How To Turn a Paramedic Call Into a SWAT Nightmare

Guess what, Friends? Last month the City of Fullerton got sued again – stemming from an FPD incident in 2005. We have thoughtfully attached a copy of the complaint, below.

According to the complaint, some dude named Ernest Benefiel took some sleeping pills in a locked bedroom. Naturally, Benefiel fell asleep. His elderly father, concerned, called the paramedics because he thought his son was depressed. So far so good.

Unfortunately the paramedics called the good folks at the Fullerton Police Department who arrived on the scene, and because they learned that Benefiel owned a gun, decided to turn the place into some kind of hostage stand-off situation – even though there was no hostage. Some time elapsed and the cops, perhaps, became bored. To get Benefiel’s attention they deployed a flash grenade outside the guy’s window,  followed a dozen shotgun “bean bags” blasts through the same window. Benefiel was hit by one of the rounds and finally woke up from his pill-induced slumber; and, thinking he was under attack from criminals, fired a pistol shot out the window and hit a street sign.The cops then started blasting blindly into the room.

A while later Benfiel finally got his bearings and climbed out the window and surrendered peacefully – even though he had committed no crime.

Now you would think that upon mature reflection the cops’ superiors would have recognized how their out-of-control underlings unnecessarily escalated a pretty harmless situation into a SWAT stand off, and just let the whole thing go. But no! The cops and the DA decided to prosecute Benefiel for firing on a police officer. In fact, they tried him twice, and each time the case was overturned on appeal.

Meantime, Benefiel had spent over five years in jail for the heinous act of simply defending himself. And now the taxpayers of Fullerton are staring at yet another FPD civil suit settlement.

Read the complaint

If you read the complaint you will notice an inescapable fact: according to a police training expert FPD tactics violated procedure on the use of the flash grenade, the shot gun bean bags, and blindly shooting projectiles.

And who was boss of the FPD at the time and supposedly accountable for the actions of his boys? That’s right. Former Chief and current councilman Pat McKinley.

Jeez, that was such a long ago...

Fortunately we can help make sure this incompetent clown is not around after June 5th to vote for anymore settlements that would hush up embarrassing revelations about the Culture of Corruption he created while head of the Fullerton Police Department.

McPension Struts His Stuff

In an ideal city our elected officials would know what the hell they were voting on. Alas, in Fullerton, such is not the case. Here is the egregious Pat McKinley last Tuesday demonstrating that he hasn’t got a clue what he is talking about. First he emphatically says there is no Ackerman project. Then, when corrected, he emphatically says he supports the Ackerman project.

McPension is totally clueless, except for one thing: He knows that his pal Dick Ackerman needs an approval of a lousy project with a massive subsidy to keep his oily hide employed. And that’s enough for McKinley.

We Get Mail: Take Him Out of The Ball Game…

Here’s an irate e-mail we received from a Golden Hills Little League parent explaining that despite his political troubles, Fullerton FPD Culture of Corruption architect Pat McPension just couldn’t be denied his place as a speaker  at opening day ceremonies. Strings were pulled, leverage was exerted.

But what’s this?

Something better came along...

Subject: McKinley – Little League Opening Day

I contacted you last week informing you that McKinley had strong armed Golden Hill Little League via Parks & rec’s John Clements to speak at GHLL’s Opening Day this past weekend.  Despite the league’s concerns given recent news re: Mr. McKinley and the fact that this is a children’s event, they were informed in no uncertain terms that as Mr. McKinley sat on committe responsible for assigning fields to youth programs, not letting him speak would be a bad idea.  With their backs against the wall GHLL, a non-profit youth baseball league, decided to allow McKinley a few words.

And the dude NO-SHOWED…

So after strongarming GHLL and indirectly threatening to look unfavorably on their requests for city fields in the future, McKinley didn’t even show…or have the courtesy to have his people call GHLL to let them know.  He was a no call/no show.


Message to Golden Hills Little League organizers: no good deed goes unpunished.

Ackerman Trying to Sell His Lemons, But No One Wants Lemonade.

I have it on good authority that anti-recall team captain Dick Ackerman has been diligently hounding OC Register personnel to start flogging the wonderful deeds accomplished by the Three Rotten Eggs, Dick Jones, Don Bankhead, and Pat McPension.

Will it work? It’s hard to see how. Two of the three are career public employees with massive inflation-linked pensions; Jones was the drum-beater for the abortive pension spike of 2008 only stopped by Shawn Nelson; Jones and Bankhead have approved of an illegal 10% water tax every year for 15 years; and all three have been reliable water bearers for whatever idiocy was put in front of them by the city bureaucracy.

Ackerman has millions of reasons to fight the recall of the gents who are in the process of handing his client a deal worth millions in government subsidies, but the editorialists at the Register have no reason to promote these clowns.

True, Ackerman is drinking buddies with a couple of the Register social columnists – the same ones that went out of their way to pass on the smears of Ackerman against Chris Norby, and to promote the useless, carpetbagging Ackerwoman.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see if Ackerman’s efforts to promote the unpromotable, gains traction.

Oh, No. Not Again! Another Black Eye For The FPD.

To swerve and deflect.

The Fullerton FPD Culture of Corruption just got a new inductee into its Hall of Shame today, as reported by the OC Register’s Sean Emery, here.

It seems that FPD employee April Baughman, 52, is cooling her heels in the County jail, alleged to have swiped cash from the FPD property room for – get this – two freakin’ years!

The money quote comes from our friend “Acting” Chief Dan Hughes who is quoted as saying:

“When there are violations of public trust or actions which result in the reduction of confidence in the police department, disciplinary action will be taken swiftly and decisively.”

Uh, yeah, Dan, sure. Whatever you say. At least we didn’t have to read such inane bullshit as spoken by the otiose Sgt. Goodrich, although he probably wrote it.

Too bad swift and decisive disciplinary action wasn’t taken against the thugs who killed Kelley Thomas until ten weeks after he was murdered.

Just gimme a minute, here.

This latest humiliation begs two questions. One, how could there have been no accounting of property room inventory over this period without the collusion of at least one other miscreant; and two, how much will the Culture of Corruption created by Pat McKinley and tolerated by sleepwalking councilmembers Don Bankhead and Dick Jones end up costing us?

And naturally we are left to ponder the previous assertion of Acting Chief Hughes: anyone who believes there is a Culture of corruption in the FPD is either lying or misinformed.

Newsflash, Chief: we are not lying and we are not misinformed.

The Insidious Theft of Our Sovereignty

UPDATE: As noted in the comment from Chris Thompson below, he did not learn about the Beechwood situation (whatever it is) from FFFF. This was my error. I misread the following comment made by Thompson in yesterday’s post: 

For clarity’s sake, I have NOT been briefed on any aspect of this story beyond the information which has been made publicly available in the meeting posted here.

I read this to mean that he had not been briefed at all. I do not know if he had an independent briefing from Hovey, but he was actually at the meeting in question. My mistake. I have edited the text below. 

In the past few days in Fullerton we have witnessed the usurpation of public sovereignty by government employees and contractors who seem to believe it is their right, not our representative’s, to determine what sorts of information the duly elected representatives are, or are not permitted to see.

First, was the protracted saga of Fullerton City councilman Bruce Whitaker, who for seven moths has been trying to get access to the video of  FPD cops beating Kelly Thomas to death. This is a pretty reasonable request, you would think, given the fact that the cops have watched and re-watched the video (Acting Chief Dan Hughes says he’s seen it 400 times); it’s been viewed by the DA; it’s been  watched by Cicinelli and Ramos’s lawyers; apparently it’s even been watched by Ron Thomas, father of the dead man. But for some reason the City Manager and City Attorney believe they have the authority to deny access of this public document to Bruce Whitaker, and have used the majority vote of the Three Dim Bulbs to continue to deny Whitaker access.

This is just an outrageous usurpation of the authority that accrues to elected officials by virtue of their popular election. Despite what the bureaucrats and their die-hard elected supporters believe, the sovereignty invested in the elected is indivisible and should never be confused with the practical exigency of majority rule that determines policy and decides the quotidian issues of managing a city.

And then, we have the very recent sad spectacle of a Fullerton School District trustee, Chris Thompson, not being adequately briefed on a matter involving a teacher at Beechwood Elementary School – a matter so serious that the Fullerton police were called in to investigate it, and an emergency parent meeting held. Whatever is going on, the Superintendant, Mitch Hovey decided that the trustees didn’t need to know about it.

The question of whether other trustees besides Thompson were briefed remains to be ascertained, and if so that would make matters even worse.

But here’s the really bad part. According to Thompson: Dr. Hovey informed me that he had been advised by the district’s law firm as to what information he could and could not give to the board members. He did confirm that he knows more than we do. 

Say what? That law firm doesn’t work for Hovey; it works for the Board of Trustees who hired them. It has no business collaborating with the Superintendent to decide what information can and can’t be parceled out to the Board. And anybody who doesn’t grasp this basic tenet shouldn’t be on the Board or work for it, either.

As Assemblyman Norby pointed out in his newsletter, it is both the right and the responsibility of elected officials to have reasonable access to public property and documents in order to do their jobs. The Legislative Counsel for the State of California said so. This precept is all about accountability and responsibility in our representative democracy.

So why is this basic concept being flagrantly flouted by Fullerton’s bureaucrats? Who is in charge here, indeed?


Bruce’s Law

Here is an interesting bit from Assemblyman Chris Norby’s latest newsletter documenting his effort to promote legislation to guarantee elected officials – like Fullerton’s Bruce Whitaker – access to public documents and records.

Well, Lo and Behold: it’s not necessary according to Legislative Counsel who determined that such a right already exists. Looks like somebody forgot to tell our esteemed City Attorney Dick Jones, who has publicly defended denying Whitaker access to city-owned records.

And it looks like we have another Recall issue.

So who the Hell is really in charge in Fullerton? The cops? The bureaucrats? The unelected City Attorney? The Three Triassic Fossils who have no authority to deny a duly elected official access to official records? Who?

In the words of the Bard, Bob Dylan in “Oxford Town”: somebody better investigate soon.

“Bruce’s Law” Restates Obvious

Can elected officials be denied information obtained at public expense on public property? Can unelected attorneys and administrators keep such information hidden from those who appointed them?

That’s what’s happening to Fullerton City Councilman Bruce Whitaker. His request to view the city’s video of the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas has been denied by the City Manager and City Attorney. That video was made by a city-owned camera at the city-owned Fullerton Transportation Center. Three of Bruce’s colleagues have chosen not to watch the tape, but have never voted to deny it to him.

Bruce doesn’t seek to release the tape to the public, or even have his own copy. He just wants to see it, to be in better position to understand what happened on that fateful July night. So I drafted a bill clarifying an elected official’s right to the same information as those they hire. “Bruce’s Law” would assure those we elect have access to information they need.

My bill was rejected by Legislative Counsel, however, as unnecessary.  I was told that elected officials already have this right. I was told that unelected government employees cannot deny public officials information they need to represent their constituents. I was told that video camera footage taken by a public agency can be viewed by an official elected to govern that agency.

A new bill cannot be introduced which simply duplicates existing laws. But Bruce is still being denied the tape.

Don’t Get Your Hopes Up. I’m Not.

Today Fullerton will be favored with the first installment of reports produced by Michael Gennaco. The one tonight is supposed to deal with the FPD PR apparatus and the way it disseminated information in the wake of the Kelly Thomas killing by members of the FPD.  We’ve editorialized plenty on what was said (self-serving claptrap), and not said (the truth) by FPD spokesopening Andrew Goodrich. I do wonder what Gennaco would have to say about the City using a police union boss as its official spokesman – if he addresses it at all, which I think is doubtful.

I have a feeling that the reports issued by Gennaco will be little more than expensive PR for the City.

This might be a good time to remind everybody that the offical sounding “County of Los Angeles Office of Independent Review” is actually a private law firm for hire by anybody with the dough to pay. It’s a small law firm with half a dozen lawyers and a logo that just happens to look like a city seal.

City Seal

Gennaco is really no different than Jones and Mayer or Rutan and Tucker, hired to limit the damage caused by the serial misdeeds of the FPD and limit liability.

Does that sound harsh? Remember, as an attorney, Gennaco’s main concern is to protect his client and gin up more business in the future.  Does that sound like a formula for reform?

Color me skeptical.


The Fullerton Crime Wave

Gummint makes problems; gummint makes problems worse. QED.

Yesterday Grover Cleveland posted on how the Fullerton City Council’s creation of a boozy mess downtown that led to the emergence of an FPD goon squad to quell the crime wave that the council, including Recall targets Jones, Bankhead and McKinley, had created.

The only problem was that the FPD goon squad didn’t solve anything; it actually added to the crime wave!

Here’s a reminder video: a late night confrontation between a thug and some thugs in uniform. An innocent bystander was beat up and arrested. His offense? Capturing the event on video. Later he was put on trial for assaulting a cop, to which Fullerton cops Kenton Hampton and Frank Nguyen swore on oath in a court of law. It never happened, but that didn’t stop the FPD and the DA from trying to put an innocent man in prison. Now we have two more Brady cops, if they weren’t Brady cops already, and a nasty, expensive law suit waiting in the wings

What Does $130,000 A Year Buy You These days?

I am a wordsmith. Shakespeare didn't rewrite Romulet and Julio, did he?

In the case of the FPD public information officer, not much, apparently.

It happens that FPD has some sort of class on how to love your local cops, and below, I share two on-line descriptions of the class. Check out the 2009 version vs. the 2012 version. All of the Pat McKinley quotes were replaced word-for-word with alleged quotations by Dan Hughes!

How’s that for a nice copy and paste job from a $130,000 per year employee, FPD spokesphincter Andrew Goodrich?

I learned from the very best!


Check it out:


The 10-week course “will expose participants to the many faces of police work in their community,” explained Fullerton Police Acting Chief Dan Hughes. “Participants will gain an overall knowledge of the Fullerton Police Department, how it’s organized, how it serves the community, and they will learn about the men and women behind the badge.”  

Hughes emphasized the course is not meant to train people to become police officers; rather, “it is intended to improve communication and understanding between the community and the department.” 

Gee, that sounds like something I might have said...


The 10-week course, which will be held from March 11 through May 13, “exposes participants to the many facets of police work in their community,” explained Fullerton Police Chief Pat McKinley.  “Participants will gain an overall knowledge of the Fullerton Police Department, how it’s organized, and how it serves the community, and they will learn about the men and women behind the badge.”          

McKinley emphasized the course is not meant to train people to become police officers;  rather, “it is intended to open communication between the community and the department.” 

Either Goodrich is the laziest $130,000 man alive, or Danny Hughes is channeling the ghost of Pat McPension!

FPD Bonus Question. “communication and understanding between the community and the department” means:

1. We will not flatulate in your face because we think you are unconscious.

2. We will not break into your house by mistake, hold you at gunpoint and refuse to apologize.

3. We will not beat you up, arrest you and then lie on the witness stand about how we came to find you in our jail the next day.

4. We will not throw you in jail for five months because we are just too damn lazy to catch the right dude.

5. We will not handcuff and sexually assault you in the back of our patrol cars.

6. We will not swipe your wallet after we kick the crap out of you.

7. We will not encourage you to commit suicide in our jail. Nor will we try to destroy the evidence thereof.

8. We will not rip you off by committing credit card fraud.

9. We will not steal your iPad at an airport security checkpoint. Or any place else for that matter.

10. We will not instigate a fake crime report, beat the living shit out of you, electrocute you, drive your facial bones into your brain, sit on your chest as you asphyxiate in your own blood, stand around as you die, and then laugh about it the next day as we go back to work.

11. None of the above.