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Fullerton Attorney and Mediator Judith A. Kaluzny has penned a response to a preemptive letter sent by Police Chief Dan Hughes warning residents that they may hear negative things about their police department during the trial of two former officers charged in the beating death of Kelly Thomas in 2011. See the full letter by Chief Hughes here.

Reply to undated letter from chief of police

December 2, 2013

Daniel E. Hughes, Chief
Fullerton Police Department
237 West Commonwealth Avenue
Fullerton, California 92832

Dear Chief Hughes:

I received and read the letter you sent to us residents on the occasion of a trial of two of your former officers starting December 2, and what we might hear about the Fullerton Police Department in general.  You told us about changes to your department.

I listened to two or three city council sessions when citizens, outraged by the departmental behaviors of July 5, 2011, took their time to tell of their own personal experiences of  mis- and mal-treatment by your men.  I especially remember three incidents that I heard where women had been  verbally abused.  I see no indiction you have addressed the issue of the department’s poor opinions of women.

One, the woman picking up her son at school, new paint on the curb, officer approaches her.  She asks what is the charge, and the officer responds, “you shut up.  I ask the questions here.”

Two, a man told of being a passenger with his wife driving on Dorothy Lane, 10:00 p. m., a police car stopped in the street, so she drove around using the bicycle lane.  The officer stopped her and was verbally abusive, not seeing the husband sitting in the dark.

Another, a woman told of some kind of home invasion by the police and they were very abusive—and had the wrong house, as I recall.

Then there were the sexual harassment cases of Officer Rincon.  A federal judge said, “the City’s failure to investigate or punish sexual harassment allegations suggest tacit authorization.”  Which, Chief Hughes, of your remedies has address this?

The judge also said, ‘Most shocking is the City’s weak “reprimand” of Rincon.  If one woman had brought an allegation…but to dismiss the account of seven women certainly raises questions about the City’s custom and practice around sexual assault.’  Chief Hughes, have you done anything about this custom and practice?

And we can assume there were back-up officers at each of the seven events.  How many?  What did those men do?  Did they lift a finger to halt the abuse?  Just as those attending the Kelly Thomas beating did nothing to stop it.  A police department seems like some kind of cult.

And later ex-Chief McKinley telling the Soroptimists, “They weren’t your kind of women…it was only a little impermissible touching…” which included a woman’s blouse being torn off of her.  Is this the attitude that permeates your department, Chief Hughes?  How do you know if it does or doesn’t?

I had a client who had serious domestic issues involving contact with her children.  In her situation, it seemed clear she should call the police for domestic violence.  Finally she told me that a year before, her husband having become addicted to pain pills over five years of use, at 2:00 a. m. woke up their two girls, ages 12 and 15, told them to take showers, they were leaving, and he proceeded to wreck the house.  This woke her up, of course, she yelled at him to stop, and he called the police.  They arrested her.  She protested about what the husband had been doing.  They shrugged, “He’s the one who called.”

Don’t cite to me the women officers you have.  They have to fit in with the prevailing culture, I am sure.  That’s how it is in the blue cult of hyper-masculinity.  All those cop shows ruined policing in this country.

Add to that the chronic post-traumatic stress I think they all suffer, especially working in downtown Fullerton on weekends.  How to you address that?  What exercises, procedures  to ameliorate the effects of stress on the job?  You have a full gym there at the station, don’t you?  Are the men required to physically work off their aggressions before hitting the streets? After?  Or do you let the aggressions and stress fester and build until it explodes against a citizen?

Ok, there are a few good men there.  You have an outstanding lieutenant who processed a complaint I filed last Saturday, a straight-forward, non-defensive, unpatronizing and unapologetic person.  Apology was not called for, just accountability, which was the issue that we addressed.

But do something, will you, about the negativity toward women and think about stress remedies.

Very truly yours,

 

Judith A. Kaluzny

Mediator and Lawyer
marital solutions or guided divorce
149 West Whiting Avenue
Fullerton, California 92832