screamed at one of the guards “Where are my rights!?”, to which he smiled and responded, “You have none, pussy.” Throughout the course of the night, one officer in particular routinely tormented, harassed, and abused me.
I was shivering cold and asked for a blanket and/or pillow at least 20 times. I was denied each time. Every time I asked an officer for an attorney, a phone call, or what my charges were, he said “You just earned yourself two more hours” (implying that I would get to shiver on the freezing cement floor with no blanket for two additional hours.) The entire ordeal lasted eight (8) hours. Officer [name omitted] made several visits to my cell to hurt me.
I told him I had a broken finger, and that my right wrist and thumb might be broken, at which point he smiled, laughed, and started twisting them (my fingers and wrist) until I felt them crack. The pain was so intense that I almost fainted, and I was in so much pain from the prior beatings I took while being arrested, while arriving at the station, and by Officer [name omitted], et al. in places at the station he described as “The place where we got no cameras”, that I attempted to make myself faint to escape the torment and agony that was being wrought upon me.
I should note that Officer [name omitted] genuinely seemed to enjoy hurting me and watching my agony. He laughed and smiled each time he hit me, or squeezed my broken fingers, or punched me in the ribs or skull. He told me “they’ll never catch me… I’m punching you where it doesn’t leave marks” (in reference to my skull and scalp; under my hair.) My doctor, however, corroborated the fact that I had multiple contusions on my skull that were consistent with being punched or struck with a blunt object, and suggested that I may have a concussion.
I told Officer [name omitted] that “I would have his badge” for beating me, and he responded with “I’ll just tell them you were resisting. Or you were violent, or had shank… you’re so fucking stupid kid”, and then he just laughed. The officer taunted me throughout the night by asking me “A blanket would be nice, wouldn’t it?”, then laughing and walking away. He also made remarks such as “Had enough yet” (in reference to “enough” beatings) and “Aww… poor baby is shivering” (in reference to the fact that I stayed in a cold (approximately 49 degrees Fahrenheit) cell for eight hours with no blanket, pillow or hot coffee or tea. Officer [name omitted] also referred to me not by my given name throughout the night, but rather “a faggot”, “a pussy” and “his bitch.”
I told him people like him shouldn’t be cops, and he clearly took the job because he enjoys hurting people for pleasure, and he smiled and agreed with me. It was incredibly disturbing how much fun he seemed to be having, and the joy he expressed every time I screamed in completely blood-curdling agony when he re-broke my finger, and attempted to break other fingers. He treated me sub-human, and not once was I told why I was arrested, or if I was even, in fact, under arrest. Additionally, I was denied a phone call, an attorney, and access to my personal property (the latter being reasonable I suppose – although I heard other inmates using their cell phones.)
When I was finally released at approximately 6:00AM, an officer handed me a bag containing my belongings. I was sober when taken in, and was keeping close track of my money (all in cash.) I started the night with $250 (as I don’t like credit or debit cards, and usually keep all my cash on my person), and when I was arrested I had $174.56. However, when I checked my belongings, there was only $34 in the bag, and Sgt. [name omitted] (who was the person giving me my property back) had no explanation for the missing money.
The next morning I visited the doctor and had an examination, and also took photographs of my injuries. The police officers had broken my left pinky finger “pretty badly” (according to a hand specialist I saw after my primary physician), caused lacerations and bruising to both my wrists, left over a dozen contusions (bruises, cuts, scrapes, welts) on my skull, possibly gave me a concussion, and partially dislocated my right thumb and wrist.
This was all completely unnecessary. I never once “resisted” any officers, and in fact, went limp and followed all their demands in an attempt to avoid further “punishment” (see: beatings.) These officers seemed to take pleasure in beating me, especially when I brought up my attorney, or asked for my rights. As I mentioned earlier, I am a peaceful college student with no criminal record, and what happened to me was completely boorish, disgusting and inhumane. I hope the Fullerton Police Department, Fullerton City Hall and the Internal Affairs Bureau take this very seriously.