Friends, last week we received the following e-mail from some guy who ran afoul of the fine fellows who make up the FPD. The story’s a bit jangled but you’ll get the picture:
Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 1:46 PM
Hi Travis, I was recently arrested by the Fullerton PD. I had a professional recording device on my chest, which was recording for some time before I was stopped. There were 3 camera men and myself. We were basically trying to make a public reaction video. It shortly got out of hand. It was in broad daylight. The officers, myself and the camera man were all at the same intersection… All in plain site. I was eventually taken down, then an officer took my recording device and also an sd card from one of my camera men. I was the only one arrested, even though it was a group activity. I’m being charged with police obstruction, which has resulted in a hold on my employment. I’m also facing 100 days jail time. I’m a full time student and I work two jobs. I have no previous criminal record. No one got hurt, and we explained to the officers, what was going on. I feel like I’m being charged for something that shouldn’t have escalated this far.I also feel that they tampered with the audio… which apparently was 12 minutes long. I haven’t heard any one it.
They went through my cell phone, without any permission…
They didn’t want to give me clean water…
I was shackled and handcuffed, while sitting in a holding cell.
I was held down by multiple officers, while handcuffed. “Claiming I was resisting”
The DA read my case report and was hysterical… The Public Defender was the same way.
“They were joking about it in the court room.” Obviously It was a ridiculous case.I plead not guilty to the charges, and I’m now awaiting the pre-trial.If you have any information for me or any questions, I would appreciate it.
Hmm. Is any part of this story true? Was anything left out? I don’t know, but I’d say the burden of proof now lies squarely on the doorstep of Danny Hughes’ Culture of Corruption.
And now for a recap of this guy’s claims:
1. Likely peaceful situation escalated into a dangerous situation by undertrained or malevolent Fullerton cops. Check.
2. Citizen roughed up. Check.
3. Citizen told to stop resisting. Check.
4. Citizen thrown into jail, mistreated. Check.
5. Citizen’s recording devices confiscated without warrant; illegal search and seizure of evidence. Check.
6. Citizen being prosecuted for getting in the way of the cops. Check.
7. “Truthy” Fullerton cops to be called as witness in order to lock up citizen? Check.
Yes, I do believe I’ve seen this show before, starring Kelly Thomas, Trevor Clarke, Veth Mam, Edward Quinonez, Emanuel Martinez; and of course also the men and women of the Fullerton Police Department.
Good luck, dude. My advice is to go to the next City Council meeting and find out what your Police Oversight Commission can do for you.
When you are in charge of the City’s bureaucracy, it’s really easy to get what you want. You simply hire a “professional” opinion to validate your own desire. Good God, it happens so often and yet they continue to get away with it.
For fun, lets’ consider the case of the City of Fullerton’s illegal water tax tax. In 2011 the City was finally caught with its pants down. And what was revealed wasn’t pretty: an illegal 10% tax stuck onto the annual cost of selling water to the ratepayers of Fullerton. In an attempt to stall the inevitable and obfuscate the obvious, the comatose council handed the job of analyzing the tax to an ad hoc water rate committee that had been previously established.
Now we all know that a citizen’s committee is incapable of figuring out things on its own and so staff helpfully hired one of those paid opinion consultants to help out; one of those consultants whose sole mission is to validate whatever the staff wants them to do. In this case the mission was to keep as much of that 10% as possible. After all, that 10% was a much necessary ingredient for for keeping up CalPERS payments and sending Pam Keller and Don Bankhead and Doc HeeHaw to four star hotels in far off Long Beach.
True to form, the City Council’s “consultant” returned with a helpful finding that the water fund owned the City between six and seven percent annually, principally on the weird fiction that the water utility owed the City rent for land that the water reservoirs and pipes sit on.
Naturally, nobody bothered to explain the embarrassing fact that the land in question had little or no commercial value; or that the water utility could have bought that land for virtually nothing fifty years ago had a true arms-length distance actually existed between the utility and the City that was milking it like a rented cow.
An, worst of all, nobody had explained the self-serving nature of this sudden discovery of a true distinction between the water utility and the City, particularly in light of the fact that the utility had supplied the City with free water for decades.
That’s right. The very mechanism lade upon you and me to “incentivise” conservation, was deemed unnecessary when the City itself was wasting water. How many hundreds of thousands of acre feet of water has been used for free by the City in the past fifty years? Of course nobody knows. But the value is worth millions.
I think the City should pay that back, too.
Yes, Friends, elections do have consequences. But you already knew that.
The results of the November election mean that the tepid and incompetent reign of Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz and City Attorney Dick Jones will continue as they preside over policies (or lack of policies) meant to evade accountability for your employees and electeds in City Hall.
Acting Chief Danny Hughes, the legacy boss of the FPD Culture of Corruption will soon see his title made permanent, even as the accusations by Ben Lira about Hughes’s direct involvement in cover-up and brutality, continue to swirl.
(No, you will not get a refund in any part for the illegal $27,000,000 tax that City Hall stole from you. But in the larger scheme of things, that’s small change)
I want to talk about justice.
In our State the cops can do damn near anything they want with impunity. Our spineless politicians have given them wealth, influence, and most importantly, virtually no accountability to anyone. The justice system itself, run by District Attorneys surrounded by ex-cops, has little interest in pursuing justice against their own allies, even when this means coddling the very perjuring cops that have scuttled many of the DA’s own cases. And when the cops themselves actually commit crimes, the law enforcement establishment immediately springs into action to defend the indefensible.
Think about what happened to Veth Mam. An innocent man was assaulted, arrested and falsely prosecuted. Fullerton cops knew the real truth and lied under oath to hide the fact that they beat up and arrested the wrong guy. Were there any repercussions? Of course not. Remember the Martinez kid who spent five months in jail thanks to the Fullerton cops? Well, Goodrich said everything was just fine – a slight error. Trevor Clarke says the FPD beat him, gave him a few sadistic “screen tests” just for fun, threw him in jail, and robbed him for good measure. Ben Lira says Danny Hughes was one of the instigators. Will anything happen? Not very likely, is it?
Let’s let the Albert Rincon case be our guide: we know that Albert Rincon serially molested women in the back seat of his patrol car. We know because of the depositions of just two of his victims (there are said to be a dozen). But the obscenity of what occurred, and importantly the roles played by Patdown Pat McKinley and Mike Sellers in covering up the whole mess, and worse, putting the creep back on the streets shall never be known. Why? because there was a settlement; a settlement approved by by-then Councilman McKinley himself.
The lawsuit settlement is the mechanism to hush everything up, from brutal and sadistic cops and an immoral FPD leadership, to a feckless city manager and city attorney who condoned the Culture of Corruption. If you wondered how the FPOA and the FPD/City Hall crowd could share a common goal, this is it.
And the path to settlement is the route no doubt most favored by Garo Mardirossian, the lawyer who is representing a whole slew of FPD/FPOA victims of brutality and perjury. For a lawyer a big payday without having to risk anything is a gift. And co-incidentally the same result will be a gift for Joe Felz, Pat Mckinley, Danny Hughes, Barry Coffman and the rest of the gang.
Your new council majority of Chaffee, Flory and Fitzgerald will make sure that Fullerton returns to the normalcy where no bad deed goes reported.
Of course it won’t be their money that goes to pay off Veth Mam and Kelly Thomas’s relatives. It will be yours.
And you will be poorer but no wiser.
Yep, he said it. In reference to his own union member, Benjamin Lira.
Listen to the Barry Coffman interview on KFI, here. Scroll to the 23:40 mark and enjoy the Fullerton cop union boss try as hard as he can to bad-mouth a dues paying member of the FPOA!
First he says Lira is on the way out, a POBAR violation if uttered by anybody in authority; and of course after the embarrassing question about how come he isn’t defending his union member, and an awkward pause, we learn from Barry that Lira is a real malcontent, a cancer in the presumably healthy body tissue of the FPD. Which is pretty hard to swallow given the evident Culture of Corruption in the department.
Comically, Coffman asks us who are we to believe, his own man, or the upstanding Michael Gennaco Report – a bucket full of pabulum coughed up by a paid hack in order to whitewash the felonious FPD and its command structure.
Say, what’s going on here? A union boss siding with management? Huh?
In response to the tricky question about how come his union didn’t bail out Ramos, Coffman (after another painful pause) exclaims that he and his boys just wanted the justice system to play out, a non-answer if ever there was one. He does admit that when the Thomas murder hit he and his fellow FPOA leaders were completely useless. We do know that they came onto this blog to post vulgar obscenities.
It’s hard not to relish the delicious double standard of the oh-so-ethical Barry C who never said a single word in public about Todd Major, Kelly Mejia, Albert Rincon, Vincent Mater, Kenton Hampton, Frank Nguyen, Cary Tong or any of the other FPOA miscreants whose behavior has been so amply demonstrated on these pages.
Here’s a fun reminder for those fighting the good fight. Last published in September, 2010.
- Joe Sipowicz
Be sure to enjoy the subtle image of the tennis racket lying on the bench!
I always hate it when the stooge press indicates that a “former cop” was convicted of something when the former cop was an active cop when he did what he did to get convicted.
And so I won’t say “former Fullerton cop Vincent Mater plead guilty…” Rather, I will say dirty Fullerton cop Vincent Mater who clearly had something to hide in the wake of the Dean Gochenour Fullerton jail suicide and who demonstrated as much by destroying his DAR plead guilty to day…
Here’s the text of the DAs press release:
FULLERTON – A former Fullerton Police Department (FPD) officer was convicted and sentenced today for destroying evidence by crushing his audio-recorder after an inmate committed suicide in jail following a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest by the defendant. Vincent Thomas Mater, 42, pleaded guilty to a court offer by the Honorable Frances Munoz to one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence and one misdemeanor count of vandalism. Mater was sentenced to three years of informal probation and 60 days of community service. The People objected to the sentence, arguing for jail time based on the nature of the crime, destruction of evidence possibly related to an inmate’s death, and the defendant’s violation of his position of trust.
At the time of the crime, Mater was a police officer with FPD. At approximately 9:45 p.m. on April 14, 2011, Mater conducted a DUI investigation after making a traffic stop of a vehicle being driven without its lights on in the dark. Mater was in uniform and driving a marked FPD patrol car. Mater arrested the driver, Dean Gochenour, upon determining that Gochenour was under the influence of alcohol.
Mater transported Gochenour in his patrol car to the Fullerton City Jail (FCJ) and turned him over to FPD jailers to be booked upon arrival. Throughout the duration of his contact with Gochenour, Mater wore an FPD-issued Digital Audio Recording device (DAR), which was activated and would have audio-recorded any statements made by Mater or Gochenour.
At approximately 11:30 p.m., inmate Gochenour committed suicide by hanging himself in a cell at FCJ. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) was subsequently contacted to conduct the custodial death investigation.
In the hours after Mater learned of Gochenour’s death, Mater destroyed his DAR by crushing it and removing the mother board and circuit board. The audio captured on Mater’s DAR of the defendant’s interaction with Gochenour could not be recovered as a result of the damage. Mater destroyed the evidence that would have been relevant to the OCDA’s custodial death investigation.
FPD investigated the case against Mater regarding the destruction of evidence and submitted it to the OCDA for criminal prosecution.
To read the OCDA’s full report on the custodial death of Gochenour, visit www.OrangeCountyDA.com and select “OCDA Report Custodial Death Investigation – Inmate Dean Gochenour” from the Investigation Letters tab under the Media Center. The report was issued March 13, 2012.
Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.
I don’t know who “the honorable” Frances Munoz is, but I sure want to end up in her court if I ever get busted doing anything naughty. Probation and sixty days’ community service? Really? You or I would be looking at hard time. Oh, well we’ve always know there were rules and regs for us and a get out of jail card for the cops.
Did something fishy happen to Dean Gochenour before or after he was deposited in the FPD jail? Thanks to Mater we shall probably never know.
Oh, and yeah, Mater’s now a former Fullerton cop, although whether he was fired or permitted to walk away we will never know. That shall remain a mystery, too.
I just received some interesting news about our Mayor Sharon Quirk who is running for the State Assembly – and its both embarrassing and telling.
I have it on real good authority that Ms. Quirk was invited to a “meet the candidate night” by the good folks in the unincorporated West Anaheim Island – a large area of unincorporated Orange County.
Now theses are the very people Quirk’s political handlers said she would do well with – the working class people of Anaheim’s flatlands, so you would think Quirk would jump at the chance to mingle with her peeps.
Apparently at first she just ignored the West Island Neighborhood group, and finally some campaign flunky responded saying that it might be a trap to embarrass Quirk with – questions! That sure has the ring of truth since a quick trip to Quirk’s website shows a cardboard cut out candidate who steadfastly refuses to take a position on any of the important propositions on the ballot this fall – including Governor Brown’s new tax and spend plans.
Nice work, Ms. Quirk.
A playful friend sent in a picture.
Posted by Mr. Peabody in A Step in the Right Direction, Dead heads, Dick Jones, Don Bankhead, Fullerton BooHoo, Gin Flurry, Home Town Hero, Pam Keller, Patdown Pat McPension, Sharon Quirk, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Crime Beat, The Culture of Corruption, The Observer, Up In The Attic, Watch Your Wallet on October 16, 2012
It’s funny, in a sick sort of way, but the very types who used to bray the loudest about the need for “social justice” have been virtually silent in Fullerton in the wake of the Kelly Thomas murder at the hands of members of an out-of-control police department.
The graying establishment Democrats had been hiding behind their drawn chintz curtains, curled up in an intellectual fetal position on their plastic slip-covered Naugahyde sofas. It was just too scary and, well, controversial to say anything, let alone actually do anything.
Fortunately, others, such as Stephan Baxter, Marlena Carrillo and Lauren Becker are willing to keep up the pressure.
Here is a link to Becker’s website that reminds us exactly what a Culture of Corruption can do, and try to get away with, when left to its own devices. It also reminds us what we can do to push back against an entrenched system.
Democrats like Jan Flory, and Molly McClanahan and Pam Keller didn’t say a word in the aftermath of the murder. No, they only got outraged when people outside their cozy little circle took the reins of government out of the hands of three incompetent old fools.
These people are a lot more worried about the fate of the bureaucracy than they are about the people of Fullerton. All of them.