Fullerton PD's Other Dirty-Cop Case

Will a jury signal to cops it's wrong to harass citizens videotaping their actions?

Fullerton PD's Other Dirty-Cop Case
Jay Brockman

In Orange County, one outcome is as sure as a 5 p.m. traffic jam on the 5, 91, 55, 22, 57 and 405, Republican control of the Newport Beach city council, and a grotesque sewer spill at Doheny State Beach: Some cops are going to falsify official reports to frame innocent citizens.

I long ago stopped counting the number of times officers have been caught lying by irrefutable evidence and then, as if the corruption is a badge of honor, climb in rank in their various police agencies. Sometimes such a case involves simply omitting exculpatory facts from reports. For example, in 2009 a South County housewife who had led a crime-free life found her world turned upside down when a deputy arrested her for shoplifting a $100 jar of face cream. The cop didn't report that a store surveillance recording he had watched had disproved the crime.

A year later, two cops verified a burglary suspect's alibi, but didn't make any notes of that crucial information in their arrest reports. In hopes of sending the man away to prison, those officers later repeatedly assured a jury they knew of no alibi. After a bombshell, contradictory recording emerged of the officers discovering the alibi was truthful, both cops claimed temporary amnesia.

Some cop cheating involves the use of force. In 2008, a group of officers witnessed a white cop unnecessarily fire three, painful Taser blasts into a handcuffed, Latino suspect, who'd been restrained in the back of a patrol car. At the excessive force trial, all the cop witnesses disavowed their original, recorded observations made to a grand jury so that the jury would acquit the shooter.

In October 2010—eight months before Fullerton cops took action that gained them international shame by savagely killing Kelly Thomas—there was another, less sensational but still potent police brutality incident in that city.

At about 2 a.m. one weekend night, officer Jonathan Miller stopped Sokha Leng outside of a bar. Miller threw Leng, who'd been in a verbal dispute with another man, down to the street and pounced on him for not obeying his commands. Veth Mam, one of Leng's Cambodian friends, pulled out his iPhone and began recording what he considered to be excessive force.

(Despite continual attempts by police to scare citizens into not filming their acts, they have no right to make such a demand, a position firmly backed by the U.S. Department of Justice.)

The video shows Miller in control of Leng, a crowd—including Mam—yelling at officers to calm down and about eight other cops (including Frank Nguyen, Ricardo Reynoso, Kenton Hampton and Daniel Solorio) forming a protective human shield while telling observers to "back up."

To this point, all is relatively fine. Citizens were voicing their constitutionally protected freedom to express displeasure at questionable police violence. In the midst of a potential crisis, police—though fully armed and waiving Taser guns—demanded fairly that observers give them additional room to perform their duties.

But then Hampton—one of the six cops who'd later play a minor role in the Thomas beating—decided to approach the onlookers, singled out Mam, knocked the recording phone out of his hand, kicked him down to the street and handcuffed him. One of Mam's friend's, Denserey Tim, picked up the phone and continued recording.

Based on that sequence of events, Hampton arrested Mam, threw him in the Fullerton jail, and then had him transferred to county lockup for several days until deputies allowed him to post bail just before he was set to go to work on Monday morning. As the cops at the scene that night officially recorded their observations, they swore under oath and in writing that they positively saw Mam commit three crimes that justified his arrest: obstructing a police officer, assaulting a police officer and "lynching" a police officer.

Officer Nguyen claimed he observed Mam "jump on Officer Miller's back" and "wrap his hands around Miller's neck and tried to choke him." Who knows what could have happened if Nguyen hadn't been there to be the hero? He documented his own bravery by asserting he was the one who saved his colleague from Mam.

Nguyen wrote his police report—one that oddly failed to mention even a hint of Hampton's assault or handcuffing of Mam—without knowing that Mam's video would later surface and annihilate his credibility. For his part, Hampton didn't file any report, a move that violated procedures. Officers who've engaged in physical contact with a citizen are required to document the incident.

Despite the fictional and missing reports, the case proceeded to trial, where prosecutor Rebecca Reed finally saw the video and showed it to Nguyen. The officer still refused to concede the obvious. Instead, he concocted an amended but still preposterous tale of events that no other witness saw: Mam choked Miller before the iPhone recording and then had been allowed to walk unimpeded back into the crowd without consequence.

(Back in reality: Try choking a cop and see how long it takes to face attempted murder charges.)

According to Garo Mardirossian and Thomas E. Beck, Mam's civil lawyers, Hampton targeted their client because he was angry that police actions were being recorded. As evidence, they noted that, while nobody in the crowd acted physically threatening to the cops, Hampton bypassed several individuals who were closer to Miller (but weren't recording the incident) to get to Mam.

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21 comments
paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

why is it that the cops are allowed to get away with this stuff some for several incidents of the same/ I mean I can get it why the DA doesn't press charges (cause hes as corrupt in that area as the cops) but why do the supervisors at the police department tolerate this?

Sagoria
Sagoria

Veth Mam is a PUSSY! We're not picken rice all day over here, if he likes to constantly mix it up at night downtown, he better be able to deal with the risks. 

bgray59
bgray59

I once was framed by Pinal County Sheriff's Deputies.  When I discussed this with my attorney (Now a Superior Court Judge) he told me.

" All cops lie, Prosecutors Lie and Attorneys  Lie. Judges know this but they have to ignore it or the whole system would break down."

My faith in the system has been shattered and I question my dedicated 30 years of service to my nation and community.

marcy
marcy

All cops lie, repeatedly.

It's long past time to start put lying cops in jail.

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

I'm no police fan but I distrust any account given in this leftwing rag with it's anti-white bias and endless litany of excuses for criminals in the minority communities. It's also the morons on the left that are agitating for exclusive government control of firearms for the very cops and military they disdain.

The real problem is way too many laws regulating every area of life from drugs to you name it.

unrealt771
unrealt771

Looking for investor(min.50 k) For more info contact me on unrealt77 gmail com
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carlashworth
carlashworth

In 2008, Rusty Kennedy , executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, awarded to his colleague on his commission and Fullerton police chief, Pat Mckinley, an award for Fullerton PD's "exemplary" police-community relations. In 2008, Fullerton PD were molesting female detainees in their squad cars. A month after the infamous beating death of a homeless, schizophrenic by fullerton PD in July of 2011, recently retired Fullerton police chief and then Fullerton city council , Pat McKinley, called in , you guessed it, Rusty Kennedy to assuage the moral outrage of Fullerton's community over the beating death of Kelly Thomas. Kennedy's commission mission states its purpose is to act as a "clearinghouse" and "mediator" for OC's communities complaints of civil rights abuses committed against them by theier respective law enforcement. Rusty Kennedy 's hometown since toddlerhood has been city o Fullerton. so what happened?

Lajimmy
Lajimmy

The entire criminal Unjust system is corrupt. Starting with the "cops" I mean thugs with badges.  Officer Sanchez at La Habra P.D. is a prime example of a fuckin liar.  These creeps take pride in thier crimes of lieing on reports, testi-lieing and pencil fucking as they call it.  But what goes around comes around.  Sanchez you lieing Piece of Shit, it's a matter of time before youre arrested and shamed!  I can't wait!  If you get stopped in La Habra, make sure you are recording at the very least an audio of your stop!  Hope these Fullerton Hero's go to prison!    

metalmot
metalmot

You missed an important point Mr Moxley.

Vietnamese HATE Cambodians.


Doesn't take Steven Hawking to figure this one out.



92831
92831

FYI, Nguyen is not on administrative leave as a result of this.  I dealt with him a couple months ago following a burglary at a relative's house. 

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Mr. Moxley, in answer to your question: Do police have the right to prevent citizens from videotaping their actions? 

The courts and now the Justice department have weighed in on this. 

August 2011 

The First Circuit Court of Appeals reached a decision allowing the public to videotape police officers while they're on the clock. 

November 2012 

The US. Supreme Court upheld the First Circuit Court's ruling

March 2013 

"In a Statement of Interest, the US Justice Department is urging UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND to affirm individuals’ rights to record police under the First Amendment in support of a journalist suing over his arrest while photographing Maryland officers. MANNIE GARCIA v MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND. First, the United States urges the Court to find that both the First and Fourth Amendments protect an individual who peacefully photographs police activity on a public street, if officers arrest the individual and seize the camera of that individual for that activity. Second, the United States is concerned that discretionary charges,such as disorderly conduct, loitering, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest, are all too easily used to curtail expressive conduct or retaliate against individuals for exercising their First Amendment. rights. The United States believes that courts should VIEW SUCH CHARGES SKEPTICALLY (LMAO <---- my comment) to ensure that individuals’ First Amendment rights are protected. Core First Amendment conduct, such as recording a police officer performing duties on a public street, cannot be the sole basis for such charges. Third, the First Amendment right to record police officers performing public duties extends to both the public and members of the media, and the Court should not make a distinction between the public’s and the media’s rights to record here. The derogation of these rights erodes public confidence in our police departments, decreases the accountability of our governmental officers, and conflicts with the liberties that the Constitution was designed to uphold."

Unfortunately, there are so many dumb-as-posts cops around - Youtube video after Youtube video of cops claiming just the opposite. The same type of cops who probably think Thomas Paine is an aspirin for your headache sold only at Walmart. I'm convinced that their superiors are capitalizing on their ignorance  with the expectation that most folk will just comply with the officers illegal orders thereby reducing the frequency of embarrassing evidence.  

But then again what do I know,  I'm a male Hispanic. 


c337cmdr
c337cmdr

I used to believe that, if you were arrested you must have done something wrong.  You may be somewhat innocent, but you did commit a crime.  I have been through the full physical and mental stress at a law enforcement academy.  I know what they are taught.  They are taught to be honest, respectful and serve as a police officer in a moral and legal manner.  Follow the law and maintain respect.  I now have a hard time believing and trusting law enforcement.  In my competitive business I had two attempts to kill me by privately hired Sheriff Deputies.  One got only one year in State prison.  The other deputy was never convicted and continued to work for the man that hired him.  Luck for me, they were sloppy.  One of those deputies is still receiving retirement.   Ex-Sheriff Carona is receiving his pension that he earned while committing felonies during his time as the OC Sheriff.  We are no longer able to trust our system of legal justice.  We are paying way too much for bad cops.  Don't get me wrong; we do have good honest police officers, but they are up against too many corrupt partners.  I hope to see some changes for the better, while I'm still alive. 

TheRefriedMexican
TheRefriedMexican

As a former longtime Fullerton resident I am glad to see these pigs are finally being exposed. Where's the Register by the way? Good luck to Veth Mam and his pending litigation.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"The citizens have a right to protect themselves from the police". - OCDA Tony Rackaukas (2011) after the Kelly Thomas police murder on KFI's John and Ken show. - Yes folks I heard him say it on live radio.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

You mean to tell me that it's ok for the cops to film me and tape me when they pull me over or stop me on the streets and question me about things but it's not ok for me to defend myself against them, I think not. "80 percent of all cops are criminals and violate the laws while they are ON DUTY and they are being paid to do and be so", so if they are criminals while they have a badge on and are being protected from crimes that they commit then why aren't they being prosecuted for those crimes, they are citizens in a uniform. They consider the citizen to be the criminal when they are committing worse crimes than you all in the name of revenue for the cities they work for.

Nov.16
Nov.16

18USC241.....your weird, spooky, paranoid and creepy...

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

... and that's why video is paramount !  AMDG

anicerack
anicerack

@Lajimmy OMG I just wound up in jail after a routine stop by J Sanchez,  But your right what goes around comes around.  He is probably used to slam dunk convictions, people to scared, busy, or unable to clear their names.  Shit Im on the internet looking for his picture right now for my BEWARE OF BAD COP posters.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

@Nov.16 OR I'm the Hispanic man (who's dad was the Puerto Rican version of Mr. Roger's and whose mother was the Ecuadorian woman turned US citizen who said that she loved this country more than she loved her own) who got completely screwed by Orange County California law enforcement and who is now seeking justice via the legal means available. 

How you interpret me is truly a reflection of you.

By the way, video can be weird, spooky and creepy but it can't be paranoid ;)

 
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