Kelly Thomas Beating on CNN; Goodrich Flakes, Schroeder Struggles

This was broadcast on CNN about an hour ago. Goodrich backed out of an interview with CNN at the last minute. Susan Kang Schroeder nearly broke out into tears as she was describing the contents of the video that our city council refuses to release.
Watch the video on

Update: Here is an extended interview with DA spokesperson Susan Kang Schroeder.

A Case of Mistaken Identity? Yeah, Right.

This image was included in a story at Fullerton Stories here and purports to be a 2009 police booking photo of recent Fullerton homicide victim Kelly Thomas that was, presumably, provided by the ever helpful FPD spokehole Andrew Goodrich. Well, this is certainly a scary looking dude: pretty buff and mangy, and sufficiently angry-looking to scare the good folks of Fullerton right back into complacency about the homicide of a mentally-ill homeless man.

The only trouble is that it isn’t Kelly Thomas at all. His parents say this isn’t their son. But we don’t need their expert opinion. Apart from a large nose that is completely different from every other picture of Thomas, Kelly’s hair was flaming red, a simple fact illustrated in every other picture of him in the Fullerton Stories piece.

My powers of observation are really stunning. And if you don't agree I'll have you stunned.

So what gives? Is this just a cheapjack trick by Goodrich & Co. to degrade the victim by presenting Kelly Thomas as a surly, muscular threat to Fullerton’s delicate residents? If so, the Fullerton Police Department has actually hit a new low, and given recent events that’s pretty goddam hard for them to do. But it’s just when you think you’ve hit the FPD basement you find out there are even lower levels.

I will await a comical explanation from the Good Sergeant Goodrich, but of course I won’t be holding my breath.

The FPD Lie: Broken Bones. Nope.

The Fullertonian is reporting that the officers who got into a “scuffle” with Kelly Thomas did NOT suffer from broken bones, as erroneously reported in news broadcasts.

So where did this lie come from? Well, we know that FPD spokesman Andrew Goodrich fed that line to Matt Coker of the OCWeekly, as indicated in his July 7th article on the incident. So it’s safe to assume that Goodrich squeaked that one to the rest of the media outlets as well.

Of course Goodrich let the lie float around for two weeks while he ran damage control for the invisible chief.

More Grim FPD News; Homeless Man Beaten Senseless

Armed and dangerous.

And by senseless I mean near-death coma and artificial life-support.

Reader DollarBill shares this link to ABC Eyewitness News detailing the story of a homeless man with a history of mental illness, who, when confronted by “probably” six FPD officers at the Fullerton Transportation Center the other day is alleged to have resisted arrest. 37 year-old Kelly Thomas never made it to jail. After being subdued into a state of unrecognizable unconsciousness he was transported to the hospital where he is on life support.

Witnesses refused to appear on camera but claim to shouted to the cops to stop.

Our old friend police spokesman Andrew Goodrich says there will be an investigation (internal, of course) and that any inappropriate behavior will come out. Uh, yeah sure, Andy, whatever you say.

In the meantime you can bet on two things: the DA will do nothing, and the man’s family, including his dad, an ex-Sheriff Deputy will bring suit against us Fullerton taxpayers.

What A Haul!

Milligrams, pounds, what's the difference?

Far be it from me to doubt the efficacy of an FPD program, and so the “GOT DRUGS?” turn-in-your-pills-program we reported about as a helpful PSA must have been a winner.

Here’s the success story as reported, presumably, by FPD spokes-sergeant Andrew Goodrich:

The Department collected approximately 150 pounds of prescription drugs from more than 50 persons.

Gee Willikers! Let’s hope it was a whole lot more than 50 persons. Because that figure would mean an average of three freaking pounds of prescription drugs per person.

Now it could be that the humans of Fullerton are a lot more doped up on Vike and ‘ludes than I might have imagined. Or it could be that the Good Sarge just made up some numbers without even thinking anyone would do the math.

Or maybe nobody bothers to proofread the blurbs on the department’s web page.



The Cop Death Threat: Agent Provocateur or Just Some Nutjob?

The other day some sick individual left this hideous comment attached to a blog post regarding Fullerton police officers:


That’s messed up! Our initial analysis led us to the almost certain conclusion that this rather obvious death threat against Fullerton’s Finest was actually left by a member of Fullerton’s own police union, the FPOA, in an effort to stir up trouble for us bloggers and draw much needed sympathy for their own members. Agent provocateurs is what I believe they call police officers who pretend to join in an otherwise peaceful rally and then incite violence, usually in order to facilitate a brutal police beatdown against pesky protestors.

But, in this post 9-11 world, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Which is why we decided to notify the Fullerton Police Chief and the FBI about this potential threat to officer safety.

Thanks. You never can be too sure.

Is it illegal to call for the death of police officers? I have no idea. But it really is a horrible thing to say, and none of us bloggers here would condone any such sentiment. We should leave it up to our law enforcement specialists to look into it and decide for themselves.

We’ll let you know if we hear of an investigation.

The Professionals

Yesterday I put up a post on a recent Register article about…well, I still don’t know what it was really about, but it had to do with graffiti in Fullerton. I noted somewhat acerbically that the authors, Townsend & Terrell, cited some cop from LA who worried about Fullerton’s “Art Scene” as somehow being a catalyst for graffiti!

Now let’s consider the rest of the piece. The title asks a question that is meant to be provocative, and it succeeds; but the article only dances around the topic from there on out. Hmm. Asking provocative questions then letting them dangle. Almost sounds like irresponsible bloggery to me.

First we note that only some buildings in the 600 block of Williamson are cited as typical of the sort of graffiti train riders see all the way to LA. And Deputy Thibodeaux is only concerned that Fullerton could become a “mecca” for taggery, thus echoing the tentative nature of the headline.

A city employee is invited to comment on the situation:

Fullerton Maintenance Services Manager Bob Savage said he’s seen the square footage of graffiti the city paints over increase sevenfold in the last 15 years. (A link. To a 2006 article that includes a very interesting Anaheim quotation: Community Preservation Manager Bill Sell said there’s no indication that graffiti is increasing, but the city is tracking it more closely.)

“When I first started 15 or 16 years ago, I was doing about 100,000 square feet (per year),” Savage said. “Now, I’m up to about 700,000.”

That sure sounds impressive. But could it be that Mr. Savage’s four man crew has grown and is now just doing a more thorough job, or is responding to faster response times? It’s possible.  Hard to tell.

As to the actual statistics we still don’t really know much since the article only cites County-wide convictions for vandalism, not just graffiti: 85 in 2000, 321, in 2009. In 2010 the numbers seem to be going down. No data for Fullerton, no useful statistics at all to support some existing or impending apocalyptic wave; just a story from a property manager along the train tracks where tagging is likely always high.

Back to Mr. Thibodeaux, who starts talking tough about resolving a problem that has still not been established. Mr. T. breaks out this scary screamer:

“Technically, these crews fall under the Street Terrorism Protection Act,” Thibodeaux said.

Oh boy! Now we have another “War” on our hands!

Of course this is an age-old ploy as the authors try to fool us into thinking some sort of case has been made and now opinions for a solution must be solicited. But then they foul up their own strategy by inviting comment from an old pal of ours, as the story takes an abrupt turn:

Fullerton Police Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said that Fullerton isn’t known to have a big problem with graffiti, and most of the tags that maintenance services covers up are black scrawls, often connected with street gangs. The vandal’s purpose is the message, not any artistry in the tag itself, he said.

Now we have one cop talking about tagging crews and another who says the real problem is gang markings and suggests that maybe Fullerton isn’t in any way unique. What a cluster. And Mr. Savage, it turns out, agrees that most of the graffiti is “nuisance stuff,” not “art” although the distinction is probably lost on the property owner who has to pay to get it removed. Parenthetically we note that Savage actually admires “street art”:

“Some of it is just beautiful artistry, that’s all there is to it,” he said.

The article stumbles toward a blurry finish line by stubbornly clinging to the still unsubstantiated fact that graffiti is on the rise in Fullerton. Evidence that it is seemingly on the decline in Placentia, as well as in cash laid out for graffiti removal by the OCTA is posited as if to somehow indirectly support the thesis that there is a peculiar graffiti problem in Fullerton:

Although graffiti is still a significant problem in nearby Placentia, incidents have dropped over the last five years, with graffiti reports in the city shrinking by more than 40 percent between 2006 and 2010, according to police department records.

Most Orange County cities have started using the Orange County Sheriff Department’s online tracking system to share and track graffiti incidents, helping law enforcement officials in OC and neighboring counties identify and prosecute tagging crews. The collaboration, which includes Fullerton, is helping to reduce graffiti in the county, said Ramin Aminloo, senior developer for the sheriff’s department.

Since the Tracking Automated and Graffiti Reporting System’s implementation three years ago, the amount of cash shelled out by the Orange County Transportation Authority to clean up graffiti has dropped from $283,000 in 2007 to less than $170,000 in 2009, according to the sheriff’s department.

Hmm.  If we accept the premise of our authors, we are now inevitably forced to ask: is the anti-graffiti collaboration really failing in Fullerton? But of course local reporters are not taught to mention embarrassing things like failure, and so the possibility is not even addressed in the article – which should really be the most significant part of the story if graffiti actually is on a precipitous rise here.

The piece mercifully ends with the obligatory interview with a vandal and a former vandal to get their perspective, and a posting of the city’s hotline.

At least by the end of this hodge-podge of logic and confusion nobody is blaming Fullerton students and artists for urban social pathology.

Mistakes Were Made: FPD Locks Up the Wrong Kid for 5 Months

Justice requires both integrity and diligence, but sometimes that’s just too much to expect. And it goes without saying that nobody deserves to be thrown in jail for a crime they did not commit.

It doesn’t always work out that way. According to a Register story pointed out by some of our favorite commenters, this kid just spent five months in jail awaiting trial after the Fullerton police set him up on charges of armed robbery, even though the victim clearly identified someone else!

Luckily for him, the botched line-up was captured on an audio recording which his attorney later reviewed, causing the DA to drop the charges.

So critical evidence, namely the victim’s actual testimony, was completely ignored by Fullerton’s finest. Laziness? Incompetence? Malice? We’ll never know. But when the justice system is subverted, everybody loses.

The sad narrative includes a priceless comment from FPD/FPOA spokesman Andrew Goodrich: “Mistakes are made sometimes.”

No need to apologize.

Whew! Responsibility averted. All in a day’s work.

It’s a good thing we don’t give criminals that kind of leeway.