It's been 2 1/2 months since the life of Julian "Jules" Stanley Collender was cut short by a single police gunshot, but the Yorba Linda 25-year-old's family and friends have maintained their pressure on a local police chief and other officials.
Tonight, they will make a public spectacle out of their quest for "Justice for Julian."
They will gather at Yorba Linda Boulevard and Imperial Highway at 5 p.m. and march together to Yorba Linda City Hall an hour later, in time for the City Council meeting.
"I spoke at the last council meeting [on Sept. 7], and the council has not responded to any of my questions or concerns," says Michele Collender, the 28-year-old sister of Julian Collender. "In fact, they haven't make one public statement regarding the shooting."
You can watch the previous appearance by the recent UC Hastings School of Law graduatehere
, around the 25:00 mark when public comments are heard. Michele Collender demands the release of information concerning the shooting that she claims the Brea Police Department, which patrols Yorba Linda, is withholding. She also wants the cop agency to explain how residents are supposed to feel safe with the officer who shot her brother back on duty, stronger regulations on the types of weapons Brea cops can bring into Yorba Linda and a reconsideration of Yorba Linda's police services contract.
At 12:25 a.m. on June 30, police killed Julian Collender with a high power assault rifle in front of his the Yorba Linda home he shared with his parents. He was unarmed and had no prior record, although he was a suspect in an armed robbery four hours before in the Mercado Del Rio shopping center parking lot.
The family believes a false report was filed to finger Julian in the initial robbery. According to an account of the shooting on JusticeForJulian.com, which no doubt differs from the official police report, "Less than 50 minutes after the report was made Julian arrived home and at least two marked cars and one unmarked car were already waiting outside the Collenders' house with at least one high power assault rifle. Julian was pulled over by one of the marked cars in front of his house. He was unarmed and alone. There were multiple police officers shouting different orders at him. He was shot with a high power assault rifle within a few seconds of exiting his vehicle."
They say the assault rifle was "a war weapon," that Collender "sprung backwards from the impact, paralyzed, his body going into shock." And yet, he was handcuffed while lying in the street, dying.
"Within minutes, Julian's mother opened the front door of her home to find SWAT pointing rifles at her," the website further alleges. "She walked outside barefoot in her knee-length nightgown and bathrobe to be faced with multiple officers and SWAT shining lights and guns at her. Multiple commands were given to her from different directions. The police slammed her against the hood of a police car, searched her, handcuffed her wrists behind her back, and put her in the back of the police car. She had bruises from the handcuffs the size of golf balls. The same happened to Julian's father, who was barefoot and shirtless. For hours they were held in the back of separate police cars."
The parents were later called over to officers and told "in an abrupt manner completely lacking of compassion, 'Your son is at Kaiser and he's dead.'" They were denied entry back into their home, shoes to wear to the hospital or even a ride. Getting a ride from a neighbor to the same Kaiser hospital where Julian Collender was born, the car the parents were riding in was stopped and they were briefly detained, according to JusticeForJulian.com.
Once the elder Collenders finally arrived at the hospital, they were forced to stand 20 feet away from their boy's body and stay in the same room with him for 20 seconds--after being threatened with violence from officers if they broke those commands, the website alleges.
Police have told the family they have evidence that links Collender to the armed robbery. The family does not believe it, has been denied the police report and does not know the name of the officer who killed the young man.
"I know that the events of that night played out because of very poor, even criminal police work," Michele Collender tells the Weekly. "I am worried that the Brea Police have falsified information and provided false information to the DA regarding what happened the night of Julian's shooting."
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The Orange County District Attorney's Office is investigating the shooting, as it does all officer-involved incidents, and Michele Collender has called for a thorough and unbiased investigation by Tony Rackauckas' office.
"I know I can't count on the DA's office to properly investigate that information with a critical eye," she said. "I just don't want this to get swept under the rug, and find it incredibly important that the public is aware of this department's misconduct and they are held accountable."
People can sign a petition on JusticeForJulian.com demanding a fair probe from a DA's office that has never pressed charges against an officer shooter. Meanwhile, Michele Collender, her father and others seeking justice have bombarded the Facebook page of Brea Police Chief Billy L. Hutchinson in a quest for answers. It has led to some extraordinary exchanges, such as one that began Aug. 31 and continued into the middle of this month.
Billy L. Hutchinson, Brea Chief of Police: "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear--not absence of fear."---Mark TwainMaria Charleton: What facts are left to be made available except for your cover up? Julian Collender was shot and killed unarmed with a military assault rifle by you or one of your officers. What factual account can ever give your department the right to kill another human being without regard of their human and constitutional rights? Was your officer threatened with a belt so he responded with an assault rifle designed only to kill? You have a lot of nerve with the quotes you post. You believe in none of them if your actions thus far is any indication of your ethical and moral code.
Billy L. Hutchinson, Brea Chief of Police: Ms. Charleton, this incident is a tragedy for all concerned. The District Attorneys Office, which represents the people of Orange County, is conducting an independent investigation into the shooting. The evidence will speak for itself and if there is culpability assigned to our officer or department, then so be it. I appreciate your comments and urge you to be open to different perspectives.
Michele Collender: ""Then so be it" How can the people of YL and Brea feel safe when the officer-shooter is back on duty? It is reckless and irresponsible for you to put a killer back on duty--after a three day leave (VACATION), with a gun, a high power rifle, back in his hand without FIRST being exonerated for any wrongdoing. Where is your internal investigation? Don't you have a responsibility to inspect the evidence and come to a determination internally, Chief? To put this all off on the DA's investigation is even more irresponsible--as a public servant YOU should demand accountability for your OWN officer's violations. The public has a right to know NOW. There is no good reason for you to withhold information. You CAN release information, you CAN provide answers, instead you are CHOOSING not to at the expense of the safety of the people of YL and with no human regard to Julian's family.
Leslie Ozenbaugh: I am still awaiting the police chief's response. I guess it doesn't matter to this police chief? After clicking on the gun display picture, now I am deathly concerned for our lives. I really, really am. Wow, this is bad. :(
Billy L. Hutchinson, Brea Chief of Police: Ms. Ozenbaugh, it does matter. It's why I responded to postings last night from my home. You live in a safe and well planned community. I have been part of this community for nearly 30 years and can tell you that the people that I come into contact with feel safe. I chose to raise my family here for several reasons. It is safe, well planned, and well managed. There are beautiful parks, award winning schools, well paved and maintained streets, low crime, a low fear of crime, and ample amenities for all. Nevertheless, none of us should be blind to the fact that crime does happen...no city is immune. I wish it were different. As for the photos above, this was part of our National Night Out effort in Brea. I apologize if you find the display offensive
Leslie Ozenbaugh: Mr. Hutchinson, all of those beautiful qualities do not matter if there is no preservation of life! I USED to feel safe in Yorba Linda until Julian Collender was killed. As for those machine guns, putting those on display for the children is setting the example that violence is the Brea Police Dept.'s answer to public service because they are consciously and subconsciously associating those machine guns with the Brea Police Dept.'s answer to public service because they are consciously and subconsciously
Billy L. Hutchinson, Brea Chief of Police: Ms. Ozenbaugh, I appreciate your comments and you seem like a reasonable person. I have dedicated 30 years of my life to the preservation of public safety in our communities, raised my family here, coached youth sports here, and have given back in countless ways over the last 3 decades. I have no motive to do anything other than to do my best to provide for order maintenance and a peaceful existence to each of our over 100,000 residents in our cities. I will ask you, as I have asked others, to be open to another perspective in this matter. We owe it to each other to hear from all of the stakeholders prior to condemning anyone.
Billy L. Hutchinson, Brea Chief of Police: Ms. Ozenbaugh, since I took this job in 2008, I am fully aware of my responsibility to be accountable for the actions of our officers. Nothing has changed since then and this case is no different. I balance that with my responsibility to EACH of the 100,000 residents in Brea and Yorba Linda. You earlier posting seems to indicate you have already made the decision not to trust me as your police chief, and for that I am sorry. I assure you that our officers are among the best trained, educated, and highly competent in the region. This is a tragic incident no one wishes had happened.
Leslie Ozenbaugh: Mr. Hutchinson, actually my earlier posting delineates specifically that I felt safe BEFORE Julian Collender was killed and now I do not feel safe knowing that you returned the police officer who killed him back onto the streets of Brea and/or Yorba Linda BEFORE investigations have been completed. I have never heard of a police department or Police Chief who reinstates an officer immediately after an officer involved shooting, especially when a civilian is killed. Usually, the officer is on paid leave pending investigations. Mr. Hutchinson, based upon your responses you seem to take death rather lightly for someone in charge of preserving life. It is your decision to return that officer immediately back onto the streets that has me concerned. Also, your flat affect is disheartening. I have not under any circumstance used any"absolute" terms like "already made the decision not to trust". Those are inferences you have drawn. Mr. Hutchinson, you speak of "this tragic incident" as though it were happenstance when in fact, we are talking about real people here and one of them (Julian Collender) is not here to defend himself. "This is a tragic incident no one wishes had happened" is an extremely detached statement to make. Regarding "I will ask you as I have asked others to be open to another perspective in this matter." I am not quite sure what "perspective" you are referring to but I have spent many a sleepless night knowing that the shooting officer had myriad weapons and tactics to utilize other than a high power assault rifle. I don't need to list them do I? And "I assure you that our officers are among the best trained, educated, and highly competent in the region" does not reassure my safety and that of my family knowing that your officer is back on duty so soon after this killing! I'm not talking about all the prepare to qualify at the range activities and scores. Don't you think it was too soon to return the officer to the field? I mean we are talking about a man's life here that ended far too soon and under questionable circumstances to say the least Mr. Hutchinson. For instance, I know that you do not deal with even a fourth of the crime that let's say the Santa Ana Police Chief deals with. Those officers get paid leave until investigations are complete and usually return to desk duty for a short time but they certainly are not put back on the field after 72 hours! So, by all means, please clarify.
Louis Filliger: You and your department are hiding behind loopholes and rhetoric. The family has been treated in the most barbaric manner through this whole situation. Can you respond to that? As long as I live in Yorba Linda I will never feel safe again. I know many people that feel the same. This quotation leads me to believe that you have philsophical and idealistic inclinations. People are looking to you to right the wrongs that occured on June 30th. Please look deeply into your conscience and take the necessary steps to right all the wrongs your police department has already committed so far.
Tamus Sixtwonine: How can you quote about courage, when your officer was armed with a military rifle (accurate to 200 yards) on a residential street (maybe 50 ft wide)? Courage is knocking on a door and speaking to the suspect or the parents. Courage is face to face. Courage is what your officers took from Julian and his family.
Billy L. Hutchinson, Brea Chief of Police: Mr. Filliger, depending on the findings of our investigation of the incident, please rest assured that appropriate action will occur. I cannot "right" anything unless and until the facts indicate so. I wish you would consider waiting until all the facts are revealed prior to passing judgement.
Louis Filliger :Maybe the next time one of your officers murders someone you could put them on leave until the matter was resolved instead of having them back in the streets scaring the crap out of the rest of the city. I could "wish' all I want but until I hear something from your department that makes sense I will pass judgement. I have to pass judgement or end up a victim. Like I said before. Please account for your officers treatment of Julian's parents the night of June 30th 2010. Thank you
Billy L. Hutchinson, Brea Chief of Police: Ms. Ozenbaugh, the flat affect or any other lack of emotive response is always a challenge in this communication arena. I value human life as much as anyone...I have a family, friends, loved ones just like any one else. I have grieved the loss of loved ones just like any other man. The other perspective I am referring to is allowing for this tragic case to be put into context via a chronology of events that will be shared when possible. I would be willing to meet with you in person if you would like. Clearly this forum is not conducive to true interpersonal communication.
Michele Collender: Stop with this "perspective" bit, it's old and nobody's buying it. Do you even understand what you are asking people to do? Julian was killed and you want people to hear your position on it, your take on it, how you perceive what happened? Perspectives are subjective. I don't want your take on it. I don't give a **** about your perspective. Throw your perspective out the window, how about some facts:
-You or one of your officers killed Julian with a high power rifle
-He was shot outside of his childhood home at 12:25am by one of at least five of your police who were waiting outside of his house
-Julian did not exit the house and confront officers as you say
-Julian was unarmed
-Julian was accused of being involved with a crime by at least one person who knew him only 50 minutes before he was shot, whose names you still haven't released
-your officers treated my parents with no dignity and no respect after killing their youngest son
There is no "chronology of events" that will justify you or one of your officers KILLING an unarmed 25 year old with a high power assault rifle in Yorba Linda or treating his parents in the way that you did. I think I'm done trying to talk with you, your attitude is now clear to everybody who sees this. You're so full of deceit it's scary. I wonder exactly what you told the DA, I am sure it was very far from the truth. And, of course you want to meet in the person, so people don't see what's really going on here. You cherry-pick the questions you respond to, your responses lack substance, and you continue to hide comments up at the top of the page. It's not the forum that is not conducive, it's you. Finally, that's very bold of you try to take credit for the low crime rate in YL. The city takes care of itself crime-wise. In fact, according to your own crime statistics, the ONLY HOMICIDE that has occurred in YL this year to date was committed by YOUR DEPARTMENT. By the way, I've been pretty lucky, I've never grieved the loss of a loved one until you guys killed my brother. Look at what you and your "blue knights" have done to my brother and my family. You don't know grief.
Leslie Ozenbaugh: After what I read on Justice for Julian.com, I am hereby declaring that I take an official stance on the side of Julian's family. To say the least, I am more than revolted by the dehumanization of Julian's parents and the utter and blatantly flagrant mistreatment and abusive tactics implemented upon Mr. and Mrs. Collender. That compounded with Julian's murder and the unempathic response by the Brea Police and its Chief I am not willing to meet with Hutchinson:
A) Because I know enough about Police and their ability to manipulate the media to make it appear that "Leslie Ozenbaugh has met with us and agrees." (No, I do not agree, not now, not ever.)
B) Because Hutchinson will "use me" as a statistic to maintain his public appearance that he implements an "open door policy with the community".
C) I attended the University of California at Berkeley and graduated; thus, I have been well equipped to consider all perspectives and have a degree and lots of writings to confirm critical thinking and the use thereof.
D) I do not need the "Chief" of the Brea Police Dept. to affirm my ability to consider all perspectives.
E) The Chicano Studies Major at UCB is not so much the study of the Chicano Culture, rather it is the study of America's infrastructure in the hierarchical powers that pertain to global capitalist economy, American Paramilitary Policing within the Nation-State, and the injustices within American Power Structure.
F) That coupled with countless personal interviews for factual information from police officers throughout the state of California has given me direct information into the education, perspective and codes of police officers and their duties and implementations. All of that combined with other facts has given me the ability to declare my position on behalf of Julian, Mr. and Mrs. Collender and their friends and family.
Leslie Ozenbaugh: I am not the one you need to meet with Chief Hutchinson. On behalf of one Rigo Jones, the "meeting in person" invitation should be extended to Mr. and Mrs. Collender and their children so that you can at the very least apologize profusely for the reprehensible way your department mistreated them and for the woeful murder of their beloved son Julian Collender.
Leslie Ozenbaugh: I am not saying I know it all, but I am saying I know enough.
Billy L. Hutchinson, Brea Chief of Police: Thank you for your dialogue.