After completing a preliminary report in February, and concluding numerous internal affairs investigations, Michael Gennaco, president of the Los Angeles Office of Independent Review, presented the Fullerton City Council with his final report tonight detailing his internal audit of the Fullerton Police Department (FPD). The comprehensive audit included a review of all FPD policies and procedures, as well as numerous confidential interviews conducted in order to obtain insight as to the workings of the department.
Gennaco and his team concluded that there was no cover-up or corruption within the department, however, there was a past “complacency” in discipline, and several policy reforms and procedural changes were recommended, many of which have already been implemented. Among these are new resources for dealing with the homeless, additional training on the use of force, providing the policy manual online for easier access, and a new citizen complaint process. He also presented the Council with options for various forms of citizen oversight for the police department. These options will be considered by the City Council at an upcoming meeting.
Regarding the remaining three officers involved in the Thomas incident, Gennaco found no evidence of misconduct justifying termination. Officer Hampton, Sergeant Craig, and Corporal Blatney arrived after the incident began in response to a backup call from Officer Ramos. When they arrived they helped restrain Mr. Thomas, who was already on the ground, but none of the officers had any involvement in the use of force, nor was any force used after their arrival.
According to Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes, “Multiple agencies, including the Orange County District Attorney and the FBI, have reviewed all the evidence and each has concluded that neither Hampton, Craig, nor Blatney were responsible for any criminal misconduct, however, the officers did violate some policy guidelines and will be appropriately disciplined. Because of employee privacy laws we cannot disclose the nature of the discipline, however, the officers’ will return to desk jobs at the Fullerton Police Department and they will not be assigned to patrol.”
The other officers involved in the Kelly Thomas incident, Ramos, Cicinelli, and Wolfe, no longer work for the Fullerton Police Department. Former Officers Ramos and Cicinelli are awaiting trial for their actions on the night of July 5, 2011. Ramos is accused of one count of second degree murder and one felony count of involuntary manslaughter. Cicinelli is charged with one felony count of involuntary manslaughter and one felony count of the use of excessive force. The District Attorney has not charged Wolfe.
The Office of Independent Review presented an interim report in February of this year, addressing specific allegations of a cover-up within the department following the Thomas incident. In that review, Gennaco looked at allegations that there was no initial call to the police dispatch complaining about Kelly Thomas’ suspicious activities in the train station parking area; items found in Mr. Thomas’ backpack; allegations that a booking photo of someone other than Kelly Thomas was released; and finally the veracity of the reported injuries to the police officers. After reviewing the actual evidence and interviewing those involved, Gennaco determined that the allegations were without merit. Regarding the officer’s injuries, the initial report from the City was based on a preliminary medical report and was later corrected.
Click here for Gennaco Report