Dispatches From the Police State

[Moxley Confidential] Fullerton officers respond to a noise complaint with police-state tactics. Plus, a Fountain Valley resident pleads guilty to his role in a Westminster loan-shark scheme

Perhaps we should forgive Fullerton Police Department (FPD) officers Frank Nguyen and Anthony Ciciarelli for believing their conduct would go undetected in the wee hours of Feb. 11, 2011. For law enforcement, it was still the golden age when Orange County residents steadfastly believed cops never lie or abuse citizens or attempt to cover up their wrongdoing. That faith took a huge blow five months later, when the world realized a degenerate cancer had beset FPD as exemplified by the savage killing of Kelly Thomas.

After handcuffing Goggans, kneeing him in the back, placing him in a patrol car and huddling with Nguyen, did Ciciarelli turn off his department-supplied Digital Auto Recorder so they could concoct probable-cause scenarios to justify the arrest?

Use your time machine to arrive with Nguyen and Ciciarelli (sometimes spelled Cicciarelli) at a Princeton Circle West residence to investigate a loud-noise complaint. The officers couldn't find evidence of the alleged crime. They didn't hear yelling, screaming, arguing or music. They heard . . . well . . . relative silence for an urban setting.

To investigate that quiet, the cops knocked on the door of the targeted home without identifying themselves. An occupant—resident Matthew Goggans—replied, "Go away." It must have been a slow crime night. The officers took Goggans' words as the beginning of an assault on their authority and responded with a series of decisions fitting a police-state mentality.

After identifying themselves as cops, Nguyen and Ciciarelli pounded on the door to get Goggans outside on his front porch. He told the pair he wasn't aware of a noise issue and assured them there wouldn't be one. But the officers demanded he give them his name so they could hand him a written warning that would result in a citation or arrest if they returned.

Goggans—then a 20-year-old, 6-foot-3, 225-pound star quarterback at Fullerton College—had taken a criminal-law course taught by a former cop and refused their request because he believed the U.S. Constitution protects him from police interrogation in such a non-emergency situation. He told them only his first name and declined to provide his date of birth or telephone number. The officers didn't appreciate his assertion of rights, a fact they confirmed in later depositions. In their view, he was "argumentative" against their authority and, according to Nguyen, giving "us a hard time" when they were dealing with "just a party call."

When the student attempted to re-enter his home, the officers blocked him and decided to show him who was boss. They ordered him to sit and, opining he didn't sit fast enough, accused him of obstructing their investigation, a crime. Nguyen and Ciciarelli also decided they could arrest him for public intoxication because, they declared, they were worried about his safety. A transcript shows, however, that Ciciarelli—who incredibly thinks he can make a public-intoxication charge against a person standing anywhere visible to someone standing outside—continued to steam over the "go away" line.

As far as FPD documents go, the arrest was largely a non-controversial, textbook public service. Both officers—supposedly trained in the art of recording accurate facts—wrote sworn, identical reports claiming they observed on the porch Goggans' slurred speech, swaying body and watery eyes. They even claim to have vividly recalled smelling alcohol on his breath.

"I saw a person who'd been drinking a lot," Ciciarelli said during his deposition.

But beside the chump act of luring a resident out of his home to make a public-intoxication charge, there was a problem undermining the officers' integrity. Goggans says he wasn't intoxicated that night. According to court records, he wasn't slightly tipsy either. In fact, he hadn't consumed any alcohol or drugs, and FPD has no forensic evidence otherwise.

Did the officers accidentally ascribe the conditions of intoxication to a sober person?

After handcuffing Goggans, kneeing him in the back, placing him in a patrol car and huddling with Nguyen, did Ciciarelli temporarily turn off his department-supplied Digital Auto Recorder (DAR) so the officers could concoct probable-cause scenarios to justify their arrest? The department disciplined the officer for the violation of DAR procedures, and the Orange County district attorney's office thought so little of the cops' story it refused to file any charges. Nonetheless, Goggans had to continue to reveal the failed case to National Football League teams interested in hiring him.

What was the reason those officers put their suspect in a room at FPD headquarters, left the door open, and encouraged other cops to parade by and gawk as Ciciarelli labeled the student a "smart ass" and "asshole" who "thinks he knows everything because he was in a law course at Fullerton College"?

To Garo Mardirossian, Goggans' Los Angeles-based lawyer who believes FPD has a shameful history of employing thugs as cops, the message of the episode was obvious: The officers "were out on a witch-hunt to prove a point to [Goggans] that they were in control and whatever they felt was okay to do, then they would act on it."

According to Mardirossian, "Jail-surveillance video of Mr. Goggans after his arrest demonstrates that he was not impaired in his balance and he was walking in straight lines unassisted."

Cop lawyers have failed to convince U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna that Goggans' civil-rights lawsuit should be killed before it reaches a future jury inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana. But they've enlisted the aid of Curtis Jeffrey Cope, a former Huntington Beach Police Department officer and nowadays a professional witness who, at a cost of $2,500 per day to taxpayers, is willing to testify he can't find anything troubling with the arrest. No surprise. Cope comes from a department that in the 1990s made public-intoxication arrests of beer-holding residents standing in the doorway of their homes during, ironically, Fourth of July celebrations of independence from an oppressive government.

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31 comments
anzablazer
anzablazer

What happens when the Police and the Government take your Guns. They'll have to much Power and are even more Corrupted than they already are. These Cop's are just a bunch of  Authoritarian Tyrants. Enablers for our Corrupted Big Brother Government of Liars, Thieves, and Profiteers.
 

Owning a Gun is the ultimate SEPARATION of POWER from the Government.

The EQUALIZER for a FASCIST AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNMENT.

Which our Government is rapidly becoming.

anzablazer
anzablazer

The Military Police State is already using Excessive Force Killing and Terrorizing Innocent people all over America. It will get 100 X worse if you give up your Guns to these corrupt Fascist Authoritarian Tyrants.

RPaggio
RPaggio

OC isn't a police state, it's such a pc placated stubborn city if anything. That's the reason why things like  http://bit.ly/1gDYU64 are all over, it's a good necessary must.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Visit the just consequences for these felonies on the heads of the perpetrators!

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"80 percent of all cops are criminals and violate the laws while they are ON DUTY"

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

so what it it's a rent scam for 13 years, I got hired as a process server and did work but never got paid and now lady is acting as a landlord when the property does not belong to her and never had me sign or gave me a copy of the lease agreement. She claims that I owe her in excess of $10 grand in back rent.

18usc241
18usc241

With all the crimes I've witnessed Orange County CA law enforcement commit out on the streets, I've often wondered what sort of crimes might this disgrace be committing inside these air conditioned police stations. You know like financial accounting crimes. For instance how hard could it be to correctly account for three helicopters?

18usc241
18usc241

"Curtis Jeffrey Cope, a former Huntington Beach Police Department officer and nowadays a professional witness who, at a cost of $2,500 per day to taxpayer"

Interesting career you've carved out for yourself Mr. Cope - former Huntington Beach cop.

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

One thing before I agree with this article, this sentence of yours 


"For law enforcement, it was still the golden age when Orange County residents steadfastly believed cops never lie or abuse citizens"


substitute "cops" with "journalists"



OK!


NOW IF THIS (bias?) is TRUE



the officer(s) must receive correct punishment


I dont get why officers dont realize that


co-operation with the citizens will result in


more bad people being sent to jail




OR in the case of California ,  a 10 year sentence suspended to  5 days


brian1169
brian1169

This lawsuit was dismissed by the judge this week. He ruled that the officers had probable cause to arrest for being drunk in public, and that Goggans voluntarily stepped outside, which allowed officers to make the arrest for public intoxication.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

Lawsuit is more than justified.  Never heard of a person being called out of their home and then arrested for being drunk in public.  I knew of Jeff Cope back in the old days and he was a terrible street officer in Huntington Beach.  if that is the best the defense lawyers can do for an expert witness, their case is lost before it starts.  No excuse for  such actions by the Officers and they should have been investigated and disciplined by their department.  Seems like Fullerton P.D. was somewhat lax in that discipline process which could have headed off the larger problems it later faced?    

Nomad13
Nomad13

Don't know who is more deserving of a kick in the ass, the filthy, lying police union attorney or the filthy, lying, C riminals O n P atrol

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

I expect a volley of comments about how it's not the responsibility of the police to conduct themselves in a professional, respectful manner but the citizen's job not to "aggravate" them.


It's like telling a sexual assault victim they must have been "asking for it." :-(

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

@justiceday


military personal are trained to kill



as far as the "acceptance" of rape


well that comes from the people who dont want women the opp to protect themselves with handguns


or that pushes welfare which keeps men out of the home and causes a division that cant be solved


OR THE FACT THAT IT IS WOMEN WHO ARE IN CHARGE OF THE HOUSEHOLD IN 98% AND THAT


THEY RAISE THE MALES


So how males learn to treat females is at the hands of women


so if its really all about power


maybe its some (crazy azz) males that were abused by women/ their mom



its not justification for the act of r ape ,,


but it is a subject no one thinks of 


or wants to touch

insidewireman88
insidewireman88

Irvine is notorious for the same chump arrest tactics .

18usc241
18usc241

Both. Technically, incarceration in federal prison for violation of several sections of the United States criminal code -specifically title 18.

Unfortunately because this entire County is so morally bankrupt and corrupt, it hasn't happened YET. Just takes a little while longer. #1925

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@sweetliberty17761776 @justiceday 

Translation: Women are "asking for it" because the existence of rape is the actually the fault of womankind. And it's never the sexual predator's burden to try and not be a rapist but the victim's job to not get raped, right? Seriously?!! 

Go back to your cave and bang some more rocks together, you misogynist troglodyte!


PS I don't need a damn gun...I need men who respect my boundaries. 




ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@18usc241 I feel sorry for you, having to live in Sodom & Gomorrah Country?  Make sure you don't look back as did Lot's wife and become a pillar of salt?  

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@18usc241 

Of course, nothing aggravates a dirty cop more than a citizen who knows their rights...

18usc241
18usc241

Pope Par, it's Sodom & Gomorrah County not Country. If this Country had been as insanely corrupt as Orange County, CA it would have never made it to the 1800's in one piece.

18usc241
18usc241

Fish, for simply asserting my basic American right not to be molested, Stan Knee, Brad Gates, Randall Gaston and friends caused the entire #orangecounty CA law enforcement community to jump off the cliff like crazed lemmings. Garden Grove, Anaheim cops and OC deputies etc = livid dirty looks after livid dirty looks after livid dirty looks.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@fishwithoutbicycle @18usc241 A "dirty cop" will not give a rats ass about a citizen who knows his/her rights.  They believe  they can lie, cheat and steal their way out of any act of misconduct.      

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@18usc241 

I'm wondering if some of those crime dramas on TV are doing all of us civilians a disservice by portraying the "suspect" who "lawyer's up" as a "troublemaker" trying to make the cop's job more difficult...

18usc241
18usc241

I wonder how they acquire that confidence? lol

 
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