Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes — another look (Originally posted June 9, 2014; Edited with a few additional comments on January 14, 2015 including new P.S.) BY BARRY LEVINSON
I REPORT, YOU DECIDE.-by Barry Levinson
I attended the Fullerton Republican Women’s Federated meeting on May 28, 2014. The guest speaker was our Police Chief Dan Hughes. He gave an interesting if somewhat disjointed speech. He indicated that it was good for his department to acknowledge when they do not live up to the highest standards. Yet, he then referred to activists and complained that whatever the FPD actually does, these activists are going to complain about his department.
Dan, either you want legitimate criticism or you want to complain whenever a member of the public has a legitimate beef with the FPD. Your speech certainly sent out mixed messages.
He also handed out the 2013 FPD Annual Report, which he indicated was the first one published since way back in 1967. In it I noted that for 2013, the FPD Supervisor of the Year as chosen by the Fullerton Police Association was none other than Sergeant Kevin Craig, the highest-ranking officer present during the brutal beating death of Kelly Thomas. Craig, you may recall, testified in late 2013 or January 2014 for the defense of Ramos and Cincinelli, claiming that none of the actions taken by any of his fellow officers, including himself that night were indeed against FPD policy.
Why, Dan, did you fire Ramos, Cincinelli and Wolfe, when the Fullerton Police Association’s 2013 Supervisor of the Year testified that they did nothing wrong as did your FPD training officer, Corporal Rubio? I report, you decide.
I want to hear from all those people by name (real name) who look at the picture below and tell me that those officers were not guilty of at least excessive use of force against an unarmed 135 pound man.
Those pesky activists — you know, the protestors — Dan Hughes seems intent to make darn sure that they spend some time behind bars. The city of Bell has nothing over us. After all, they just stole money, not a life!
I forgot to tell all of you, that our police chief kept on repeating one point over and over again during his presentation. That point was that Dan Hughes just does not pay any attention to the politics within Fullerton. If that were true why did his department send 6 police officers, including 2 supervisors as well as several police vehicles to Pasadena for half a day to arrest AJ Redkey for a misdemeanor failure to disperse? The only way that action makes any sense if you view their actions in the form of a political vendetta by the FPD. Where is the reform Dan?
I now have learned from Jean Thaxton’s public comments that Dan Hughes put together a police committee to review the tape of the Ramos, Cincinelli not guilty protest that took place on January 18, 2014. Based on that review, FPD filed that non-violent misdemeanor charge against peaceful protester and live streamer, AJ Redkey for failure to disperse (failure I guess to not disperse quickly enough for Dan Hughes because others have alleged that the same tape shows Mr. Redkey running from the protest area at the time the police asked the protestors to disperse). We all know that had to be the highest priority for our FPD that day. Clearly, if AJ Redkey was the most dangerous “suspect” that needed to be arrested that day 40 miles away in Pasadena, and you could afford to send 6 officers to make that arrest, then I would humbly point out that the FPD is greatly overstaffed! (Now we learn that the FPD wants to add 10 new officers to its ranks.)
By the way, it is my understanding that the most common way and probably the cheapest way to make that arrest was to call the Pasadena Police Department and ask them to make that arrest. I guess the next question is why did that simple and easy solution never cross the mind of those FPD officers?
Or maybe it was personal to you Dan Hughes, like a game of political payback! (You know that game that you desperately played on me last summer and fall, when you lead the charge to try to have me thrown into jail on baseless misdemeanor charges.) You remember Councilmember Whitaker recalling vividly at council that you stated to him that you hate Barry Levinson and then you recounted that you lead the police investigation against me.
Remember Police Chief Hughes, it was reported that those 10 arrested protestors complained that their very lives were threatened by at least one Fullerton police officer before the FPD transported them to jail. These protestors alleged that a FPD officer threatened them that when they arrived at the Orange County jail all their faces (including both men and women) would be smashed in by 12 waiting OC Sheriff Deputies. Yet when Dan Hughes was asked whether he had reviewed the DAR’s (Digital Audio Recorder’s) of those officers to investigate those extremely serious charges, our open and honest police chief remained totally silent.
P.S. It is now a full year after the arrests were made at the Kelly Thomas protest march on January 18, 2014. Yet the DAR (Digital Audio Recording) that Danny Hughes said was sent to the OC District Attorney as evidence has apparently not resulted in any official action by the DA’s office. Why? If they decided not to press charges should not the DAR have been released at that time by the FPD? If the case is still under review after an entire year one must ask the question what is causing this unexplainable delay? Did someone suggest dirty politics?
Therefore, at this time, I urge all people of good will and integrity to attend the January 20, 2015 Fullerton City Council meeting at 6:30 pm. Please demand answers from Police Chief Hughes on the below subjects he has for far too long failed to speak about.
- Demand that the January 18, 2014 DAR (Digital Audio Recording) be released to the public.
- Demand the status of that investigation of the FPD police officer for allegedly threatening great bodily harm to all the arrestees that day.
- Demand that we finally learn the name of the officer who should have replaced retired Police Officer Bill Wallis whose only task was to monitor the Fullerton Sex Offender population. No police officer dedicated solely to that task means the FPD is not doing their job properly.
- Demand that when all FPD officers wear body cameras that it must be on 100% of the time while on duty. Shutting them off should be grounds for firing any Fullerton officer. Without these mandatory rules, the cameras will not do what they are suppose to do, namely provide video evidence of actions taken by both the police and the suspects. The same lame excuses as to why DAR’s are not turned on in too many crucial situations will be used again without the above strict rules.
- Demand that Police Chief Hughes take a public stand for or against the most damaging law that keeps the public in the dark concerning complaints against Fullerton police officers and the details of police management action or inaction when police misbehavior occurs. This law is called the California Police Officer’s Bill of Rights or POBOR. Police Chief Danny Hughes do you support this law or are you against its impact, which is too keep the public in the dark about police abuse and misbehavior? I do not see how you can remain silent on the one law that is the antithesis of open, honest and transparent policing.
- Finally demand that Police Chief Hughes and those so-called leaders of the community display a little bit more love in their hearts and more integrity in their souls. The defaming comments by many in high-level positions currently or formerly in Fullerton City government needs to cease and desist immediately. By the way ladies and gentlemen, one way or the other either the laws of our land will hold them accountable or if not their maker surely will.
As Danny Hughes has been recently honored by the OC Register
as one of the most influential people in OC in large part because of his transparency (that is what Lou Ponsi* of the Register said folks), we believe he owes us nothing less than complete candor on all the above issues. I report, you decide.
- “Why he’s an influencer: Hughes has been credited for bringing new levels of transparency and trust to a department that became embattled after the 2011 death of transient Kelly Thomas at the hands of officers.”
One more comment I would like to make to all of you. This topic is personally painful to me. Why because the two finest men I have ever known were my dad and his brother! They were both career NYPD police officers. The public had a friend and an advocate for what was right and just when they were on duty. I know in my heart there are many fine FPD officers wearing that uniform. It is sad to me that they do not feel comfortable enough to speak out when they too view or hear about bad behavior by a few members of their own force.