Friday’s edition of the Orange County Register has a puff piece on how much progress Fullerton’s Police Department made in dealing with the homeless population. I can’t comment on the quality of the article, however, because I was unable to make it past this quote from Bob Dunn in the very first paragraph:
“Eight years have passed since the fatal beating of a homeless, schizophrenic Kelly Thomas by Fullerton police, but the tragedy remains a “deep wound” in the department’s psyche, says the city’s new police chief.”
Since our Police Chief is apparently unfamiliar with the meaning of the word “perspective”, allow me to provide some.
Kelly Thomas was a troubled individual, but he was a human being, and on July 5, 2011 he was essentially tortured to death in full view of hundreds of witnesses, all while apologizing and begging for his father. THAT is tragedy of Kelly Thomas, not the psychic boo boos the Police Department may have suffered.
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.
Friends, an environmental symbiosis exists in nature when two organisms interact in a way that is mutually beneficial. In the course of human organizational activity we see such symbioses frequently. In the nasty intersection of government and politics such relationships are depressingly common. And nowhere can we see this operation in better form than in the way Fullerton’s politics intersect the management of police business, a business that affects everybody.
Let me begin my essay with a recitation of police behavior in our town that ought to give any decent person reason to give a second thought to nonsense pitched by both the government and the media.
In all of his endeavors Hughes was serially assisted by the smarmy and arrogant Andrew Goodrich, former union goon and, not coincidentally, the otiose and corpulent spokeshole for department. Friends will recall that it was Goodrich who immediately promulgated lies about cops getting broken bones in the aftermath of the Thomas bludgeoning by his cohorts. Goodrich was caught by FFFF over the years selling so much garbage that he was actually nominated for a coveted Fringie® in 2011.
Some of FPD’s bad behavior has suggested a sexual pervy streak running through the department, and a predilection for looking the other way about it. Albert “Alby Al” Rincon, instead of being fired and prosecuted by McKinley for sexual battery, continued to roam Fullerton’s streets looking for victims – gals he no doubt figured would keep their mouths shut. They didn’t, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands and the City a reprimand from a federal judge. Naturally no charges were ever filed.
Recently we’ve been favored with the story of tubby ginger boy Jose Paez, whose “crime” according to tough guy DA Todd Spitzer, was the unauthorized photographing of his victims. Unfortunately for the girls and women he associated with as a school officer in the FJUHSD, what he was taking pictures of was their undergarments – while they were being worn.
A few months ago the story leaked out about an enterprising young FPD lad named Christopher Chiu, who seems to have found a persuasive way to talk a young woman out of her clothes on the top of the Lemon/Chapman parking structure so he could examine her breasts and nether parts in search of “evidence.” Before the courtly charm of playing doctor wore off, he suggested his availability for a dinner date. Yikes.
Former Sergeant Jeff Corbettwas actaully rung up for obstructing justice although seamy stories about sexual escapades while on duty have been circulating for a long time. But to be fair to poor Jeff, it was sending Wild Ride Joe Felz home after the hit-and-run of Sappy McTree that got him busted.
Apart from uncontrolled libido, the gallant gents of the FPD have often displayed their ethical sensibility in an orgy of mayhem against people who hadn’t done anything wrong, or by simply revealing how little they care for the basic concepts of justice. Maybe the cultural shift to full-on violence and callousness was the result of Pat McKinley’s well-known militarization of the FPD.
Jay Cicinelli is known across the globe as the goon who smashed in Kelly Thomas’s face with a Taser handle and admitted it on tape. This one-eyed jack was employed by McKinley as a favor to an old LAPD crony. Now this twice disqualified creep actually wants (or wants us to believe he does) his job back!
Our obese old pal Manuel Ramos had a long history of lazy and oafish behavior as an FPD cop, culminating in the actions that instigated Kelly Thomas’s death. Bully? Check. Overweight slob? Check. Natural born prick? Double Check. FPD material all the way.
Over the years FFFF has related stories from the citizenry about abusive and violent behavior of Fullerton’s cops, particularly those patrolling downtown open air booze court. But none of these stories can equal the brutality and the callous treatment of Veth Mam by one Kenton Hampton. See, Hampton’s official version of the story got real fuzzy after it became clear that his recollection of events strained even the credulity of an OC jury past the breaking point, especially when video evidence showed up in court. During a downtown scuffle involving the cops, Hampton arrived by car upon the scene and knocked the phone camera out of the hand of an innocent bystander, Mam, who was giving away about 100 lbs. to Officer Hampton. After throwing the hapless Mam around like a rag doll, Hampton tossed him in the Fullerton clink where he was charged with assaulting a cop, a story Hampton testified to under oath. Was he ever punished? Of course not. Under “Chief Danny” Big Bad Ham seems to have been promoted to a desk job.
And then there is the laundry list of incompetence or indifference. We first met Miguel “Sonny” Siliceo as he tagged one Emanuel Martinez who spent five months at Theo Lacy courtesy of a deliberate misidentification. Spoke-sphincter Andrew Goodrich comforted us with the words “we try to arrest the right guy.” Years later Siliceo, in a different matter, was convicted of filing a false police report, something very, very hard to accomplish.
And to round out our categories of misconduct, we must pause, I suppose, at least for a moment to reflect on a few of the various petty crimes and thievery perpetrated by our boys and girls in blue.Todd Major ripped off Explorer Scouts to feed his pill habit.April Baughman ripped off the property room of $50,000. Kelly Mejia tried to boost an i-Pad right under the watchful security cameras at the Miami airport. Hugo Garcia was apparently told his services were no longer required after being busted for purloining something or other (off duty, of course; on duty the man was a veritable saint). And then there was the tale of Officer Timothy Gibert, another MADD awardee who got popped out in the high desert defrauding home improvement stores. Just how many small-time thieves and pickpockets we have employed over the years will never be known for sure.
So, finally, let’s end this painful revelation with the not-so funny story about Josh Eddleman and Jerrie Harvey two innocent people jailed and prosecuted due to the bungling of newly minted “detective” Barry Coffman, best known for his enthusiastic handing out of tickets for “excessive horning.” Once againSpokesanus Goodrich informed the public that the FPD really, does try to arrest the right people, gosh darn it, a statement so insincere that maybe not even David Whiting would believe it.
Of course this quivering pyramid of gelatin was the President of the Fullerton Peace Officer’s Association for years and years, supporting political candidates who could be counted on to serve and protect his wayward union members while bestowing lavish pay and benefits.
And here is the nexus of casual corruption: without a compliant city council and their hand-picked city manager, this sad litany of crime and no punishment would be an awful lot shorter. The cop union, along with their “firefighter” brethren and sistren diligently help elect reliable stooges to the city council through vast campaign spending via their political action committees. And what a roll call of dunderheads, incompetents, buffoons, seniles, lackeys and assorted political grifters they have greased into office.
Don’t forget the lengthy corn-pone career of possibly third degree syphilitic Doc Hee Haw – Dick Jones – who once blurted to an aggrieved citizen at a council meeting “you won’t get anywhere bad-mouthing the police in this town.”
Sharon Quirk-Silva was marginally smart enough to dodge the Kelly Thomas fallout and the subsequent recall. But like almost all of Fullerton’s liberal establishment crowd, she blamed the murder on homelessness, not on bad cops. She ignored the cover-up, and did nothing about the Albert Rincon matter, despite proclaiming her outrage on the nightly news wherein we learned she has daughters.
Of course Doug was in need of assistance himself when his carpetbaggin’ wife, Paulette was busted on video stealing campaign signs on private property.
The cop union knows when it has a live one on the line, and never has that bee more true of Jan Flory, who not only trotted around the city council track in the 1990s, she did so again in 2012 with the help of a hundred thou’ of union scrilla. Maybe her vote on the [email protected] was fondly remembered, but more likely the support was for favors to come. Of course she delivered by approving pay raises and by paying out vast legal settlements against Fullerton police that avoided the embarrassment of ugly stuff getting out at trial. Everything gets hushed up and we pay for the silence. And of course, no, reform was not on the table.
No story of the symbiosis between cops and politicians in Fullerton is complete without mention of our lobbyist councilcreature Jennifer Fitzgerald, who has a career monetizing her job “representing” you and me. Jen’ has made it her specialty to cozy up to the cops, including pay raises, quiet settlements costing us millions, and even wasting $50K a year on the utterly moronic “Behind the Badge” propaganda embarrassment. Holier than holy, her best pal was “Chief Danny” with whom she may have conspired, in the early morning of November 9, 2016, to have the cops drive drunken, hit-and-run Joe Burt Felz home and then tuck him in with a warm glass of milk.
And most recently we see the completely dim and inarticulate Jesus Silva, installed in office courtesy of the police union. One wonders how this nincompoop manages to get his shoelaces tied without help, and yet we can be sure of one thing – he will slavishly follow the example of his better half, Sharon Quirk in support of the people who put him in office.
Two years ago, I wrote a post for this blog entitled, Woe to the Charitable Donor where I pointed out the embarrassingly poor oversight when it comes to receiving and spending donated money. Literally nothing has changed in the time since then.
Last year, the City purchased 75 K9 Hero stuffed animals — like the one pictured above — for the tidy sum of $618.75.
Follow along below. On the reconciliation report, that purchase is charged to the 95-2501 account. 95 is a Trust Fund, and 2501 is where K-9 donations from the community are deposited.
Again, we have an instance where well-meaning Fullerton non-profits think they’re helping to fund actual police work, actual K-9 food and equipment, actual K-9 veterinary care — when that isn’t the case at all.
A mere four days before those stuffed animals were ordered, actual K-9 veterinary expenses at Yorba Regional Animal Hospital were charged to the General Fund, account 10277-6319. (Note: anything 10xxx is the General Fund)
Without missing a beat, two days later, they spent $700 at Work Dogs International, again using General Fund account 10277-6319.
Why did they charge the General Fund when just days before/after, they had donated K-9 money to burn on stupid stuffed animals?
My detractors will say, so what, it’s a small sum of money, who cares? Tell that to the City employees whose jobs in the Public Works / Landscape Division are about to be eliminated. The City just issued an RFP for Park Maintenance because the City can no longer afford their wages and pensions. Maybe if the incompetence and sense of entitlement at the police department weren’t so bad, we would have cash to spend elsewhere.
Does the City have any policy whatsoever for proper handling of donations? Why is this tolerated?
Last year, the City of Fullerton received a toll road violation for a police cruiser driving on the I-10 toll lane in East Los Angeles. They have no idea who was driving it, or why it was in Los Angeles that day.
I wonder what else is poorly accounted for at the Fullerton Police Department?
Today the City of Fullerton put out a Press Release stating that Fullerton Police Chief David Hendricks was resigning. They extolled the virtues of his employment and when I called to ask about the resignation I was told that I was making an assumption that the Chief was resigning owing to his current leave of absence and possible criminal prosecution.
Let us clear a few things up here for the record.
First and foremost the City, per their Public Information Officer, agreed to waive the contractual requirement that Hendricks give 45 days notice upon his written resignation. It allowed them to appoint Acting Chief Dunn as…. Interim Chief Dunn, a distinction without a difference, unless you happen to have a pension stored at CalPERS.
Second, despite the Chief being on leave for over 2 months, this was announced on a Friday when City Hall is closed. Want further details? Too bad, you’re gonna have to wait until Monday when everybody is focused on Tuesday’s Mid-Term Election. This is government document-dump obfuscation 101. You don’t release information in this fashion unless you’re trying to bury the news and avoid answering questions.
Why did the City agree to waive the 45 day requirement? Why was this done now being that we already have an acting chief? Why didn’t the city work to fire Hendricks for contract violation owing to the ongoing investigation? What is the status of that investigation?
No clue. No responses. No answers. Gonna have to wait until Monday folks, sorry.
Let this be an abject lesson that City Manager Ken Domer does not believe in transparency contrary to his public and private statements. I had high hopes for Domer, but alas he is proving himself to be just another bureaucrat working to keep the bureaucracy funneling money into his and his cohort’s retirements. Don’t expect our tired and constantly campaigning City Council members to ask any of these questions or work to make things more transparent.
Fret Not Friends!
We want answers and I’m sure you want answers as well and thanks to an anonymous source from the great beyond we have some details that the city will never tell us because reasons.
Here is the redacted (for privacy) and highlighted (by me) highlights of what really happened at that Lady Antebellum concert back in August and why our Chief decided to resign with no notice.
Some of you might remember Fullerton’s previous attempt to deal with homeless persons at the train station. Those signs were removed not long after my blog post went live. Fast forward to this week, the City has tried once again with a different strategy — declare the train station a “Paid Fare Zone” with threats of citation and arrest.
This attempt isn’t any better, taking the form of a metal scarecrow decorated with words.
Neither Penal Code 602.1(a) or Fullerton Municipal Code 7.105.010 require a fare to be paid. The Penal Code section has to do with obstructing or intimidating a business and then refusing to leave when asked. The Fullerton Municipal Code wording is clumsy and ambiguous in its own way:
7.105.010 Trespassing unlawful.
It is unlawful for any person to be upon any publicly or privately owned property at any time, except upon lawful business, or with permission of the owner or person entitled to the possession of such property. (Ord. 2799, 1992).
I doubt that ordinance was intended to declare public property off limits merely on the basis of convenience, as they seem to be doing here. So it’s more than likely any attempt to enforce a “paid fare zone” under the guise of Trespassing would be decimated by a good, and maybe even a bad(!) attorney in court.
Nevertheless, this whole thing demonstrates an embarrassing amount of ignorance on the part of City Hall and the Police Department.
1. The “Paid Fare Zone” Must be Violated to Buy a Ticket.
A person wishing to buy an Amtrak or Metrolink ticket must access the platform — and violate the “paid fare zone” — before they’ve had an opportunity to look at the schedule board or buy a ticket.
Same story on the south platform, take five steps off this OCTA bus, and you’re immediately in violation.
2. Good Reasons Not to Have a Ticket.
Metrolink tickets have a 3-hour time limit on One Way, and the first segment of a Round Trip ticket. Say you’re traveling somewhere like Ventura or Palmdale with a necessary layover in Los Angeles. A ticket purchased too early will expire before reaching your destination, and subject you to a possible citation. People in this situation often wait until the very last minute to buy a ticket.
Amtrak tickets can be purchased on-board the train, meaning you won’t have evidence of a paid fare while on the platform. This is not the usual way of doing things as you would normally visit the ticket office. Nevertheless, they allow it.
Both Amtrak and Metrolink have e-ticketing options that allow purchase up to the last minute using a smart phone.
Any strategy that bullies passengers into buying tickets a certain way to comply with a “paid fare zone” is no good.
3. Passenger Safety.
Amtrak has two or three employees who remain indoors most of the time, and Metrolink has zero employees on site. There is no dedicated security or police force.
Until this week, a person traveling alone could be accompanied by a friend or family member dropping them off until their train departs. But now, fewer people allowed on the platform makes everybody less safe. Who’s going to call the police, or intervene in a bad situation, if a lone passenger is being attacked and nobody else is around?
Elderly or disabled passengers will have added difficulty getting around and hauling their luggage to the train. That’s because nobody is available to help. There are no luggage carts like at an airport, and no employees on an electric cart to assist. This is just another reason why a “paid fare zone” is a terrible idea. Instead of allowing a passenger’s loved ones on the platform to assist them on/off train and help carry their belongings, it’s just a matter of time before somebody falls and suffers a traumatic injury.
My friend took the photo shown above. The man in the wheelchair cannot wheel himself around and is dependent on others to help him.
How does the City expect people like him to get to/from the train when his caregiver must buy a ticket to legally be within the “Paid Fare Zone”? That’s not only ridiculous, but probably illegal under ADA laws that protect caregivers.
4. The Pedestrian Bridge is a Public Thoroughfare.
One of the justifications for building the pedestrian bridge in the early-1990’s was to connect the neighborhood south of the tracks with Downtown Fullerton so people didn’t have to cross the train tracks at ground level and risk getting hit by a train.
There’s literally hundreds of people who use the pedestrian bridge daily, many of them kids walking to/from Fullerton High School. But under the “paid fare zone” they too must enter the zone without a ticket and risk citation or arrest.
People have visited the train station to watch trains and socialize with others for over a hundred years. There’s nothing inherently strange about it. Anybody raised in Fullerton was probably brought here by their parents at a young age to do the same.
There are small, informal groups of railfans who do this on a more frequent basis and congregate on the platforms various days of the week. Some of these groups include current/former/retired City employees. We also have railfans from other parts of the United States, Canada, Europe, and sometimes Asia who visit Fullerton just for this reason, and they frequent many of the downtown restaurants.
The regular Fullerton railfans are an extra set of eyes and ears for any sort of bad situation or suspicious activity. Railfans have pulled suicidal people off the railroad tracks, and have come to the aid of injured railroad employees or passengers before. They’ve also prevented high speed derailments at the train station by noticing track or equipment defects gone undetected. Many of the police calls for service originate with one of the railfans noticing something not right.
All of these things make Fullerton a better place, all at no cost. To expel them from the platform because they don’t have a ticket is foolish.
The fact these signs are intended to drive the homeless away should be painfully obvious. There’s no other justification to put them up. My sources at City Hall are saying FPD Cpl. Dan Heying in his role as Homeless Liaison Officer, Dave Langstaff and Ty Richter in Public Works, the City Manager’s office, and Deputy City Attorney Ivy Tsai are all involved.
I’d like to believe this is an innocent mistake on the part of the City. But the speed at which the signs are removed (again) will be the real test.