Ex-Chief McKinley Unleashed Bad Cop

Just for those of you who mistakenly believe FFFF has only recently become interested in the doings and misdoings of our police force, here’s a post originally published October 7, 2009 – exactly two years ago, detailing the way in which the esteemed Pat McKinley molly-coddled the worst of his boys, who just happened to be President of the Fullerton Police Officer’s Association, the union that supports the councilmen cover-up artists Jones, Bankhead, and (surprise, surprise) Pat McKinley.The incidents described here took place six years ago, leading a reasonable person to infer that the culture of corruption cultivated by McKinley has deep roots, indeed.

Enjoy a blast from the past courtesy of the FFFF archives!

– Joe Sipowicz

Officer misconduct cases are usually handled behind closed doors, hidden away from the public who are ultimately the victims when cops go bad. Recently a document slipped out from underneath the curtain and gave us some insight into Chief McKinley’s department, which had a habit responding to officer misconduct by looking the other way and pressuring victims to stay silent — demonstrating brazen contempt for the rule of law.

Officers John Cross and Gregg Nowling were caught on tape in the 2005 beating of a young man who was pulled over for playing his music too loud. Fearing outrage, the department refused to release the recording to the public. Nowling resigned, but John Cross was the president of the Fullerton Police Officers Association (the union), so he decided to take his chances and ride out the punishment that was sure to be nothing more than a token admonishment from his friendly boss, Chief Patrick McKinley.

He's big. He's bad. He's baaaaack!
I'll just pretend I didn't see that.

John Cross should have been fired and sued, but a deal was allegedly struck with the victim in which charges would be dropped if the young man kept quiet. This allowed the department head to give Cross a mere slap on the wrist – a two step demotion in pay for the next two years.

When nobody was paying attention, Chief McKinley eliminated John Cross’ punishment one year early:


The record shows that almost immediately, John Cross began another series of disturbing actions that ultimately forced the department to fire him. The Council found one example most frightening – Officer Cross had covered up an incident involving a drunk off-duty sheriff who was brandishing his weapon in public. He also failed to follow up on a potential suicide when it was only a few doors down from his location. At least six of these events involved Cross’ turning off his audio recorder in violation of department policy.

There are plenty of other allegations of McKinley’s department looking the other way when incidents were perpetrated by those the department favored, and this is only one of the most severe. As one of our commenters said, McKinley’s game was played at the the expense of our community’s safety, peace, and tax dollars.

48 Replies to “Ex-Chief McKinley Unleashed Bad Cop”

  1. I was waiting for this one, good post. But you forgot one of the most important points:

    Nobody knew about the beating until a cop blew the whistle to the Fullerton Observer. That means the department was content to keep it under wraps, and the whistleblowing officer had lost all faith in the chain of command. Justice was being thwarted so he had to go to the newspapers.

    The whole thing was a complete failure of McKinley’s leadership. Too bad everyone else is afraid to blame it on him.

    1. Great point. There were multiple whistleblowers in this case. Thankfully there are some good cops out there. Unfortunately we’ll never know who they are. They went back into hiding after Cross was demoted.

      1. Travis, a couple of things. Cross was not demoted, in his 20 year career as he never made is beyond basic police officer. He did have his pay reduced on a temporary basis, and it was reinstated a year early upon recommendation of then Captain Geoff Spalding (his supervisor in Patrol) who was known to hang out with Cross, Bushala, Nelson, Norby, Whitaker, Greenhut and other members of the Grover Cleveland Club. Discipline in the case of Cross/Nowling, could not be taken further because the tape was inconclusive, and the witness was not present when the incident occurred. The victim, after initially complaining, refused to file a complaint, and then disappeared. Had he filed a complaint, and testified this would have gone to the DA. But with no victim, no complaint, no corroborating witnesses, and hearsay from police insiders, you don’t have much to go on with under the state law (the Police Officer Bill of Rights). If you want to place blame somewhere, it is with Captain Spalding.

        1. I like how you tried to lump the pustule Cross into the Grover Cleveland Social Club, Bushala, Nelson, Whitaker and Greenhut.

          Spalding was at one of my events as I recall. His social life elsewhere is not relevant to anything.

          Please look at the doc, above: it clearly refers to “the chief” – who was none other than the egregious Patrick Q. McMillion.

  2. Hold on there. I’ve known pat McKinley for years as a member of various civic groups. He’s a great guy! He could not be expected to weed out all the bad eggs in his department.

    And you keep harping about his “vest.” That is an invaluable piece of police gear that will save lives, improve police performance, and hence build up public safety. And you can’t put a price tag on that!

    1. Chamber Star :He could not be expected to weed out all the bad eggs in his department.

      Yes we can. That’s his job. At the very least he could take appropriate action when the crime is committed right under his nose.

  3. Thank you, Travis. It’s great to see you examine this story more closely as it speaks to the running of the whole FPD. There was so much evidence of police wrongdoing and (then) Chief McKinley, who obviously knew about most if not all of Cross’ serious crimes, did little to nothing about it.

    How many good cops have been ignored or, worse yet, punished for trying to stop dirty cops within the FPD? And how much victim intimidation is involved to make beatings like these settlement issues rather than criminal prosecutions of a violent cop?

    Refusal to cross the Blue Line makes a police officer a criminal. …even if he’s Chief.

  4. What about the $1M+ (5 extra police officers, $500,000 video surveillance system) in taxpayer money given to Fullerton’s Police Department during the past five years? All in the name of keeping the “peace” in downtown Fullerton…What was Chief McKinley’s role?

  5. No doubt he will have Fire/Police on his side with Bankhead…helping to screw Keller out of her seat.

    Looks like council is already screwing her our of being Mayor next year too.

    We need to dump all these OLD LIFE LONG council people off the dais. You know the Chief will stay there for the rest of his life like the Doctor…here come the antique stores and Red Hats!

  6. The 800 pound gorilla is the truth, Ed Royce would know nothing about such a concept.

    And for Star Chamber to tear up or get misty-eyed about the great big job McKinley had to do, please note that McKinley had about 250 guys working for him all within a ten square mile area, and for this “massive job” he got paid about THREE TIMES the salary of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (in command of a couple million men speard all around the globe).

    When you run a 250 man organization it really seems like a big deal, that is until you meet a guy who has 100,000 employees, etc.

    No wonder guys like Bankhead think they are the entire reason for the continued existence of Fullerton, they have never actually done anything in their lives except work in a stupid local police department ( and take bribes or kickbacks or “favors” – you know, “the way business gets done” according to Dr. Jones, the Wizzard of BIZ ).

    1. Rain, you are right about Jones. He’s always “fora the business” as Julie Sa used to say.

      But he knows zero about business. Zip. Zilch. He hired people to run his medical practice and hi time on the Chamber of Horrors board taught him that pro-business means pro-City Hall, pro-subsidies, and pro-Redevelopment.

      But back to McKinley: this guy must be sent packing. The last thing we need here is another public employee-walking corpse on the City Council.

      1. “But back to McKinley: this guy must be sent packing. The last thing we need here is another public employee-walking corpse on the City Council.”

        So correct Rain, how come we cant just dump these people after they retire from the city itself? Why is this guy still going to be hanging around Fullerton with his ideologies, making a buck on kickbacks and bribes, while drawing a Chiefs $120K/year pension? Cant they just go away?


  7. Authoritiarian types are drawn to law enforcement careers. When that gig runs out, the urge to control leads them into other branches of government. Police officers who push small government are few and far between. I haven’t seen any in Fullerton.

  8. Sorry everyone, I missed something important.

    Apparently Gregg Nowling did NOT resign before he could be fired.

    He was placed on leave until the heat blew over. Then he was offered his job back. For some reason he never showed up for work again, so he was finally terminated.

    The only conclusion that I can make is that under McKinley, calling in sick is a worse offense than beating on suspects.

  9. I am pretty sure Nowling Didn’t leave the Dept until over a year later after the jail incident and his departure had nothing to do with the Jail incident. ..

  10. McKinley may not be a bad guy to hang out with at social event, and I bet he has some good “war” stories but none of that matters when it comes to serving on the council. If we can push Ackerwoman votes down, we can certainly push McKinley’s votes down. He’s just another good ol’ boy…


  12. Currently four murderers are patrolling your streets

    This is bigger than Fullerton.

    When is the ocda’s reelection?

    Who hired basketcase one eyed buckethead cincineli?

    As shown recently in “operation fast and furious”… 🙁 the US FBI is just as criminally insane as your 3 council members

    Recall is not enough.. the need incarcerated

  13. In retrospect this made me long for the John Cross days when maybe, just maybe, he really was the dirtiest cop in Fullerton.

    But I come to realize that in those days everything was just better covered up.

    Too bad we’ll never know exactly, but my guess is that if you superimposed two graphs, one depicting FPD cop crimes and another one depicting the replacement of his predecessors cops by McKinley hired cops, you would see an alarming correlation.


  15. havegunwilltravel :
    Travis, a couple of things. Cross was not demoted, in his 20 year career as he never made is beyond basic police officer. He did have his pay reduced on a temporary basis, and it was reinstated a year early upon recommendation of then Captain Geoff Spalding (his supervisor in Patrol) who was known to hang out with Cross, Bushala, Nelson, Norby, Whitaker, Greenhut and other members of the Grover Cleveland Club. Discipline in the case of Cross/Nowling, could not be taken further because the tape was inconclusive, and the witness was not present when the incident occurred. The victim, after initially complaining, refused to file a complaint, and then disappeared. Had he filed a complaint, and testified this would have gone to the DA. But with no victim, no complaint, no corroborating witnesses, and hearsay from police insiders, you don’t have much to go on with under the state law (the Police Officer Bill of Rights). If you want to place blame somewhere, it is with Captain Spalding.

    You fucking making shit up?.. who are you and what interests do you have in this affair…

    Would you like to comment on chief Sellout and his band of murderers and the Orange County NEUTERED DA

  16. FFF, you should look into how former sr. ofc. Bob Terrio and former sr. ofc. Bob Booth raped (tagged teamed) a records clerk back in the 89′ 90’s. She was passed out at a party and the two of them decided she was fair game. Both of them were temporarily ‘demoted’ only to regain their pay/stripes several months later, one I believe, had to wait a little longer for his stripes to return. Nice rep huh FPD???

  17. I still cannot beleive people are content on a recall


    I watched the last public meeting of city council and saw plain as day.. that fat boss hog dude.. just light up every time he brought up an agenda that would grease his fat sweaty palms

    If it is archived.. ask a psych friend to look at it..

    dude is so easy to catch.

  18. I believe that’s true. But for three weeks after the murder they walked the streets with badges and guns. I wonder how many crimes they committed before they got paid vacations.

  19. Too funny, this is the Officer Cross I mentioned in a previous post-the one my husband said (along with Decaprio) would meet teenage gangbangers in parks and engage in physical fights with.

    His stories keep coming true and I still can’t believe them. Right before my eyes.

    1. Decaprio is either one sadistic sociopath or a really good guy getting unfairly maligned.

      I used to think Hughes was a good guy until I saw the video of him going after people for honking.

      …Whoever these dirtbags are or pretend to be, the department needs to be disbanded.

  20. Just another example of why McKinley should recuse himself on any and all cases involving Fullerton PD. That includes offers of settlement of legal cases, personnel actions within Fullerton PD, results of investigations, etc. He is simply protecting himself from a series of huge lawsuits. And by the way, Fullerton voters, great job electing him! I bet you didn’t even think twice when you pushed the lever!

  21. With all the corruption and crimes going on in Fullerton it’s obvious that it is everywhere across the USA. I hope the honest abused citizens in Fullerton clean this mess up. It may set a precedent for the rest of the country. GOD HELP YOU PEOPLE.

  22. The process real quick on the hoops that need to jumped through to get a peace officer fired. I hopes this helps: Alas, way too common in police departments. That is one of the things I’ve learned in representing police departments in disciplinary and employment matters. We have to jump through so many hoops to even issue a written reprimand. Since the government is the employer, they can’t just be fired because government employment is considered a property right and thus they can’t be deprived of their employment without due process of law. As such, BEFORE we can take any type of punitive action (like a suspension, demotion, or termination, we have to provide a written notice of intent to discipline setting forth all the grounds that support the proposed disciplinary action taken. Once they get that notice they are entitled to a “mini hearing” where they can explain their point of view. After that we issue a Notice of Discipline which either confirms or modifies the initially proposed discipline. They then are entitled to a full evidentiary hearing and we have to prove all the grounds for discipline. On top of all that, they also have the protection of the Peace Officer Procedural Bill of Rights Act which provides them even more protections regarding the investigation of the underlying discipline. Don’t you love it, they are the ones who carry the guns, yet they claim they need protections? The stories I could tell you!

  23. L.A. County deputy says he was forced to beat mentally ill inmate
    The rookie, top recruit in his class, resigned after the incident, which he said was covered up. The deputy’s supervisor was allegedly threatened by the young man’s uncle, a sheriff’s detective.

    The Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles is where a rookie deputy said he was made to beat an inmate. (Phil McCarten / Reuters / June 9, 2007)

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    By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times

    October 7, 2011
    A Los Angeles County sheriff’s rookie who graduated at the top of his recruit class resigned after only a few weeks on the job, alleging that a supervisor made him beat up a mentally ill jail inmate, according to interviews and law enforcement records.

    The deputy, Joshua Sather, said that shortly before the inmate’s beating his supervisor said, “We’re gonna go in and teach this guy a lesson,” according to the records. The attack, Sather said, was then covered up.

    Law enforcement records reveal that the incident caused tensions in the Sheriff’s Department. Sather’s uncle, a veteran sheriff’s detective, angrily confronted the supervisor about making his nephew “beat up ‘dings,’ ” slang for the mentally disabled. He then allegedly threatened to “put a bullet” in the supervisor’s head.

    Sather’s case was pieced together by The Times from department sources as well as district attorney’s documents in which Sather’s uncle revealed his nephew’s allegations to investigators.

    Sheriff’s officials launched an investigation and determined that an uncooperative inmate had been subdued by force, but concluded that no misconduct had occurred. They also asked the district attorney to review the uncle’s alleged threat, but prosecutors declined to file charges.

    Sather’s allegation is among several first-hand accounts of unwarranted deputy violence against inmates in the nation’s largest jail system. Last week, two chaplains and a movie producer released sworn statements that they witnessed deputies abusing inmates. But Sather’s allegations are unusual because they come from within the department’s own ranks, from the point of view of a deputy.

    The FBI is now investigating several allegations of deputy abuse and misconduct in the jails.

    Sather, a Long Beach native, had followed in his uncle’s footsteps, earning a spot in the Sheriff’s Academy and becoming his class’ sole “Honor Recruit” for his leadership, athleticism and other abilities. As with virtually all rookies, his first assignment was jail duty.

    The jails are a place where inexperienced deputies learn how to handle potentially violent and manipulative criminals, while under constant supervision. For Sather, the experience quickly became disturbing.

    Sather’s beating allegation and the drama that followed his decision to resign are documented in a seven-page district attorney’s memo reviewed by The Times. The following account is based on that report:

    On March 22, 2010, Sather was working on the sixth floor mental health ward of the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown L.A. At some point during his shift, he, his supervisor and other deputies used force on the mentally ill inmate.

    Soon afterward, Sather, a muscled, tattooed 23-year-old, called his uncle, Steven Sather, crying and distraught, records show. The young man apparently told his uncle that the beating was unwarranted and then had been covered up. The elder Sather told his nephew to do the “right thing” and be honest about what occurred.

    The next day, worried that the rookie might be planning to quit, Steven Sather drove to Twin Towers intent on saving his nephew’s career. The uncle and his partner parked behind the jail and left their guns in the trunk. In the watch commander’s office, Steven Sather asked to see his nephew. But he was told the young man had resigned, citing “family issues” as his only reason.

    Outside, Steven Sather and his partner had a colleague radio for Joshua Sather’s supervisor, Bryan Brunsting.

    When Brunsting saw the two gang detectives waiting for him, he asked what was going on.

    “Do you know who I am?” Steven Sather asked.

    Brunsting peered at the name embroidered on the detective’s green-and-gold sheriff’s raid jacket. He realized he was talking to his trainee’s uncle. The rookie had failed to show up for a morning briefing, and Brunsting had just learned he’d quit.

    Steven Sather led Brunsting away for a private conversation. Deputies nearby recalled that the exchange was heated.

    “If you don’t stop [messing] with my nephew, I’m gonna kick your ass. Stop [messing] with my nephew,” Steven Sather shouted. “You know what this is about, getting him into situations that he shouldn’t have got into. He’s a … honor recruit and you put him into situations that you shouldn’t have put him in.”

    Brunsting said afterward that the detective threatened him, saying, “If my nephew doesn’t decide to come back to the department, I’m gonna find you and put a bullet in your head.”

    At some point Steven Sather’s partner walked over, saying, “That’s enough, Steve.”

    The detectives returned to their truck and headed for the younger Sather’s home, apparently in a last-ditch effort to change his mind.

    They were unsuccessful. Joshua Sather’s resignation became official four days later. He eventually moved to Colorado, where he works in the oil fields.

    Months after the resignation, Brunsting reported to his superiors that Steven Sather had threatened his life. Sheriff’s investigators interviewed the deputies involved and those who may have witnessed the heated exchange. Prosecutors ultimately declined to press charges.

    When Steven Sather was interviewed, he accused Brunsting of brutalizing mentally disabled inmates, then having the nerve to come after him. The “whole … thing” was over the fact Brunsting was making his nephew beat up “dings,” Sather told investigators.

    “Honestly … I can’t believe this is even happening…. I can’t believe this guy,” he told investigators. “First of all [he] gets away with … this stuff. And now he’s … coming after me criminally?”

    Steven Sather did not respond to requests from The Times for an interview. Brunsting declined to comment. Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said that an internal investigation was conducted into the incident that preceded Sather’s resignation and that “the allegations proved to be unfounded.”

    The investigation apparently broke down, at least in part, because the inmate told a different story than Joshua Sather, before quickly becoming uncooperative, an official said. The other deputies involved also disputed the rookie’s account. And a nurse’s notes listed no detectable injuries on the inmate, only that he’d been pepper sprayed and had redness on his face, the official added.

    When Joshua Sather chose to resign, he wasn’t facing any potential criminal or administrative action, Whitmore said.

    Joshua Sather declined repeatedly to be interviewed by The Times. “I appreciate your interest, but I will have no comment,” he said in one text message.

    Then by phone, the onetime honor recruit stood firm, explaining his reluctance this way:

    “A wise man cries more often than he speaks,” he said. Then he hung up.


  24. If I only had enough time to tell you the stories that I witnessed first hand. I told several non-law enforcement people about the stories I saw and some didn’t believe it. Especially, about all the cheating that goes on in the Academy. Folks, this is where it starts. Certian recruits get away with so much that they think they have a “get out jail card,” when they are hired at the local PD’s. If they are allowed to get away with things likes berating other recuits, having orgies, cheating, lying and God knows what else they did.They come to expect it at work because now they are now officer of the law. It’s a power thing! Several of the recruits that were in my class have been fired, killed people and promoted to Sgt. and Lt.’s. So many of the training officers were so unsable. To give you an exaple one the training officers committed suicide recently. It was only a very small article in the local paper. I think it was from all the guilt about all the cheating and lying that were on there.

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