He speaks to a website called FullertonStories. And what he says is disturbing, to say the least. In a story that quickly dissolves into the typical mushy fell-good bio, newly minted Acting Chief Dan Hughes does drop a few nuggets that are worth considering. Such as a blanket denial that a culture of corruption even exists in the FPD.
“If somebody says there is a culture of corruption, they’re either lying, they have other motives or they are grossly misinformed.” Those are the words of acting Police Chief Dan Hughes while defending the Fullerton police department after it has faced six months of attacks from protesters and bloggers.”
Uh, oh. So we critics of the serial malfeasance in the FDPD are liars; or have other motives; or are “grossly” ignorant. Hmm. Tellingly, there are no embarrassing questions about, and consequently no awkward answers about Rincon, Mater, Mejia, Power, Hampton, Nguyen, Tong, et al. Gee, that was convenient.
In what he hopes will mark a new era of transparency and openness within the Fullerton police department, Hughes recently sat down with reporters from FullertonStories to discuss his plans for the department and his actions on July 5, 2011, the night of the violent altercation at the Fullerton bus depot that resulted in the death of Kelly Thomas.
Well, gee, Danny Boy is willing to sit down with some compliant “reporters” in the service of “transparency,” yet doesn’t address the issue of why transparency is needed in the first place, or why his spokesman, Andrew Goodrich was permitted (or instructed) to lie to the public about the facts in the Kelly Thomas murder.
Hughes describes what happened that night – up to a point. And that point is right before he (or someone working for him) permitted the cops involved in the killing to view the video and then re-write their reports. Neither does he address the sticky issue of his force not treating the site as a possible crime scene, or the alleged confiscation of witnesses’ cell phones and camera film by his cops. He also conveniently omits to explain why the DA was not called in for two days, and then only after being prompted to do so by a call from the DA’s office itself.
Come to think about it, he also never bothers to inform the incurious “reporters” from FullertonStories about how come no internal investigation was done until Michael Gennaco was hired two months after the crime. Details, details.
Hughes paused. “When you look at those steps that were taken in a period of 15 minutes, I ask what of any of that would indicate that we were trying to conceal any information?”
That’s just disingenuous garbage, there. Within that first 15 minutes he had no idea of what really happened. And the fact is that within a short time of the bludgeoning, Andrew Goodrich was already in the process of peddling the bogus story of a violent struggle in which the superman Kelly Thomas, in possession of stolen property, was responsible for breaking the bones of the poor undermanned cops.
What wasn’t done correctly, he said, was that the department didn’t come out and say, “this is what occurred, this is what we did, and this is what we’re going to be doing.
Wrong, again, Dan. What wasn’t done correctly was to put the cops on leave immediately and do a real investigation instead of lying to the public about Thomas.
“And because of that silence, it created a tremendous amount of problems for the police department and the city,” Hughes said.
Incorrect. What caused a tremendous amount of problems for the police department and the city was hiring, deploying, and tolerating drug addicts, con men, pickpockets, thugs, perjurers, Brady cops, sex perverts and sadistic killers on the streets of Fullerton, and in its jail.
We are supposed to be relieved and grateful that Dan is working hard to mollify protesters:
“This is a prime example of how we can respect each others opinions,” Hughes explained. “It’s something that’s been very beneficial, to sit down with the protestors and have a dialogue and admit to them when we have blown it.”
Except that the issues surrounding the crime wave perpetrated by Hughes’ colleagues over the past few years is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of fact. Sorry, Dan, unless you’re going to admit the problem I have no interest in your “opinion.”
But Hughes admitted there is still “lots of work to be done” in the area of restoring public confidence in the department. “We’ve done a very poor job in my opinion on being able to communicate to our community why we do what we do. We have to build that trust and relationship again,” Hughes said.
Uh, huh. More denial. The problem is not lack of communication. The problem is a police force chock-full of miscreants who have obviously taken advantage of a department with little or no moral or ethical leadership, a department that has clearly been tacitly instructed to resort to physical abuse to fix the mess made by the politicians in downtown Fullerton.
P.S. Dan, tearing up bogus tickets your cops just handed out for “excessive horning” doesn’t equate to building trust.
Some of the ways he plans to accomplish that include giving tours of the department, holding community meetings and stepping up the citizens’ academy and ride-along programs.
Tours? Ride alongs? Oh, Brother! How about firing dirty, abusive cops, and not hiring any more, if it’s not too much trouble?
Hughes is also looking at ways the department can build an ethical consequence component to its current training programs to further restore public trust.
Keep looking, Chief. And while you’re at it, how about a genuine punishment component for cops when they violate the very laws they have sworn to uphold?
But rebuilding trust won’t happen overnight, according to Samuel Walker, emeritus professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a nationally recognized expert in police accountability. He said the timetable depends on how credible the response to the crisis is. “One incident like this destroys years and years of building trust within the community,” he explained.
Here’s the obligatory academic on hand to ladle out the cliche soup. The only problem is nobody bothered to tell Professor Walker about the conga line of ethical issues and outright lawbreaking perpetrated by Fullerton cops, and presumably condoned by the department (for the perfect case study consult our posts on Albert Rincon).
Many questions remain about the death of Kelly Thomas and Hughes is looking forward to additional information coming out at the March preliminary trial of officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli. He also eagerly awaits Gennaco’s report about the night of July 5.
Yeah, sure. Whatever you say. Sounds like Dan’s been reading Doc HeeHaw’s memoirs!
Hughes said he has seen the controversial videotape of the Kelly Thomas beating probably 400 times and he calls it “horrific.” Although he would not discuss the details of the video, he said it “clearly depicts the majority of what took place that evening,” and it will clarify a lot of misinformation that has been reported.
Misinformation reported? Come on Dan, you’ve got to be kidding. Most of the misinformation was peddled by your own PIO, Andrew Goodrich.
As for accusations by local bloggers that a “culture of corruption” exists at the Fullerton police department, Hughes calls them completely false.
“From being 18 and fresh out of high school to now holding the highest position in the police department, I can tell you there is no corruption,” Hughes said. “Certainly there have been officers that have made poor ethical decisions. We’ve dealt with those officers, and we will continue to do so.”
This is just pure, unadulterated bullshit. Poor “ethical” decisions? No more comment necessary.
I have to give credit to FullertonStories by surprisingly permitting councilman Bruce Whitaker to spray some much needed cold water on the love fest:
But City Councilman Bruce Whitaker said he is reserving judgment until he gets all the information. “On every other level I like what I see (about Hughes), but we’re going to have a whole lot of information at our disposal when the Gennaco report comes our way in about three weeks.”
Whitaker said it’s not just the Kelly Thomas incident that concerns him, but a number of police-related problems that have occurred within a short window, including the death-in-custody case last April that triggered his skepticism as to what is going on in the department.
He noted that Hughes and Capt. Kevin Hamilton are both part of the leadership culture that includes Police Chief Michael Sellers (now on medical leave) and former Police Chief Pat McKinley. “I need to sort out and determine who may have contributed to the current culture,” Whitaker said.
Thanks for that, Bruce. But no, you don’t get the last word on FullertonStories, no siree!
But Hughes stands by his officers. “They are absolutely dedicated to serving this community in an ethical manner, and that’s what I’m committed to ensuring they’re doing,” he said. “We have a lot of leaders in our police department, and we’re excited about the opportunities and challenges we have before us. We’re going to come out a better police department.”
Oh, really? The only reason the community should have one iota of confidence in that statement is because all the FPD bad guys are finally on the right side of the jail bars.
They aren’t. Not yet.