By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
18 ROBERT FOWLER, Garden Grove cop
Thanks to the hysteria of Fowler, the once-thriving Garden Grove cybercafé scene is now over. The Associated Press asked the sergeant on March 3 whether the city's cybercafés were now safe a year after two murders occurred outside the popular gaming sites and months after the last disturbance near a cybercafé. "We're finding our . . . gangs are hanging out at Internet cafés," Fowler said. "They are playing against other Internet cafés. One group gets mad at the other, and they know where to find them." Emboldened by Fowler's analysis, the Garden Grove City Council filed an appeal to reenact draconian regulations —curfews, mandatory guards—against cybercafé owners. MITIGATING FACTOR: A judge found the regulations unconstitutional. As realistic as Counterstrike was in depicting gory violence, nothing beats the sights and sound of a real-life pistol, eh, Fowler?
19 CHUCK CONLOSH, Huntington Beach cop
The former five-year Fountain Valley city councilman and 13-year veteran of the Huntington Beach Police Department first started raising eyebrows when he showed up to council meetings and set his fully loaded, 9 mm Glock handgun on the dais in front of him. Then things got weird. He reportedly began acting strangely on the job before forfeiting his council seat in 2001, telling his colleagues he was checking himself into a Costa Mesa psychiatric hospital. But in a lawsuit Conlosh later filed, he claimed it was Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach police officers who stuck him in the booby hatch and forced him to retire from the force. He further claimed that cops were "out to kill" him for uncovering unspecified "criminal misconduct" in the HB chief's office. In February 2002, Conlosh was escorted out of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in the middle of the night after security guards alleged that he tried to gain entrance to the plant by telling them he was on assignment for the FBI. While continuing to pursue his suit, he popped into The Orange County Register's Fountain Valley bureau in August 2002 to announce he would run to regain his council seat. He also told reporters he planned to start a newspaper in town and asked if he could take their pictures. MITIGATING FACTOR: He lost last November's council race and apparently is a lousy photographer.
20 THE MOTORCYCLE COP WHO JUST GAVE ME A SPEEDING TICKET
It was 4:30 on a Wednesday afternoon, and I was heading through a residential neighborhood when suddenly, in my rearview mirror, your police motorcycle pulled out from behind a parked truck, lights blazing. I dutifully pulled aside to let you pass. Imagine my surprise when you pulled behind me! What happened? Did I fail to come to a full and complete stop at the stop sign a few blocks back? Were my plates expired? Who the hell gives tickets at 4:30 on a Wednesday afternoon anyway? Visions of Super Troopers dancing in my head, a glance in the side mirror revealed your dramatic dismount. A purposeful stride to my door gave you plenty of time to remove your gloves with that stone-serious scowl affixed to your sunglassed mug. I was hoping for a bumbling, Guttenberg-ian doofus, but what I got was a douche bag with rolled-up uniform sleeves to expose a set of bulging pecs. Damn. No, officer, I don't know what the problem is, I said. No, officer, I don't know how fast I was going. Yes, officer, I know the speed limit for a residential neighborhood: 25 mph . . . uh, sir. No, I don't think I was going that fast, and no, I don't think I slowed down to that speed, and no, I don't think I sped back up again. Confronted with an obvious he-said/you-said situation, what more could I expect from you but leniency, a fair warning, no hard feelings? So let me just say thank you soooo much for letting me off easy this time—to the tune of $144.86. Asshole. MITIGATING FACTOR: At least you didn't rape me.
21 PAUL M. WALTERS Santa Ana police chief
Walters, chief since 1988, is a man of many honors—just ask him. According to his official website, www.chiefwalters.com, the "widely recognized and written-about national leader in policing" was one of OC Metro's "Hottest 25 People in Orange County" in 1998, appeared on 60 Minutes for his community-policing programs, and was nominated for an "Airman of the Year" award in 1967 during his four-year stint in Vietnam. The bleating of personal accomplishments is necessary considering Walters is always aspiring for more prestigious positions than being the chief of police for the most-Latino city in the nation. Walters unsuccessfully applied for LAPD chief and unsuccessfully ran for Orange County Sheriff against Mike Carona. Between failing to find new jobs, Walters surfs the Internet to criticize people who criticize his department: when Santa Ana activists protested that the SAPD wouldn't listen to their complaints regarding Elmer Bustos (a man shot and killed by Walters' officers), Walters accused them of distorting facts. "All the community members that wanted to speak were allowed to do so," Walters posted on la.indymedia.org. "You should be ashamed of yourself by misrepresenting what really occurred." Six months later, Bustos' killer remains on the job. MITIGATING FACTOR: Walters' website doesn't use Flash.