Archives for posts with tag: Fullerton Police Department
The car driven by Miss Williams. From the OC Register.

Matthew Leslie

On July 5, the eighth anniversary of Kelly Thomas being beaten braindead by officers of the Fullerton Police Department, another of the department’s officers shot a seventeen year old teenager to death on the 91 freeway in neighboring Anaheim. There are terrible similarities between the aftermaths of each killing, including frustration on the part of the deceased’s family and the public over a lack of basic information being released by law enforcement agencies involved.

The Anaheim Police Department, who is investigating the shooting, declined to identify the dead teen, citing her age, but the initial press release from APD referred to her as a “suspect,” despite not specifying anywhere what crime she was suspected of committing. (Fullerton Police are conducting an internal investigation. Bob Dunn, recently appointed Chief of the FPD, spent seventeen years with the Anaheim Police Department).

The teen has since been identified by her family as Hannah Williams. According to news accounts, her baffled family are demanding answers about her death, describing her as a happy young person who enrolled in online college classes and worked as a lifeguard at Knott’s Berry Farm.

Media reports from the OC Register and LA Times referred to eyewitnesses who gave conflicting accounts of the teenager either raising what appeared to be a gun while exiting her vehicle or holding a cell phone.  Four days after the shooting the OC District Attorney’s office released a statement focusing primarily on a replica gun reportedly found at the scene. The press release went so far as to show side by side an image of the realistic looking gun next to an image of a Baretta handgun to emphasize the similarity between the two, but declined to specify where exactly the replica gun was found.

CBS news reported that the “The gun was found in the vehicle next to Williams, according to the Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer,” a confusing statement given the reports of eyewitnesses. The decision to emphasize the assumed danger faced by the officer was grossly reminiscent of the Fullerton Police Department’s efforts to portray Kelly Thomas as a dangerous criminal by releasing an old mugshot of him shortly after his brutal beating.

One of the critical reforms adopted by the FPD following the killing of Kelly Thomas was the wearing of body cameras by officers. Dashboard cameras were already standard. Like the Kelly Thomas case, authorities are refusing to release any recordings of the “encounter,” as it has been described in press releases, or even to confirm whether or not any such recordings exist.

One marked difference between the two cases is the timing of statements by the involved officers. At least following the Kelly Thomas case, reports were written by officers shortly after the beating, albeit after the controversial practice of allowing the officers to view footage of it–a decision made by Dan Hughes, later appointed Chief of FPD. Shockingly, the unidentified FPD officer who shot Miss Williams has reportedly not yet given an official statement about it.

The family, who complain that news media are being given more information about their daughter’s killing than they are, and the general public shouldn’t be in the dark about basic facts of this tragic death. It is almost impossible to imagine that authorities would not have released body footage already if an officer had been shot by a “civilian.” And, if the officer did not have his/her body cam activated, or the dash cam was not operable or had been somehow damaged in what is reported to have been a collision between the vehicles, why is that information not available? How long are we expected to wait for these answers? There are good reasons for efforts to establish a Fullerton Police Commission.

Release the tape.

 

Fullerton Police Chief (for the moment) David Hendricks

Matthew Leslie

UPDATE: The Special Meeting is NOT about Chief Hendricks. It’s about someone connected to the Kelly Thomas case, presumably the since fired FPD officer Jay Cicinelli, who wants his job back, since our incompetent District Attorney, Tony Ruckaukus, couldn’t get him convicted for helping to beat the poor homeless man brain dead.

The more direct reference to the subject of the Closed Session meeting can be found in City Manager Ken Domer’s weekly report at this link:

https://www.cityoffullerton.com/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=26046

Why the Closed Session Agenda itself does not include this single explanatory line is unclear.

The Fullerton City will meet in closed session on Thursday Nov. 1, 4:00 p.m. to consider a single agenda item:

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE / DISMISSAL / RELEASE Per Government Code Section 54957.1(a)(5)

https://fullerton.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=645546&GUID=F57ECBE9-141E-4D01-B222-E1132D464F1B

I believe the Council only officially hires two positions, the City Manager and Chief of Police, and only one of those people has been on leave for two months pending a criminal investigation. Chief David Hendricks, who seemed to have been doing some beneficial housecleaning at the Fullerton Police Departmental during his seven month tenure, appears to himself be headed for the door.

The Chief has been on paid leave while under investigation for a reported off-duty physical altercation with emergency medical personnel called to treat his wife during an August 24 concert in Irvine.

The Council has tried hiring a police Chief from within the ranks and from outside of the city for its last two appointments. Our most recent former Chief Dan Hughes seems to have let the former City Manger off the hook for a drunken car accident, and now it looks like Chief Hendricks is going to be fired for an off-duty fight.

Here’s a suggestion: form a Civilian Police Commission and let them lead the search for a new Chief of Police this time around.

Matthew Leslie

Have you ever heard of Captain Bob Dunn of the Fullerton Police Department? You might want to get to know him, because right now he is the Acting Chief of the FDP. It is being widely reported by news outlets that Friday night Fullerton Police Chief David Hendricks and FPD Captain Thomas Oliveras were involved in an altercation with Emergency Medical personnel attempting to treat the Chief’s wife who was suffering some sort of medical emergency while attending a concert in Irvine. No charges have yet been filed, but Chief Hendricks and Captain Oliveras have both been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is being investigated. The story was evidently leaked Sunday via a screenshot of a message sent by Fullerton’s City Manager Ken Domer to members of the FPD. It is not known who else was meant to receive the announcement (certainly not the general public, at that point).

The City Manager’s office inexplicably waited until Tuesday morning to finally issue a press release, after news reports were already circulating on radio, television, and on the internet, giving the unfortunate impression that Mr. Domer was forced to acknowledge a story that was much more than just a personnel issue only after is was already in the public sphere. The press release itself is almost curt it its brevity, providing no details about the incident. We are informed that “…the City is hiring an external investigator to conduct an administrative review.” A standing Police Commission in Fullerton could do the same thing, if we weren’t blocked from having one by a bare majority of three members of the Fullerton City Council who are backed by Fullerton’s police union.

The other information outlet that should have alerted the public to the fact that the Chief of Police had been sidelined due to possibly violent behavior is the Fullerton Police Department’s own Public Information Officer, whose Twitter feed has been utterly silent about it, even now. Take a look at the most recent tweets from the account below:

FPDPIO Twitter Feed August 2018

Happy National Dog Day! Also, if the Chief of Police has been put on leave, we don’t know a thing about it.

Pedestrian Safety Enforcement, a congratulations to a new officer, and National Dog Day–all three tweets sent after their own Chief was kicked out of a major concert venue and placed on leave. Isn’t the Public Information Officer supposed to supply information to the public? Are we paying the PIO to send us pictures of dogs?

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