The cops always ask us, when we dare to criticize their unlawful, corrupt,or incompetent behavior: who are you going to call when you need help? Sometimes the question evolves into a statement: I hope we’re gonna be there when you need us. Then it always comes across as a thinly veiled bit of extortion on the part of those sworn to uphold “public safety,” and are taking public money (lots of it) to do so. I’m reminded of the mob shakedown racketeer: jeez, it will be a real shame if something is happening to youse guy’s nice bisness.
But enough small talk. FFFF received correspondence today from a Fullerton resident who believes he recently made a big mistake calling the FPD instead of just relying on the kindness of strangers.
Here is the story in his very own words – as addressed to the Police Chief, the City Council and the District Attorney.
Date: Sunday, September 29, 2019
To: Fullerton Police Chief, City Council Members, Orange County District Attorneys Office
From: Toby R Oliver, Fullerton resident
A call by me to the Fullerton Police Department last night for help in finding a mother and two-year old son has exploded into at hellish nightmare after FPD Sergeants decided to arrest said mother for doing nothing more than getting lost.
My wife and mother of our three sons, Pranee Sribunruang, now sits in the Santa Ana Jail on $100,000 bail, charged with felony child endangerment because two Fullerton Police Sergeants decided it was their duty to put her there after she went for a walk, got lost and took several hours to make it back home.
FPD Sergeants Brandon Clyde and Emmanuel Pulido pitched a mission of help and concern when I met them out front of our home last night, pulling out all the stops to help find Pranee and our two-year-old son Leo. Then just as the Sheriff’s Department blood hound was about to be given her scent, Pranee stepped out of a vehicle that had pulled up, driven by a good semaritan who found her and Leo at a gas station and brought them home.
This is when it all changed.
Immediately, Pranee was someone who had done something wrong. Forcing her to sit on the curb, out came a thosand questions from the officers. Where did you go? What were you doing? Who were you with? “What do you mean you wanted to walk to Norwalk, you can’t walk to Norwalk,” Sergeant Pulido spewed. I tried to step in, and the officers pulled me away, saying this and that about needing to talk to her separately. One of the junior officers brought me aside and tried to calm me down, “We just want to help her, find out what’s going on,” he said. “Go inside and I’ll call you out in a minute.”
I waited a few minutes, went back outside and Pranee was gone. I asked where she was. “She is being arrested,” they said. “For what,” I replied, “which car is she in?” They wouldn’t tell me, and they wouldn’t tell me what she was being charged with. “You’ll find out Tuesday,” one of them said. Then I saw her head up against the back side window of one of the patrol cars. I went toward her, grabbed at the window and said “babe.” I didn’t know what to say. It had all gone horribly wrong, so quick. And I was responsible because I had called the FPD for their help.
Before I could do anything else, one of the officers jumped in the car and tore off down the street, leaving me there looking after her. I still didn’t really understand what was happening. This was supposed to be about finding Pranee and Leo. Now they were taking her away before I could even hug her.
Pranee is the kindest person I know. Her life is about showing kindess to others. Everyone she meets falls in love with her and her kind spirit. She had never been arrested before. She never even had a speeding ticket. No misdemeanors, no arguments with anyone (except me, her husband), and certainly never any child neglect or endangerment. The only way you knew she was mad at you was when she didn’t speak to you. Now she sits in the Santa Ana County Jail thanks to Sergeants Pulido and Clyde, and our family is torn apart.
The officers asked me earlier in the night, “has she ever threatened to harm herself or her son.” No I said emphatically. Her and I have had our issues, as most couples do. And she has experienced some depression recently, and we are working on this and trying to seek some mental health treatment. All this I told the officers, but sergeants Clyde and Pulido took this to mean something very different.
There was no harm to my son Leo. There was no endangerment, unless walking on the sidewalk at night is felony endangerment in today’s Southern California. Clyde and Pulido just didn’t like her explanation that she wanted to walk to Norwalk to see a friend and trade jewelry. I had explained to them that I had her only debit card because I had misplaced mine the day before, or, she told the officers, she would have taken Uber. Her phone had no service, so she couldn’t call us. It just didn’t add up for Clyde and Pulido so they decided “she met the criteria” and ripped apart our family, just at the moment we were reunited.
Now, I realize the worse thing I did that night was to call FPD, because in the end she made it home on her own – even though we were all very worried – and we would all be home together tonight enjoying each other. Instead FPD has torn our family apart, and we are lost. Never will I seek the aide of FPD again.
And one last thing, I don’t blame Clyde and Pulido as much as I blame the FPD. Where would they get this attitude, this aggressive nature? Where would they get the idea that somebody needed to go to jail in this situation. This is training that comes from the top, and that is your real problem Police Chief and City Councilmembers. Something very rotten is at the heart of your police department, and you need to do something about it.
Toby R Oliver
Now of course this is only Mr. Oliver’s story, but as stories go, it seems to have a degree of verisimilitude. The City will have its own version of the tale, no doubt, even if we are never allowed to see it.
Please note Mr. Oliver’s two conclusions: namely, that it would have been far better for him to have never called the Fullerton Police Department at all; and that there must be an ingrained culture of aggression and inhumanity in the department. As to the first conclusion, I leave that for others to determine. As to the second issue, those of us watching the FPD and the way it operates, have long ago detected a wide vein of callousness that accompanied the criminal and abusive behavior by its employees.
So what will come of all this except embarrassment for his family and big legal bills for Mr. Oliver? He won’t get any satisfaction from his communicants, that’s for sure, or even an apology. No, for the FPD admits of no error as its careening incompetence smashes across the lives of the people who have had the misfortune to be in their way.