In the past few weeks these pages have been littered with a startling list of charges of criminal behavior by members of the Fullerton Police Department, starting with larceny, and evolving through credit card fraud, assault, charges of sexual battery, and of course the gang-homicide of a mentally ill homeless man.
I believe the public is perfectly justified in assuming the worst and that the stuff that has come out recently is indicative of a systemic problem. After all nobody, especially the local “journalists,” were paying the least attention. The issue can’t be deflected by the childish “not all cops are bad” nonsense. The problem is that no cops should be bad – and if any are they should be weeded out quickly and the failure analyzed immediately. After all, these individuals literally hold the power of life and death over you and me. Just like they held it over Kelly Thomas.
And all this begs the simple question: who in the Hell is in charge at FPD? The obvious answer is nobody, if one discounts the unsettling possibility that the cops are in charge of themselves.
Okay, but who should be responsible for making sure the cops are on the up and up?
Well, the first answer, of course, is the the Chief of Police, Mike Sellers. True, he inherited a department, such as it was. But he’s been here a couple of years now. Early on he promised publication of his departments policy on Taser use; that was just a load of unadulterated bullshit. After the Thomas killing occurred, during the initial period when he obviously thought he could skate by on business as usual, he took off on vacation. Seller’s nonchalance backfired. It backfired badly. He failed to get the cops involved off the streets, let alone putting them on leave; tellingly this only happened when the media finally became interested in the Thomas death. And this alone justifies his dismissal.
Of course theoretically the FPD answers to the civilian authorities. Which brings us to the Silent City Council Trio: Mssrs. Bankhead, Jones, and McKinley.
Don Bankhead is a former cop, and as such should be the most savvy of the three when it comes to understanding the propensity of cop culture to veer out of control. Every time he runs for office he makes sure the electorate knows he is ex-cop. But Bankhead, apart from dubious mental faculties is also a tool of the police union that has supported their boy for over twenty-two years: twenty-two years and numerous pension spikes and giveaways to the union.
F. Dick Jones? When Jones is not berating his constituents from the dais he is mangling the scripts written for him by City staff. He has never seen a uniform he didn’t like, and was once heard to say: “you don’t get anywhere in Fullerton badmouthing the Fullerton Police Department.” From a political standpoint truer words were never spoken. But Jones is fond of bragging about his service in military; and the military is all about rules and regs so Jones had better start explaining how the FPD came to be what it is today – during his 15 years in office.
And finally we come to councilman Pat McKinley, former Fullerton Chief of Police, a repuglican cipher dropped on Fullerton by the GOP establishment. McKinley’s got some serious explaining to do since it was under his seventeen-year watch that the Fullerton FPD seems to have descended into the morass in which we currently find it. He was the one who apparently hired a one-eyed cop who was rejected by the LAPD, a cop who seems to be intimately connected to the Thomas murder. He was the one who left his command structure behind. He was the one who, instead of overseeing his department, spent his days inventing a vest that could be sold to his department.
McKinley makes well over $200,000 a year in pensions. Pensions racked up during years supposedly in charge of the Fullerton Police Department.
When someone refers to the gang of thugs that murdered Kelly Thomas as “The McKinley Six” they are right on the mark.
Finally, it seems to have escaped the notice of these three council chimps that even as they plead to the public to wait for “the Authorities” to develop their cover-up, er, investigation, their slimy lawyer is offering Ron Thomas $900,000 to just go away. The irony is pretty profound. But something tells me irony is lost on these three.