Uproar At Fullerton City Council Meeting Over Violent Police Arrest Of Homeless Man

FULLERTON (CBS) — A Fullerton city council meeting turned into a shouting match with city leaders storming out Tuesday night.

The episode is the latest fall-out from the death of a homeless man that followed a violent arrest by Fullerton police.

The police department is embroiled in two probes of the in-custody death of the homeless, mentally ill Kelly Thomas in July.

The probes are now joined by another internal investigation, ordered by acting Police Chief Kevin Hamilton Tuesday into the arrest of a man in October. He was later acquitted of attacking an officer and resisting arrest.

Fullerton police Sgt. Andrew Goodrich could only confirm that Hamilton ordered an internal affairs review of the arrest of Veth Mam on Oct. 23, 2010.

“Based upon the information that was brought to our attention over the last week, acting Chief Hamilton has ordered an internal affairs investigation into the matter to determine what happened that evening in October 2010 and the court case this year,” Goodrich said.

Goodrich could not confirm or deny whether any of the officers involved in the Oct. 23 incident were also involved in the arrest of Thomas on July 5 at
the Metrolink station.

Mam was acquitted July 7 of misdemeanor charges of battery on an officer and resisting arrest. Mam’s attorney David Borsari said the cellphone video Mam started taking of the incident led to his acquittal, because it contradicted an officer’s testimony.

Just after 2 a.m. that night, Mam was walking to his car when he saw a friend being arrested by Fullerton police, Borsari said. Mam thought the police were using “excessive force,” so he took out his cellphone camera to record the event, Borsari said.

One officer at the scene knocked the camera out of Mam’s hand and another man picked it up and kept recording, Borsari said.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing Thomas’ death to determine if any laws were broken, and the FBI has a separate investigation
to determine if Thomas’ civil rights were violated.

Fullerton City Council members were poised Tuesday night to hire Michael Gennaco to conduct the police department’s internal affairs probe as well as a broader review that would include how police handle encounters with mentally ill people.

RELATED: Witnesses Recount Alleged Police Beating Of Homeless Man

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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  • Alan Hart

    What does it take for the public to realize that police lie. They lie about almost everything. Their attitude is to make the facts fit the report. If I am on jury duty and a cop testifies against a defendant, I already know he is lying and I vote for acquittal.

    • Embrace Love

      yes they do lie
      u said a mouthful of the right stuff
      crooked cops are like mops they get wet and dirty and smell up the place with their lies

    • Mike

      Alan, i don’t agree with what happened in Fullerton, but you’re a complete idiot. With a statement like that, you’re no better then the common criminal. The next time you are asked to sit on a jury (which hopefully NEVER happens again) you should be taken into the judges chambers are ordered to explain yourself. IDIOT!

      • bbogz777

        Mike – OINK OINK What police union do you work for?

  • Sam

    “only the cops that beat the man can review the video?”
    That’s the first major hint that something’s not kosher

    • Scott

      Sam, you are wrong about that. It is better right now that investigators are the only ones to see this video. Why, because whether or not it vindicates the officers, the video cannot taint public opinion. in other words, when only a video is shown, it does not tell the entire story. Many videos used against criminals must be furhter investigated because you need info on what lead up to and the aftermath… That completes the entire story/investtigation. If these officers are guilty, it cannot be covered up. These are different times. The FBI do not cover up for cops. Would you put your job, house and fiamily on the line for a crook? I have been a cop for 32 years and have never had to lie for a follow officer, ever! The ones I know that have are no longer cops. If these guys are guilty, toss them the max. But what if, just what if, the video and other evidence shows the are not guilty? I have had to fight with mentally ill folks who have been off their meds. It is scary beyond belief! I lost two freinds who were killed (at the same time) by a much smaller mentally deranged person. Not to say this is the same type of situation but I want all the facts before I make up my mind. As cops, we make arrests of folks who are later judged by judge and jury, not by media or popular rule. The Constitution is for everyone but it also allows for punishment and removal of certain rights if convicted. To think that this could somehow be swept by coruption is wrong. To think that all FPD cops are bad is wrong. I have seen many cops go to jail. They went to jail because another cop put them there.

      • wgaf

        Scott ,
        So, what are the names of these two friends? Since they were some dumbazz cops their names were, no doubt, made public. Seeing as how you moron cops have one of the safest jobs around, I don’t recall any recent local deaths due to a confrontation with an unarmed mental person.

      • Marty

        If it was not a cop under investigation the police would have the video all over the television. Just like the police say “If you need a lawyer you must have something to hide” Being a cop for 32 years I can see how you have been brainwashed into thinking the police never do anything wrong..

      • bbogz777

        Scott you are full off it!!!! What cases in specific did you see cops send other cops to jail??????????????????????????????????????????????

        What police union do you work for?

  • Ed

    People need to start getting mad, proactive, and demand of their political leaders and those oath takers to stand firm to their pledges to serve the public in a fit manner. The direction of this country is as such due to exactly how police officers act, politicians, etc, and it is evident at the lowest level. What more do we need to know that it is far worse higher up where it is further from the public.

  • downtown dave

    What life must be like on the streets, and worse if a person is mentally disadvantaged. It is good to hold our public servants accountable, but we also must be accountable to the plight of those on the streets in our neighborhoods. There are some on the streets who might not be there if hope was rekindled in their hearts. http://rekindledhope.blogspot.com/

  • Karen

    I think the protestors are RUDE and PIGS because of how THEY BEHAVE at these public meetings.

    Who do they think they are? I am so tired of this story and the big mouth father who has demands on how the police should operate.

    I am sorry that your son is dead. Your grief is blinding you and you want to BLAME OTHERS when maybe you should be blaming yourself or your son.

    And to the protestors, including the people protesting here, until YOU can BEHAVE in a CIVILIZED MANNER, I don’t want to hear from you. YOU ARE JUST AS BAD AS THOSE WHO YOU ACCUSE.

    Grow up everyone.

    • wgaf

      I guess calling people “PIGS,” doesn’t count. You’re an azzhole moron, and I know most agree with me on that.

    • Karen

      People who have zero command of the English language SWEAR to make a point. Only INSECURE people call other people names. OMG – you hurt my feelings not. Do you feel superior now or something? Go right ahead, but I know I am not a moron and I speak well unlike some people.

    • Johny Chingas

      Calm down,,,,These SIX CRIMINALS killed his son….
      Hopefully this never happen to you….because you will be reading these same comments that you are writing… STUP$%^&

      • Karen

        That is YOUR opinion and NOT a fact. The people who should be calming down are the big mouths on this board and at the meeting and the father. THAT is who needs to calm down.

    • bbogz777

      Karen you must be an undercover police union PIG blogger. OINK OINK!

    • Calm

      Ditto, Karen.
      They don’t listen too.

  • Mike

    The dad is a total idiot. I’m glad he knows the PROTESTERS “Kelly’s so called army” stand behind and support Kelly, because he sure the hell never did. BY making the types of comments he made at that council meeting, he’s no better then any other criminal on the streets. Do your son a favor and shut your mouth, because you’re making your entire family look stupid. Your son is probably rolling over in his grave wondering why you didn’t give him so much support when he was alive.

    • John Gregory

      Mike……. I am sure that everyone who is reading your comments believe that you are the IDIOT here for many reasons…..
      If you have nothing good to say, please go back to your couch and stay there.
      I am sure that you have more mental problems that had…..
      Please…Look for help, brother…. REally… I am sure you need it….

      • Mike

        John, what’s the matter, you’re not man enough to hear the truth? To bad. People probrbly think you’re the one thats needs help, in learning how to become a man.

      • Karen

        Actually John, I think Mike is right on.

  • Justice for Kelly

    Karen – If it weren’t for these protesters that you label as RUDE, this story would have been a one day headline and forgotten. Kelly Thomas was beaten by the Fullerton Ploice to the extent that he died. The Fullerton Police I’m sure would love for this story to die. Thanks to these protesters, justice may soon be done. If it weren’t for these protesters, the FBI wouldn’t be involved. If it weren’t for these protesters, the DA wouldn’t be involved. These same protesters would go to bat for you if it were your son. Your apathy is saddening.

    • Kathy L,Vance

      Justice for Ketty,
      yes we will win this Jestice for Kelly He was good kid did not do thin yes it will be far Justice for Killy Killy I am doin this for you,
      Reat in Peac your in Heaven with Karen Carpenter
      we see you again, There be Justice for Killy I am suporter you and your family your fund i be In Fullerton soon put flodwers mail out my 150 donation not city or the police
      Kathy L. vance

    • Karen


      My father always said that I can catch more flies with honey than I can with vinegar.

      If you think the protestors delivered a message – guess again. Who left the meeting and who has the power?

      • wgaf

        Karen, watched them where, in person as they don’t allow swearing on t.v.? There was no open threat with a baseball bat, azzhole moron, you’ve been blowing smoke out of your azz for weeks, dumbazz.

      • Karen

        wgaf – I watched them. Geez, the father threatened the mayor with a baseball bat.

      • wgaf

        How do you know they are swearing? Who came BACK to the meeting? Why are you catching flies? All you do is blow smoke out of your azz.

  • Edward Allen Dombrowski

    Were there other factors, such as the scene being near the popular hangout, “Slidebar,” the possibility of sleeping in the street, and did the Officers ever say what their “probable cause” was based on?

  • Karen

    I did not know until this morning that at the meeting – THE FATHER THREATENED THE MAYOR WITH A BASEBALL BAT.

    Who is calling the kettle black?

    Here the father of the homeless man is THREATENING VIOLENCE when he condones violence.

    I hope you all realize what a HYPOCRITE he is..

    • Justice for Kelly

      I have not been at the meetings, so the only thing I know about them is what I’ve seen from news clips. I do not condone any threats of viloence, and it is apparent that some of them have lost their composure. I do however applaud their perserverance and determination. They are frustated. What do you expect? If this were 6 ordinary citizens who beat a homeless man they would have been all in custody right now.

      • Karen

        I heard this threat several times on KNX1070 Newsradio. I suggest you tune it. I’m sure they will play it ad nauseum throughout the day.

        Mr. Thomas threatened the mayor with a baseball bat.


        We allegedly live in a civilized society.

        And frankly, the police have to have justification for what they do. For the smart alecks in the audience, AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATOR HAS BEEN APPOINTED.

  • Joe Manny

    lol, cops investigating there own, guess how that is going to turn out. Fullerton Cops are themost corrupt of them all!


  • LOL

    Karen, which one of the officers is your husband?

    • Karen

      What makes you think I’m married?

      • wgaf

        Before you focus your loud mouth on the unimportant, “due process…,”

      • wgaf

        Let’s all hope not, god forbid you should reproduce, then again how drunk would that moron have to be.

      • wgaf

        Tell everyone of the “due procees of law” six incompetent moron cops applied to Thomas with their fists, batons and tasers. Six, dumbazz. And, do tell why you’ve been so focused on this case if doing so is wrong, you still blow smoke out of your azz, moron.

      • Karen

        I AM ON THE SIDE OF THE TRUTH. YOU ARE TRASHING PEOPLE and you DON’T know what happened. You demand justice and resignations and for what reason?


        I definitely do not like the vigilante attitudes and the know it alls who think they know better what happened than the people who were actually there.

        I am very angry with the press for fanning this into a frenzy. There is so much news going on and their focus is this story.

        I am paying attention to this story because WE HAVE DUE PROCESS OF LAW IN THIS COUNTRY, and there needs to be some balance in this situation considering the frenzy the press has whipped you all into, and the last time the PRESS TRIED A CASE, THEY LOST – Casey Anthony.

      • LOL

        Karen – You seem pretty invested in a news story you are admittedly tired of, so you must have some tie to the story that draws you back here. There are two sides to the fence and you don’t seem to be on the side of the victim, so I’m guessing you must have a connection to one of the FPD somehow.

  • Survival

    Karen, no worries because when someone on here starts to make sense, the come-backs are only insults. The truth or differing opinion is too hard for them to handle. I believe in questioning authorty. But insults and trashing someone for the sake of it revelas the true cowards. The truth wiil come out and will be revealed to the public. Ignore the corwards and continue with your opinion, as it is your right to state it, always! If these police officers are found guilty, many will say the system is great. But if the verdict comes back different from their belief, thay will say the system is broken and will jeer…

    • wgaf

      SURVIVAL, before you shot your mouth off you should have began with reading dumbazz KAREN’S first post, dumbazz moron.

      • wgaf

        KAREN, much better than yours where all you’ve been is a SHOUTING loud mouth b!tch. By the way, you need to get your head out of your azz, azzhole moron. Your mama should have flushed after she dropped you out.

      • Karen

        wgaf – YOU should wash your mouth out with SOAP. And by the way, super intelligent post.

  • Karen

    Mr. Thomas – THE MAYOR IS NOT RESIGNING nor should he. And YOU should apologize for threatening him with a bat. You had NO right to do that and it shows what a hypocrite you are. What is also shows is YOUR FAMILY’S PROPENSITY FOR VIOLENCE.

    So maybe, the police were justified. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

    • Kim

      Honey, do not ever and I mean ever try to presume you can lump anyone into a group that you and only you concocted in your fictional reality. It is more than apparent you have a serious vested interest in protecting the police. I would liken it to a personal agenda from your continuous postings.

      Did you actually have the gall the ADMIT these 6 police officers were at fault… Yes, you did. On top of that vile comment, you then went on to suggest it was justifiable. POT. KETTLE. BLACK. I suggest the old school use of a certain object called a dictionary to look up the term “hypocrite.” May God (or the devil, whichever you prefer) have mercy on your soul.

      Before you accuse Mr. Thomas of anything, have proof and use your brain, if applicable. Also, if you could kindly remove your finger from the shift key every other sentence, you may resemble a more rational and intelligent person. However, when you suggest killing a man is justifiable, your sanity is questionable and any points you have tried to make are moot. If the apple does not fall far from the tree, what does that make you…

      PS The last sentence was rhetorical.



  • John Walters

    Karen, they turned his face into mush…what more truth do you want?

  • Chris

    I think the mayor should be recalled. I live in Fullerton and one of their Firefighters was asked by myself for medical attention since I paid extra for paramedic services. He didn’t check me over and I ended up going to the emergency room. Luckily no concussion. I wanted to meet with the mayor and even had an appointment set up. Guess who didn’t show up and didn’t bother having his office call to tell me. Nice. Not quite sure how he was even reelected but willing to bet not next time, with this fiasco and the Chevron deal.

  • cindy

    why is it the cops fault the guy was homeless? The dad is crying because his baby is dead, but why wasn’t he taking care of his son. It is so easy to throw your family away, but when they die, the vultures come out wanting money.

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