The "No Recall" camp released this half-hearted statement from our Mayor Pro Tem, Don Bankhead the other day.
“At the outset, I offer my apology to the Thomas family. Your son spent many safe nights on the streets of our city – on July 5th two rogue police officers failed Kelly and the God fearing residents of Fullerton. Today is one of the darkest days in Fullerton’s history. I spent 31 years on the Fullerton police department, retiring in 1988. It’s an organization that I cherish – however today I believe two officers have disgraced the department and our city. I reviewed cases where lawful force was used during my extensive career and understand their complexity. The D.A. has initiated the legal process by charging Officers Ramos and Corporal Cicinelli, a judicial process that makes America the best in the world. May Kelly Thomas rest in peace and may God bless his family.”
Bankhead was one of the council members who hired former
police chief Pat McKinley. McKinley readily admits, almost as a badge of honor, that he was responsible for hiring the officers charged in the murder of Kelly Thomas. This trail of bad decision-making is long. Fullerton
Bankhead's statement that "Your son spent many safe nights on the streets of our city" is shockingly insensitive. Bankhead assumes that one unsafe night is not so bad when compared to many safe nights! He assumes that Kelly actually had many safe nights, a fact which remains to be proven.
Bankhead also uses the term "rogue officers". I take exception to that term because it implies that these two officers are the only bad apples in a tree of perfect fruit when in fact here have been many cases of significant police misconduct within the ranks of the Fullerton PD in just the last 3 years. I don't think these officers are alone in their attitude toward their job or the way they fulfill their mission. I believe the Fullerton Police Department employs several officers with the same sort of callous disregard for humanity and lack of respect for life and liberty.
That said, not all of
's police officers are bad. Just how bad the problem is remains to be seen. I've heard some say that 99% of Fullerton cops are great. Just based on the number of pending criminal and civil cases against Fullerton cops for on- and off-duty behaviour, that percentage looks a lot more like 85% might be great. Regardless of the numbers, we can hope that Michael Genaco's investigation will help make Fullerton a better place for us to live and work. Fullerton
Genaco's investigation has the potential to close down the FPD or clean it up. In the end, the public trust in law enforcement must be restored.