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.
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 3@50 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.
In the early morning hours of the very same day that six FPD cops harassed, attacked and left Kelly Thomas to die in the gutter, four of their bad apple brethren had a run-in only a few yards away with the Ortiz brothers – Luiz and Antonio – a couple of downtown Fullerton bar patrons.
Here are the names of the four cops: Bryan Bybee, Billy Phu, Emanuel Pulido and Matthew Martinez. Remember the names. According to the complaint Bybee began the July 5, 2011 altercation by attacking Antonio with a baton while his colleagues joined in the fun and also went to work on Luiz. The beat down ended with the usual ride to the Fullerton Jail, lack of medical attention to the beaten Antonio, refusal to pursue an internal investigation following Antonio’s formal complaint, and the eventual filing of criminal charges by our illustrious DA – who never seems to tire of prosecuting citizens based on fraudulent FPD reports.
Miraculously, Luiz was acquitted 11-1 by an OC jury in 2016, and the DA dropped the charges against Antonio – giving plenty of credence to the allegations made by the brothers in a civil suit against the taxpayers of Fullerton, a suit that was recently settled for the tidy sum of $280,000, only about $1.90 of which will come out of the pocket of Jan Flory, or Jennifer Fitzgerald or Pat “I Hired Them All” McKinley, or any of the other vocal cop apologists who bask in the warmth of Fullerton First membership.
Four more demerit badges for former Chief Danny “Galahad” Hughes’ boy scout sash, even as he rakes in a $20K per month pension.
Here are the relevant documents. Read ’em and weep.
One of the most shocking things to emerge from the Preliminary Trial of Manny Ramos and Jay Cicinelli for the killing of Kelly Thomas are the statements made by Fullerton Fire Department personnel that the cops received attention to their miscellaneous scrapes as Thomas, whose face had just been bashed in, and who was suffocating in his own blood, lay ignored nearby.
For pure callousness, incomprehensible inhumanity, and well, evil, it’s pretty hard to beat this story. The images of minor scratches sustained by the Fullerton cops is comical, especially given the fact that were sustained committing a crime; juxtaposed to the image of Kelly Thomas’s shattered face they present ample evidence about the nature of the beat down delivered to the homeless man.
Hilariously, Manny Ramos was quoted as saying he’d been in “the fight of my life.” Given that he was seventy pounds overweight, notoriously lazy and obviously a coward, this may actually be a true statement. Certainly it will provide a good headline for Lou Ponsi. But Ramos’ injury received a bandaid and off he went. Kelly Thomas is dead. He was dying on the pavement, alone and unattended, as the cops that killed him got first aid.
Nearly a year ago FFFF started what would turn into a long string of investigations into the FPD Culture of Corruption by telling the tale of a young man who claimed that he was beaten and abused by Fullerton cops during a downtown arrest.
There were plenty of skeptics here, and there was a barrage of personal abuse leveled against the man by anonymous FPD goons. At least there was until we published the results of an internal investigation, here, in which at least part of the victim’s assertions were confirmed.
Well last week another of Pat McKinley’s chickens emerged on the horizon, coming home to roost. Andrew Trevor Clarke filed a federal civil suit against Fullerton PD employees Tong, Contino, Hampton, Bolden, Salazar and Sellers.
Update: When you’re trying to pierce the veil of secrecy in a police department bent on concealing its officers’ misdeeds, some of the details come through a little fuzzy. I recently received some corrected information on officer Mater’s role in the arrest, highlighted in red below. Note that Mater is still the officer who (allegedly) destroyed his audio recording and was later fired.
I’ve also noticed that almost an entire year has gone by, but Officer Mater has not been charged with destruction of evidence. The DA is reportedly still “working on the case.”
A Brady Officer is a cop with a sustained record for knowingly lying in an official capacity. A Brady cop’s testimony in court is almost worthless, which makes you wonder why a police department such as Fullerton would bother to employ one.
The word was that the jailarresting officer by the name of Vince Mater had broken apart his audio recorder and smashed the chip containing a recording in the immediate aftermath of the suicide. Whatever was captured on that recording before and during the arrestee’s suicide, we’ll never know.
A few months later, Officer Mater was quietly fired.
Well, now we’ve found new state court docs revealing that the DA had also declared Mater to be a “Brady officer.”
We don’t know how Officer Mater earned his status as certified liar, but if it was so bad that even the FPD couldn’t look the other way, well…it must have been pretty bad.
Mater’s name did appear in an OC Register story in November 2010 about the wrongful incarceration of Emanuel Martinez at the hands of the FPD, in which Mater was johnny-on-the-spot with a gang tag that helped send the wrong guy to jail.
Fast forward to 2011, when the FPD ends up with a dead guy in jail, a smashed recorder, another cop on paid leave and presumably another set of lawsuits.
Oh, and one more thing: for all the City’s talk of transparency and its employment of several highly-compensated Public Information Officers, all of this information was kept from the public until…well, today.
We have already documented dime store psychologist Pat McKinley’s pompous blather about how it was necessary to use nunchucks on pro-life protesters because of their super-human resistance to pain.
And for McKinley, pain is the name of the game. When you want to try out a new toy from your chamber of horrors, well, hell, you’re going to need justification. So why not cook up some psychological mumbo-jumbo?
Someone with a little bit of real psychological training might suspect that Pat McKinley has an unhealthy obsession with the application of pain. Judging by the actions of cops he hand-picked to patrol the streets of downtown Fullerton, I think it’s fair to say that sometime between 1993 and 2009 the problem spread like contagion in McKinley’s police department. Was it his game plan, or was he just not paying attention. The signals he was sending his boys was clear enough.
We have seen the videos and read the accounts. Then there’s this:
The systemic pattern of abuse that defines the Fullerton Police Department is well-established. But the allegations detailed in this newly emerging case might give even hardened FFFF readers pause. There seems to be no end to accounts of thuggish, sadistic Fullerton cops getting their sick jollies by brutalizing innocent citizens.
Fullerton College student and Fullerton resident Christopher Spicer Janku, 23 at the time, was with 4 friends around 1:30 AM on the night of August 17, 2008 when the car one of them was driving was pulled over for purportedly running a stop sign on Wilshire Avenue, in Downtown Fullerton. Chris tells his story:
All rookie looking officers who were looking for fun, I’ve never heard so much rude language from any cop. They arrested me on false charges of being drunk in public, (even though they wouldn’t give me a sobriety test even after I asked them to give me one because they knew I wasn’t intoxicated). I was sitting on the curb with my hands behind my back, a cop came over to put hand cuffs on me, he told me to put my hands behind my back, but they already were. Before I could even say “officer my hands are already crossed behind my back” the officer grabbed my neck and slammed my face into the curb while yelling out “stop resisting!” Another officer grabbed me by the legs and dragged me by the knees, shredding my knee caps.
There were five officers at the scene. The gangleader and arresting office was one Officer Perry Thayer. Janku goes on to describe his torture at the hands of this dedicated public servant:
Another officer then TOOK HIS BOOT and slammed it on my head, pinning it between the curb and used it as leverage to squeeze pressure on my head. I HONESTLY THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE, I WAS SCREAMING PLEASE STOP I’M NOT RESISTING, I THOUGHT MY HEAD WAS GOING TO CAVE IN. I still have migraines to this day. another cop came over and dropped kneed me in the back. Everybody watching was in awe, THEY KEPT YELLING OUT “PLEASE STOP, HE’S NOT RESISTING!”
He (Thayer) was the one who slammed me face first into a curb and then put my head in the gutter face first with his boot on my head. He purposely put my face into a gutter full of disgusting dirty gutter water to the point where I was almost choking on it, and pushed down on my head to the point where my head almost caved it and I was screaming for my life. If you look at my mug shot, there is nothing but dirty, muddy gutter water and blood all over my face.
Next, our helpful Bobbies – Officer Thayer and his partner Officer Anthony Diaz – took Janku on a joyride from hell. Chris explains:
They put me in the squad car without seatbelting me in and went on a joy ride while blaring satanic heavy metal music in my ear until my eardrums almost exploded. Around 6-7 times they would hit the gas and then slam on the brakes, so that I was forced to keep cracking my face on the cage.
FFFF readers will recall that although clearly unconstitutional, this is a common FPD procedure, informally known as a “screen test.” Spicer remembers seeing the car pass the Police station, and asked the cops where they were taking him. Their response: “Shut the F up.” After the brake-checks:
I came to the department and automatically filed a complaint about the brutality. They put me in a jail cell bleeding from my head down to my feet and bruised and battered WITHOUT EVEN GIVING ME MEDICAL AID.
Janku was unable to figure out what exactly had set Thayer off. Maybe when he asked Thayer to not thumb through the photos on his cell phone? Or perhaps this cretinous goon needs no excuse to assault, batter, and violate the civil rights of the taxpayers who pay his ample salary? Janku’s friend was arrested as well, for simply asking for his ID back from the cops who had taken and failed to return it.
As for the police brutality complaint? A complete and total stonewall. The detective in charge deliberately misinterpreted the clear audio recording of Janku’s friends yelling “he’s not resisting!” and asked him “why were you resisting?” He also had the temerity to ask Janku why he had blood and mud all over his face.
After checking regularly for months and getting no response, Janku was told recently that he had better contact an attorney. Of course, this is after the statute of limitations had run out and a lawsuit is impossible. What is Janku left with, besides the bruises and migraines? Just the awful memories:
I’ve been afraid to go outside my house ever since, I have nightmares and panic attacks from the injustice.
Janku adds that he is unwilling to go to downtown Fullerton since the incident, and one of his friends there that evening is so terrified he refuses to set foot in Fullerton, period. Way to help out our local economy, coppers!
Unlike the marginally more fortunate Veth Mam and Edward Quinonez, Janku is unable to sue the City and make them pay for their abuses. And Officer Thayer? Why, he went on to win the coveted Turkey Bowl police football championship along with his buds – the noted false arrest/perjury specialists Kenton Hampton and Frank Nguyen, of Veth Mam lawsuit fame.
Just another night of death-metal mayhem, beating, torture, false arrest, and random abuse of the public by Fullerton’s Finest. No pattern to see here, folks. Move along, now. No need for that department-wide Department of Justice investigation of police brutality and misconduct. Keep moving.