In a recently discovered set of claims [Link HERE] it is being alleged amongst other things that the Fullerton Police Department, up to and including Police Chief Dunn, retaliated against a former officer for exposing wrongdoing and corruption.
The Officer is claiming targeted harassment.
Is Fullerton now in the business of retaliating against women to hide corruption? Has our city stooped so low as to attack whistleblowers?
There’s a lot to unpack here but first…
I should probably mention that the officer in question is former Lieutenant Kathryn Hamel and that she’s claiming that Chief Dunn gave us, the Friends for Fullerton’s Future, info about Hamel in violation of several laws.
Let that sink in.
Did Chief Dunn give us the very information that the city is suing us for having posted? Inquiring minds want to know.
If nothing else, seeing Hamel claiming damages for a million+ samoleans does seem to explain why the city is trying to shift the blame onto us for their gross negligence. Not that that plan is even going to work.
Her claim states that even IF Chief Dunn didn’t expressly retaliate against Hamel, the city is still screwed for being negligent (which by their own accounts in their lawsuit against us – they were).
Officer Christopher Wren, the dude who was seemingly banging his subordinate in a PD bathroom, is likewise claiming damages from the City of Fullerton over FFFF reporting because it’s his right to use his department issued phone to send nude photos while on the job without you knowing about it.
These claims for damages, usually the precursor to lawsuits, are just more examples of completely avoidable stupidity chalked up to the incompetency of Jones & Mayer and City Staff. Not to worry though, Jones & Mayer has likely investigated Jones & Mayer and found they did nothing wrong and will rectify these problems by billing the city countless hours (at $200/hr) to cover up for their own ridiculously negligent behavior.
The City recently sent out a file from the City Attorney, via Assistant City Clerk Klein, that lists officers who’s records are disclosable under the Records Law known as SB1421. This was sent to those who had requested these files such as myself, the ACLU, LA Times and others. The following is my response;
Dear SB1421 Requesters and interested parties,
It has come to my attention that the City of Fullerton has broken California’s Public Record’s Law, specifically related to SB1421, by denying you records which are quite clearly publicly disclosable.
In the link sent to you by Mea Klein, Assistant City Clerk, as provided to her by the City Attorney, you were told that there are 27 Officers “REQUESTED BY NAME, BUT NO DISCLOSABLE FILE AVAILABLE (27)”. This is patently false.
The City of Fullerton is currently suing me, my compatriot David and the blog Friends for Fullerton’s Future directly related to the published findings on several of these officers.
In looking at this list I can quite easily name Officers on that list who have disclosable records under SB1421 including but not limited to Kathryn Hamel, Paul Irish, Miguel “Sonny” Siliceo, Christopher Wren & Nathan Roesler.
A sustained finding was found against Hamel and one cannot simply unring that bell as seen in the recent Contra Costa County tentative decision (CASE NAME: RICHMOND POLICE VS. CITY OF RICHMOND).
This FFFF article related to Hamel is specifically mentioned in the lawsuit against myself and FFFF:
Christopher Wren had a sustained finding against for dishonesty related to a workplace affair with a subordinate. In IA Case #17-0038 one of the sustained findings against Officer Wren is as follows:
“6. On December 17, 2017, when Lieutenant Cleggett asked you about your whereabouts, you dishonestly stated to Lieutenant Cleggett that you had been on the phone with your wife the entire time and did not notice Lieutenant Cleggett’s text message.”
This statement of dishonesty was directly related to misconduct as outlined in the timeline of Wren’s activities and being in violation of policy.
Likewise with Christopher Wren, an article is specifically listed in the lawsuit being waged against myself and FFFF:
The idea that the city attorney is unaware of the sustained findings against their officers which are disclosable under SB1421 is laughable when those very stories are being used by the same attorneys as evidence in a lawsuit where the city seeks a prior restraint against myself and FFFF.
The blog has likewise published stories on how Paul Irish was terminated for dishonesty;
Nathan Roesler filed a false report with the City of Placentia which resulted in an innocent man being arrested for a crime that wasn’t committed against Roesler. This was referred to the District Attorney for prosecution.
These are the cases which are readily and easily pointed out which I believe to be disclosable under SB1421 which calls all of the other officers on the list into question. The City is blatantly lying to you, your organizations and agencies as well as the public and concerned entities about disclosable records despite being in a separate lawsuit over these very violations of SB1421.
If you are honestly seeking these records and others from the City of Fullerton you will likely have no recourse but to seek remedies in order to get to the truth. I have already been forced to take this route unfortunately.
They are likewise violating the law in regards to the officer whose records are “PENDING; NOT YET PRODUCED (3)”. The incident in Corbett’s case was from 2016 and Paez’s was in 2017. The timeline has long passed for required production in both of these cases.
Thank you for your time and I wish you all the best in your efforts to get to the truth.
Host, The Hourly Struggle
Writer, Friends for Fullerton’s Future
For the record, City Manager Ken Domer is fine with these lies as he could put an end to them but works with the City Attorneys to keep them going. The same for Police Chief Dunn. He has no desire for you to know which of his officers are corrupt or he’d demand the city follow the law.
The City Council? 4 of the 5 of them have repeatedly voted to sue us without so much as questioning the liability the City Attorney themselves caused. Remember, when the City Council wants YOU to follow the law – they have no problem shielding police from it.
Despite all of their bluster over Black Lives Matter, Jesus Silva & Ahmad Zahra don’t care about police misconduct or oversight. Jan Flory & Jennifer Fitzgerald don’t care about integrity or accountability either. Remember, they all voted to sue US to keep the records of corrupt police from YOU. Hell, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Jesus Silva’s wife, voted AGAINST the very law in question here (SB1421) if you want perspective of how little these people’s rhetoric matters.
In an interesting SB1421 tentative ruling out of Contra Costa County (CASE NAME: RICHMOND POLICE VS. CITY OF RICHMOND), a court in July slapped down the very argument used by the City of Fullerton to try and suppress the findings of dishonesty by former Fullerton Lieutenant Kathryn Hamel.
“If a sustained finding is made, the agency and the officer cannot undo that historical fact by private agreement.”.
It will be fascinating to watch as the city claims that no sustained finding of dishonesty exists, per SB1421, for Kathryn Hamel because they negotiated it away via a separation agreement.
Read the whole thing [HERE], it’s fascinating and VERY relevant to our case and will be interesting to watch upon appeal.
Fullerton, like most departments, has a problem reminiscent of Serpico and this problem is years in the making. This problem is part of the story of the sordid “Culture of Corruption” that was documented after the Kelly Thomas beating. This veritable Serpico problem is a cancer within the system where once in uniform even good people turn a blind eye to corruption and stand idle as their unions and water carriers work to stomp on both people working towards and laws aimed at transparency.
For those unfamiliar with Frank Serpico he was an officer in the NYPD who stood up against widespread corruption and suffered for this crime against the Blue Wall of Silence. When he was shot in the face in the line of duty his fellow officers went so far as refusing to call for help.
This reverse Serpico problem is the common issue of Officers refusing to speak out, refusing to stand up and refusing to be good ethical humans for fear of reprisals from their brothers and sisters in blue.
Today I want to tell a story that should have been told some time ago – the tale of how ethics can get you fired at Fullerton PD.
I’d like to tell you about one Corporal Paul Irish.
You see, Corporal Irish was fired for dishonesty. A year or so ago I spoke to Paul and I was given copies of the files related to his termination. Honestly I didn’t know what to do with what he gave me and I sort of let it sit waiting for the time to really dig into it. Life, kids, you know the drill. That box sat in my garage patiently waiting for me to have time. Skip ahead and, well, the city cost me my job recently and I find myself with more time on my hands. So I got to reading.
To sum up hundreds of pages of paperwork — what Corporal Irish DID was, allegedly, tell his supervisors he was giving a talk on seat belt safety when he actually gave a talk on ethics. When they hammered him for his dishonesty on what his talk was about they ran a full investigation into the issue which ultimately led to his termination for more alleged dishonesty.
The transcript of the talk is [HERE] and the actual audio as recorded by Corporal Irish is here;
According to the information I have seen, these are the charges for which Corporal Irish was fired:
PSB #2014-72IA Investigation
Corporal Paul Irish
Potential Policy Violations:
340.3.5 (g) – within policy
Recommendation to Staff: Not within policy – Termination Approved
That’s a bunch of jargon so I’ll allow the Fullerton Police Department’s Policy Manual chapter on Conduct explain all that legal speak:
(h)Knowingly making false, misleading or malicious statements that are reasonably calculated to harm or destroy the reputation, authority or official standing of the Department or members thereof.
(i)The falsification of any work-related records, the making of misleading entries or statements with the intent to deceive, or the willful and unauthorized destruction and/or mutilation of any department record, book, paper or document.
(l)Any knowing or negligent violation of the provisions of the department manual, operating procedures or other written directive of an authorized supervisor. Employees shall familiarize themselves with and be responsible for compliance with each of the above and the Department shall make each available to the employees.
(n)Criminal, dishonest, infamous or disgraceful conduct adversely affecting the employee/employer relationship, whether on or off duty.
(z)Any other on-duty or off-duty conduct which any employee knows or reasonably should know is unbecoming a member of the Department or which is contrary to good order, efficiency or morale, or which tends to reflect unfavorably upon the Department or its members.
Remember, this all stems from Corporal Irish giving a talk on ethics that his supervisors didn’t approve of him giving and being mad at being “lied to” about said briefing.
This should be put into some context with current events in order to explain the aforementioned Serpico problem. When some cops are fired for seemingly trivial issues while others are given a pass for egregious conduct it sets bad examples. It tells Officers who to follow, which lies are okay and where things stand in regards to the Blue Wall of Silence. This is how a cancer grows in a department. A blind and subservient government is how it remains untreated and metastasizes.
This year, thanks to this blog, we learned that Fullerton PD and Fullerton City Hall worked to enter into an agreement in order to shield Lieutenant Kathryn Hamel from the disclosure of her crimes. The city was willing to stop investigations in order to protect her, the wife of Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel, from any sustained findings of dishonesty which would have made her crimes public records under the CA law known as SB1421.
Currently there is an also an officer, Jeff Corbett, being charged with a felony for falsifying his reports as related to the drinking and driving of former Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz in November 2016. That Sergeant was only terminated after a friend of this blog filed a citizen complaint which triggered an investigation which led to a sustained finding of dishonesty. Only AFTER that investigation was concluded in September of 2017 did FPD open their own investigation and terminate Corbett.
These are current issues at the Fullerton Police Department as ignored by our current City Council, City Hall and police brass.
The hearings over Irish’s termination went through 2016 and well into 2017 while Sergeant Corbett was being given a pass for clearly violating department policy during the Felz incident. This is at best an inconsistent application of policy and a strong indicator of favoritism in the department – ergo, cancer.
If you think I’m being hyperbolic about comparing Paul Irish to Frank Serpico in premise, in the notion that the Department will crush one of their own to cover their corruption or incompetence – remember that I’m being sued, along with David Curlee and this blog, for allegedly clicking links and posting stories that showed police misconduct. Stories that showed the Kathryn Hamel deal. A story about a pervert cop at Fullerton High School that FPD and City Hall wanted kept secret. The city has never disputed those stories, or others – they’ve just demanded we remove the truth from this site while defaming us as thieves and hackers.
Your tax dollars are being used to punish us not because we allegedly clicked links and thus broke a federal law in the process. We’re being sued because we, yet again, embarrassed Fullerton PD by pointing out corruption and malfeasance and my records requests, if fulfilled as required by law, would embarrass them further. They’re using your money and the courts to intimidate and attempt to silence us because we again stepped out of line. We got in the way of the Blue Wall of Silence and both those in uniform and those in charge at City Hall are too self-interested and too cowardly to stand up for what is right. Too worried about their pensions, campaign dollars and cronyism to be ethical. They preach integrity and practice treachery.
Sadly the tale of Paul Irish is just another in a long line of such stories. A story of the government using it’s weight to silence dissent. A story about government arrogance crushing a voice even when it comes in the form of an officer talking about the things the Police Department hypocritically displays on their own walls. Ethics used during times of convenience are no ethics at all.
A lot has happened in Fullerton over the last several years and while my involvement has waned ever since the City threatened me civilly and criminally because I happen to be associated with this blog, and this blog published embarrassing things City Hall would rather hide from the people, I have remained committed to finding the truth and speaking up against the vapid and self-serving corruption of our council majority & the city hall they oversee.
In my capacity as a chronic malcontent these last few years I have made numerous records requests looking for information and many of those requests have been ignored, delayed or denied owing to dubious legal claims or just outright misrepresentations of the law. As such I have opted to sue the city of Fullerton for violations of the California Public Records Act.
The now filed Petition for Writ of Mandate alleges that the City of Fullerton has violated the CPRA in regards to my records requests related to no less than 5 separate issues.
Back when I first started filing requests, specifically for the body worn camera and dash cam videos of the Joe Felz DUI incident, the city was able to hide behind a lack of enforceable disclosure laws as SB1421 was not yet the law of the land. Cities did/do this because they know it takes a lot of time, effort and commitment to make them comply with disclosure laws.
Here in Fullerton the arrogance got so bad that they didn’t even try to hide their disdain for the public and transparency. At one point after claiming the Felz video was exempt from disclosure owing to the non-existent sham investigation, City Attorney Gregory Palmer asserted to me; “If you are dissatisfied with the response you have remedies”.
Skip ahead a few years and it turns out I DO have remedies and I have opted to act upon them. Hence this lawsuit.
For those interested, the lawsuit reads as follows (after the jump, emphasis in original, exhibits in the Writ link above):
Was Kathryn Hamel’s Settlement Agreement, to bypass disclosure laws, the byproduct or possibly even the direct result of inter-departmental nepotism and favoritism?
The following email shows that the Internal Affairs investigation into Lieutenant Katheryn Hamel started on or around August 02, 2018.
This smells of a conflict considering the date of that fateful Lady Antebellum concert (August 24, 2018) in which Chief Hendricks, Hamel’s then-boss, allegedly committed battery against an EMT.
This means that Katheryn Hamel was actively being investigated by Fullerton PD’s Internal Affairs division while her husband, Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel, was overseeing the investigation of Katheryn Hamel’s supervisor Captain Oliveras and boss Chief Hendricks.
This information forces us to at least consider a conflict of interest between departments which was kept from the public both at the time and since. We knew of the Hamel connection between departments but not that Fullerton’s Hamel was under investigation at the direction of then-Chief Hendricks.
Instead of sending the Chief Hendricks battery case immediately to an outside agency, Irvine PD appears to have been allowed to complete their investigation.
Will our own City Council publicly ask the new Chief of Police, Robert Dunn, who was in charge during this fiasco, why this was allowed to play out in such a suspicious way? Don’t count on it. After all, they hired Dunn as permanent Chief last night and tried to do it on the Consent Calendar with zero public input.
“all charges against Hamel, including charges relating to dishonesty, deceit, untruthfulness, false or misleading statements, ethics or maliciousness were never resolved or proven because there was no Skelly hearing or opportunity for appeal and, accordingly, are not sustained.”
If you’re wondering what a “Skelly” hearing is I’ll let the city of Fullerton’s own city attorney Jones & Mayer lay it out:
Due process requires that any deprivation of life, liberty, or property be preceded by notice and opportunity for hearing appropriate to the nature of the case. In California, this is referred to as a Skelly hearing or conference, after the California Supreme Court decision in Skelly v. State Personnel Board, 15 Cal. 3d 194 (1975).
The Ninth Circuit held that, at a minimum, these pre-removal safeguards must include notice of the proposed action, the reasons therefore, a copy of the charges and materials upon which the action is based, and the right to respond, either orally or in writing, to the authority initially imposing discipline.
Basically you don’t schedule a skelly hearing unless you’re going to discipline somebody and take something away from them – usually their job. (more…)
As hinted yesterday, we received an anonymous piece of correspondence with a copy of the separation agreement between “Lieutenant” Kathryn Hamel and the City of Fullerton.
It is quite an interesting read. We aren’t the only outlet to receive this so we’re curious to see what coverage, if any, this receives in the press.
From what we have gathered Officer Hamel had at least two internal affairs investigations into her actions. It is alleged that one of them was for giving false statements.
These internal investigations were dropped as a condition of this settlement specifically to avoid disclosure under the law known as SB1421.
To quote the agreement (bold emphasis added, caps lock in original):
“The City will revise its Notice of Intent to Discipline Hamel to remove allegations relating to dishonesty, deceit, untruthfulness, false or misleading statements, ethics or maliciousness.The Interim Police Chief will place a notice in the file indicating that, pursuant to settlement, all charges against Hamel, including charges relating to dishonesty, deceit, untruthfulness, false or misleading statements, ethics or maliciousness were never resolved or proven because there was no Skelly hearing or opportunity for appeal and, accordingly, are not sustained. The IA investigation, and related materials including the revised Notice of Intent to Discipline,will be sealed and maintained in the Human Resources Department, and only in the Human Resources Department, with a notice reading:“THIS IS A SEALED FILE AND SHOULD NOT BE DISCLOSED OR OTHERWISE PRODUCED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE CITY MANAGER, AND ONLY AFTER RECEIVING A WRITTEN OPINION FROM THE CITY ATTORNEY THAT SAID RELEASE OF INFORMATION IS REQUIRED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW.”
“The City asserts, based on a “not sustained” finding of all charges, that any and all records relating to this investigation are not subject to release under Senate Bill 1421.The City further asserts that any challenge to this legal opinion by any entity will be defended by the City – in court if necessary – to the fullest extent.”
Since Jerry Brown made it possible to find out when police lie, sexually assault people and cause great bodily harm through SB1421 the police and local governments in CA have been scrambling to find ways to block it’s implementation or ways to work around it and here we see one of those ways.
We citizens should fully expect that this is going to be the new normal.
Lacking consequences the police will continue closing cases and ending investigations to protect their own. Watch as the councils and mayors of our city and state do nothing for fear of union funded reprisals at the ballot box.
This is what happens when there is no objective civilian oversight and departments are allowed to handle their own investigations into the wrongdoing of their friends, family and co-workers. (more…)