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The Culture of Corruption Has A Price Tag. And It’s Big

At tonight’s Fullerton City Council meeting the City Attorney announced that the council had unanimously voted to pay $1,000,000 to Cathy Thomas, the mother of Kelly, who was beaten to death by members of the FPD who bashed in his face, and ribs, tased him, sat on his chest, and then stood around while the homeless man died in the gutter.

A million bucks. It’s hard to begrudge the Thomas family of the settlements that are coming their way in this obscene killing. And yet for those of us who have criticized the obvious Culture of Corruption in the FPD it rankles to contemplate the fact that we are responsible for the bill; and that other enormous payouts are coming our way.

Pat McKinley created this unholy mess as police chief while Don Bankhead and Dick Jones sat on their fat behinds all these years as the department festered under the incompetent and indifferent leadership. We get the bill. And Acting Chief Hughes can only act like nothing is wrong, even as Joe Wolfe, the apparent instigator of the Thomas murder breathes the air of a free man on paid vacation.

First there was the sexual battery cases against Albert Rincon. Those cost $350,000. We now know the Thomas murder will probably cost us at least $3,000,000. And there’s no telling what the other violent and criminal episodes perpetrated by thugs like Kenton Hampton, et. al., will cost.

I also note that once again PatMcPension voted to approve a settlement to make on of his embarrassing problems go away.

Really folks, haven’t you seen enough of this rogue’s gallery? The answer is crystal clear. RECALL.

68 thoughts on “The Culture of Corruption Has A Price Tag. And It’s Big

  1. Much more cash for settlement > Step 1
    Recall > Step 2
    Heavy long-term Jail time for six (6) cops for first degree murder > Step 3
    FULL BLOWN ACCOUNTABILITY.
    No negotiation.
    No compromise.
    NOTHING LESS.
    PERIOD!
    EXTERMINATE police brutality NOW!

  2. “A million bucks. It’s hard to begrudge the Thomas family of the settlements that are coming their way in this obscene killing. And yet for those of us who have criticized the obvious Culture of Corruption in the FPD it rankles to contemplate the fact that we are responsible for the bill; and that other enormous payouts are coming our way”

    You got it!!! The innocent taxpayers get caught holding the bag. The Fullerton cops will probably get a bigger budget next fiscal year. None of them will pay a dime for what happened to Kelly – other than what normal taxpayers pay. Why do you think these scandals keep repeating themselves? It’s because there is no real financial punishment for the actual culprits. Only 2 of the 6 are being prosecuted!!! That’s only 33%!!! The odds are that if you are a cop and participate in a murder, even if it’s caught on camera, that you will walk!!!

    And now that the settlement is made there is no civil trial which means that more of the truth can be hidden from the public. Why did she settle so early??? If the Thomas family wanted real transparency for Kelly why didn’t they take it all the way to trial???

    1. You make a good point about the lack of financial accountability. But I wouldn’t blame a parent for settling. Who would want to go through a trial on something so traumatic. Anyway, Ron Thomas has not settled yet.

      1. Jt, fill me in.

        How could Ron Thomas and his wife settle separately with the city for the murder of their son??? Apparently I missed a part of this story.

        But you know that when the civil case is settled that the chance for REAL transparency is greatly diminished, right?

        1. Sure. I would hope the new city council would NOT settle in order to further the uncovering of corruption and criminal behavior. Even of it costs us more.

          The Thomases are divorced I believe, and filed separate suits.

          1. “Sure. I would hope the new city council would NOT settle in order to further the uncovering of corruption and criminal behavior. Even of it costs us more”

            You know better than that, Jt.

            You’d better get the city council candidates to sign a written pledge to that effect.

            Otherwise, forget it.

            Once they get into office they turn from Jeckyl into Hyde. You know that.

    2. This poster pretty much called it: http://www.fullertonsfuture.org/2012/born-to-lose-the-do-nothing-das-recipe-for-failure/#comment-89065

      No matter how you slice it, they (by that I mean the DA and the City not “the people) expect the case to fail and when it does they do not need Ron Thomas screaming outrage and the community demanding justice. I suspect what is going to happen between the trial and verdict is they’re going to make him a nice offer and fast track it provided he agrees to their terms (and of course most settlements are confidential so don’t expect any parties involved to disclose the terms).

      Obviously he never considered other Thomas family members but we’ve had quite a few posters who have been pretty accurate early on.

    3. Just Us: Ron Thomas hasn’t settled yet, only the Mom. And yes, there will be a civil trial which will most likely get settled during the trial when the juicier items are made known.
      Why is Wolfe on Admin leave? If we gonna pay him, he is gonna work. He looks good for a desk job. He can take over former Sgt Goodlie’s old job since Sgt. ANdy got promoted.

      1. It will be interesting to see what sort of money Frederick Ronald Thomas Jr. gets out of this since he is not a blood relative of Kelly Thomas.

  3. She is done with everything concerning Kelly Thomas. That says alot about her. Give me my money before my ex husband takes it all. Greedy bitch. Couldnt wait until the trial was over. She let the world know the real person she it. Her attorney will get 1/3 so she will end with much less. One million that is all her son was worth. Shame on her!!

    1. I imagine you don’t have kids John Doe, since most women prefer not to mate with feral troglodytes. If you did, you’re know that a million dollars for their life would be nothing at all.

      You’re a pathetic excuse for a human being. If you’re not a cop, you’d be better off not supporting them, since all you are doing is making them look like remorseless, shallow, psychopaths.

      1. Oh he has offspring all right. They lurk in the back of the cave, afraid of the light. Maternity unknown.

        I know! Let’s send them to the Fullerton Police Academy and give them tasers and guns!

    2. Mellow out Cincinelli and focus on your impending trial. Attacking Ms. Thomas like that is uncalled for.

  4. The early settlemtent seems to take a little steam out of the upcoming trial.To focus completly on the prosecution of the officers seems to be what would really bring justice for Kelly. If Kelly survived I believe he would want the officers held accountable and the money would not be the focus. What he seemed to want most in life is to have a sence of self and belonging free from badgering of others. The money involved makes it easier to give the officers a lighter sentence. Justice for Kelly involves more than money. I want to stay focused on what true justice means. Money can never bring true justice. True justice would be to clean up the department and fire the officers. A payout makes it easier for the perpetrater to feel that his dues have been paid.

  5. Well, I feel vindicated that a city with a tight budget blows $350,000 for a sexual harassment back seat of patrol car case, $1,000,000 partial settlement for a killing, then the other part of the settlement for the father, then the Tranh case of false imprisonment. All this while the illegal water tax is taken away. One has to wonder how Fullerton will pay its bills. In Lynwood, they just didn’t pave city streets for numerous years. Maybe across the board pay cuts to all city workers. That should have them out pointing fingers everywhere! We gonna need lots of good luck in Fullerton to get through this mess.

  6. This “settlement” overshadowed the community fighting back like hell tonight. Those bastards calculated this very carefully.

  7. Fullerton has reached a settlement with Cathy Thomas, the mother of Kelly Thomas, to the sum of $1 million.

    Its easy to settle when you had a restraining order against him anyway…

  8. Speaking of the culture of corruption, and we have all see enough evidence that FPD is corrupt regardless of what that Gennaco bullshit says. What do you think the chances are that Captain Hughes rose to the top of such a corrupt PD by being a good honest cop?

    1. ” What do you think the chances are that Captain Hughes rose to the top of such a corrupt PD by being a good honest cop?”

      The same chances that today I will grow a pair of wings and fly.

  9. We should pray for this family.

    We should also develop a clear and sensible and well publicized plan of action for police departments to use which explains exactly how to interact with individuals who suffer from the mental illness which Kelly Thomas did.

    Undoubtedly many “inexplicably” homeless people are suffering from such types of mental illness.

    Our police should understand this and be able to recognize it and deal humanely with it.

    Obviously, our policemen and their leadership cannot be mean bastards themselves, who are given to beating and abusing people under the color of thier very misplaced “authority.”

  10. The really unsettling part of this is the way the council made this deal – and NONE of the reasons are in the interests of the citizens of Fullerton.

    Whitaker certainly felt it a just amount and maybe lower than a potential loss at trial. But the other four are just willing to pay anything it takes to make these cases go away and dodge public airing of FPD malfeasance and their own accountability. Quirk, especially now has incentive to try to clean the slate ASAP.

    I believe we need a civil trial to bring out all the facts that the DA has no interest in pursuing. I’m sick of the coverups of McKinley’s Creeps. We need real transparency. Without it that department will never be reformed. We already know it has zero interest in reforming itself.

    It may sound weird, but I don’t want to settle with the rest of the Thomas family. Fullerton can’t afford to sweep any more crap under the rug.

    1. Joe, I’m 100% with you. The only way we’ll ever get justice for Kelly is by forcing a trial. I hope the new council sees it that way, too.

    2. RIGHT ON Joe, YOU nailed it again.

      I’d like to add if you don’t think that offer discussed last night has anything to do at least in part because the video is now in the public eye, YOU still might be on the learning curve about life.

  11. Fullerton residents need to GET INVOLVED in this VERY IMPORTANT RECALL VOTE if they ever hope to restore what was once an honest and integriful leadership system! This corruption and blatant abuse of the public AND public fund$ has got to STOP!

  12. Kelly was a 37 year old man taking responsibility for his own life and was not living under the care of his parents. Why do the parents show up and expect a generous payout. They were never seen here in fullerton attending the needs of their son.Many family have wrongful deaths. Do families always get a payout?

    1. You’re making the same tired statements that were debunked months and months ago. Just go away. Go away please.

  13. There is no question Joe Wolfe should have been charged with assault with intent to to do great bodily injury. In FACT, it was Wolfe himself that precipitated the entire sequence of unnecessary events that then led to the lawlessness and death of Thomas at the hands of Fullerton police. You can hear some very hard blows to Thomas’ body by Wolfe and Ramos after the action moves out of view of the city camera. What OCDA Tony Rackauckas was thinking as he dismissed Wolfe from any wrongdoing, I have no idea, but Rackauckas’ decision not to charge Wolfe was certainly not in the interest of justice – that much is certain. When a jury looks at this conundrum, they may certainly think that Wolfe should have been charged – as I do, and determine that Ramos and Cicinelli are culpable but not to the degree that they were charged. I believe this was a deliberate mistake and a ploy by Rackauckas to return a hung jury or get these charges dropped down because of the possibility of jury confusion over existing charges. As the public was prevented from viewing the tape, the DA was free to chart a course that may ultimately lead to exoneration of Ramos of the 2nd degree charge. If I had any say in this matter ALL of the hogs involved would have been charged with felonies since the police reports were re-written after apparent videotape tutoring to help them refresh their memories. Evidence of coverup is evidence of GUILT. All involved should be serving many years (15+) in prison for violating a public trust – if nothing else. This type of behavior would STOP if there was sufficient accountability. Oh, by the way, the Feds are watching this entire debacle unfold; they will have to re-sort out the charges when the appropriate time comes -in order to clean this mess up in Fullerton. Other cops will probably be charged when that time comes. The City of Fullerton’s pitifully insufficient oversight over their police department is a separate problem that the Feds will likely address; the re-written police reports, undisciplined abusive cops that were allowed to continue street duty, etc. It certainly seems in order that the Fullerton police department facility should have video cameras installed to monitor and babysit all activities in order to prevent valuable taxpayer funds from being jeopardized as a result of police lawlessness.

    1. 440 Dodge, let’s not forget the FBI is not done with this case to my knowledge.

      They can still act if they wish.

      Even if Ramos and his crew are acquitted at the State level, it doesn’t mean it’s over until the feds say so.

      If the feds say refile the case against those involved in will be a serious POLITICAL slap in the DA’s face.

      How much damage that might do to the DA will remain to be seen.

      But I agree with you 100%. I could CLEARLY hear Kelly getting beat from the audio alone.

      Ron Thomas needs to proceed to civil trail and expose managment for their misdeeds in this case.

      Let’s hear about whatever that we won’t hear about in the criminal trial.

      Let’s see if Chief Hughes can handle the rigorous cross examination of plaintiff’s councel.

      Once that is done, then the world will know if Chief Hughes is a leader under fire.

      1. Don’t forget this lawsuit http://www.fullertonsfuture.org/2012/oh-damn-another-fpd-brutality-lawsuit-in-federal-court/ filed in Federal and state court. This is the one in which the complaint clearly rests on FPD knowledge of a culture of brutality in the department which was NOT investigated and stopped, leading to the specific complaints detailed here. This one will air all the dirty laundry. Besides Ron Thomas’s suit, this is the other one that needs to go to trial.

        1. I love this poem. The book is really sweet. My favtoire line is “I am your dandelion, you are my first wish.” One day when I was very pregnant with my first daughter, I painted a pair of dandelions on her wall with “…you are my first wish” scrawled beside it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to paint over it. 🙂

  14. I don’t begrudge Kelly thomas’ mother settling out of court. However, isn’t this what got us into this mess in the first place? Our esteemed city council members Jones and Bankhead and then Fullerton police chief McKinley used our precious tax dollars to buy the silence of Fullerton PD’s victims.
    Not until the brutal murder in full view of the public by Fullerton PD were the good people of fullerton aware their police force is a gang of thugs whose civil rights abuses were hidden by hush “legal settlements” money

  15. PREDICTION: If the DA’s case fails, then you will see the FBI bring forth charges against at least 3 of the offending individuals who caused Kelly Thomas’ death. Same situation as the Rodney King beating. The Constitution does not allow for “double jeopardy.” So, the DA is prosecuting for murder and manslaughter, the Fed’s will prosecute for civil rights violations!

    Comprende?

  16. Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241
    Conspiracy Against Rights

    This statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).

    It further makes it unlawful for two or more persons to go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another with the intent to prevent or hinder his/her free exercise or enjoyment of any rights so secured.

    Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to ten years, or both; and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years, or for life, or may be sentenced to death.

    Tu capisci??

      1. The applicable word you’re (nice demo of how this contraction is correctly used) looking for is oppress, not injure.

        Conspiracy is a complex legal term. The Cliff’s Note version is if you participate in the orchestration or execution of a felony, you’re guilty of the same felony.

        In this case, it’s conspiracy to violate Kelly Thomas’s civil liberties and rights, specifically due process.

          1. “Injure?” What the hell does that mean?

            Let’s see, Cicinelli admits “I smahed his face to hell.” Sound like a confession of intent to injure.

          2. I’m sure it is a very big word for you. Here’s a bigger one: Mens Rea. That’s what you really trying to talk about.

            “Intent to conspire” is an absurd statement. Ones does not intend to conspire. One conspires.

            For the second time, we’re not talking about intent to injure. We’re talking about oppression of civil liberties and rights. Participating in either the orchestration or execution of said oppression would fall under conspiracy, making one guilty of the same felony.

      2. Where have you been, Doe? Did you look at the tape and listen to Ramos? Ramos, by his own words / admission, intended to: (key word: ‘Intended’) “See these fists, they’re going to fuck you up…” It’s entirely clear that Ramos’ partner Wolfe was on board with that philosphy and Wolfe, in fact, swung his baton first and initiated the entire sequence despite no physical aggression other than Thomas standing up after the extended ‘simon-says’ routine with Ramos. Wolfe should have been charged with felony assault, like Cicinelli. The cop attorneys will argue that the ‘officers’ perception was that the 140 lb Thomas represented a ‘threat’ to these 250+ lb hogs equipped with 10 shot semi-auto pistols. Of course, this logic is preposterous but the defense has little to work with other than raising doubt in one juror’s mind. Thomas’ father summed it up correctly stating: “This is a case of contempt of cop.” As for Title 18, Section 241, this clause is entirely relevant and the Feds will likely pursue that reasoning in their civil rights case these cops and the Fullerton police department. Citizens have a RIGHT to be free from physical harm / while being detained or in the custody of police. Just because these criminals happen to be cops does not exempt them. Your observations / logic would have worked well in 1930’s Nazi Germany but not here, and not with us, bud.

  17. The above is just my theory and opinion. Maybe I’m wrong. We’ll just have to see where this case goes.

  18. Troubles me that the city isn’t admitting any guilt- Is this common?

    The timing of it has me wondering- before a trial and a recall election?

  19. In my mind, the fact that the city is willing to pay out a mil. to Cathy, tells me they are admitting guilt.

  20. The payout is what we call shut up money! This is because whenever money is paid out in advance of a civil trial, there are clauses included to prevent the dissemination of any further information concerning the charges. In other words, its hush money. Not so, with a criminal trial. Personally, I believe Mrs. Thomas settled for far too little, but she will get a lump sum and give a 1/3 to her attorney.
    Ron Thomas is interested in the criminal prosecution first, since that trial is first. Then normally, comes the civil charges and civil trial. Info that comes out in the criminal trial can be used in the civil trial and in settlement talks.
    If the recall is successful, the city council having to OK civil settlements will be the ones who saw this beating/death as a travesty. Personally, I would love to see a civil trial in OC since the ruling is by a preponderance of evidence and the jurors do not have to be unanimous. Many will think that a large sum will send the proper message to Fullerton about their PD. The bankruptcy of the City will cause a disbandment of the police force. Thus, I am looking forward to a civil trial after the criminal trial. Do to decisions by the city council and the recommendations of the city manager, Fullerton is a self insured city. Good luck residents!

  21. 440 Dodge :
    There is no question Joe Wolfe should have been charged with assault with intent to to do great bodily injury. In FACT, it was Wolfe himself that precipitated the entire sequence of unnecessary events that then led to the lawlessness and death of Thomas at the hands of Fullerton police. You can hear some very hard blows to Thomas’ body by Wolfe and Ramos after the action moves out of view of the city camera. What OCDA Tony Rackauckas was thinking as he dismissed Wolfe from any wrongdoing, I have no idea, but Rackauckas’ decision not to charge Wolfe was certainly not in the interest of justice – that much is certain. When a jury looks at this conundrum, they may certainly think that Wolfe should have been charged – as I do, and determine that Ramos and Cicinelli are culpable but not to the degree that they were charged. I believe this was a deliberate mistake and a ploy by Rackauckas to return a hung jury or get these charges dropped down because of the possibility of jury confusion over existing charges. As the public was prevented from viewing the tape, the DA was free to chart a course that may ultimately lead to exoneration of Ramos of the 2nd degree charge. If I had any say in this matter ALL of the hogs involved would have been charged with felonies since the police reports were re-written after apparent videotape tutoring to help them refresh their memories. Evidence of coverup is evidence of GUILT. All involved should be serving many years (15+) in prison for violating a public trust – if nothing else. This type of behavior would STOP if there was sufficient accountability. Oh, by the way, the Feds are watching this entire debacle unfold; they will have to re-sort out the charges when the appropriate time comes -in order to clean this mess up in Fullerton. Other cops will probably be charged when that time comes. The City of Fullerton’s pitifully insufficient oversight over their police department is a separate problem that the Feds will likely address; the re-written police reports, undisciplined abusive cops that were allowed to continue street duty, etc. It certainly seems in order that the Fullerton police department facility should have video cameras installed to monitor and babysit all activities in order to prevent valuable taxpayer funds from being jeopardized as a result of police lawlessness.

    Wake up and smell the coffee! The Federal government is NOT on the side of the people… anything but. Who do you think has been buying local police departments billions of dollars in military grade weapons and equipment… everything from automatic rifles to troop carriers. The US Federal government, aka fascism, has nothing to do with even-handed local policing. Slap yourself with some cold water. The Feds are NOT your friends.

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