Following comments by several speakers at the May 20 meeting of the Fullerton City Council (as well as two stories on the Rag), Council member Bruce Whitaker requested a report about the May 7 arrest of activist and “citizen journalist” A.J. Redkey by six officers of the Fullerton Police Department. Readers will recall that half a dozen of Fullerton’s finest were dispatched over thirty miles away to Pasadena to apprehend Mr. Redkey, who had been belatedly charged with the non-violent misdemeanor of failing to disperse from the scene of an unpermitted protest on January 18 following the announcement of “not guilty” verdicts in the trial of two Fullerton police officers charged in the beating death of Kelly Thomas in 2011.
The introductory text of the item on the agenda for the June 3 meeting is short and to the point:
“Council Member Whitaker has requested an agenda item to review a recent arrest stemming from an outstanding warrant.
Recommendation by the City Manager: None”
During the last meeting Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes had ample opportunity to explain why such a large contingent of officers was sent so far away to arrest a single individual for what amounted to a minor infraction while other more serious law enforcement priorities might have been considered. Instead, it was left to Mr. Whitaker to request that the item be placed on the agenda of the next meeting to hear what the Chief had to say about FPD policies governing such arrests. Much time might have been saved by simply asking the Chief two weeks ago whether or not his department was deliberately targeting people engaged in video recording his officers’ actions with arrest and detention, but perhaps it was understood that the Chief was not expected to be so forthcoming about the question without more advanced notice.
And so we eagerly await the Chief’s report, and thank Mr. Whitaker for being concerned enough to ask for it while others on the council are too busy currying favor with the powerful police officers union to ask any questions on behalf of the populace they are pledged to serve.