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More Bad News for Fullerton Police Department

In July of this year, Kelly Thomas died after a beating from the Fullerton Police Department, as we discussed last month in a previous blog. And although he is not able to continue the fight, his family can, and now they are gearing up for another battle with the Fullerton P.D., but this time on behalf of another victim.

It’s actually the family’s lawyer, Attorney Garo Mardirossian, who plans on filing a federal lawsuit on behalf of Edward M. Quinonez, who alleges he was brutalized last year by a Fullerton police officer who was also involved in Thomas’ fatal beating.

We’re not that surprised that an officer in the Thomas attack has been involved in other similar situations. The severity of and number of officers involved in Thomas’ beating made it seem like it was not an isolated incident for these officers. Quinonez, 27 of Temecula, filed a personnel complaint against officer Kenton Hampton on July 1, 2010, so this is not a case of someone piggybacking on another’s misfortune. Coincidentally, Quinonez witnessed the confrontation that led to Thomas’ beating and eventual death.

Hampton is one of the six officers on paid (yes, paid!) administrative leave after the incident with Thomas, said Mardirossian, who died of head and neck injuries five days after his altercation with officers outside the Fullerton Transportation Center.

And if you think it’s a coincidence that Quinonez saw the altercation, he was actually on a stopped bus at the transportation center and recognized Hampton as the officer who arrested him in June of 2010. According to Mardirossian, Quinonez was falsely arrested and brutalized by this officer on June 27, 2010.

Do you feel that it’s acceptable for an officer to slam a person’s head into a wall when being arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public? We don’t, and Quinonez didn’t either, which is why he filed the personnel complaint. He also claims he was not drunk, and that Officer Hampton had been “harassing” him “a lot” when he visited downtown Fullerton with a friend, and his complaint mentioned that he was going to file a restraining order on the officer.

It’s not clear what the resolution of the complaint was, as the Fullerton city offices were closed on Friday, but according to Mardirossian, no action was taken on the complaint. Mardirossian plans to file the federal lawsuit on behalf of Quinonez, alleging that his civil rights have been violated.

Officer Hampton is named in yet another lawsuit by Mardirossian, filed on behalf of Veth Mam, a man accused of attacking a Fullerton police officer who was later acquitted. The lawsuit alleges civil rights violations, and-surprise, surprise-falsifying police reports. No wonder Mardirossian keeps filing lawsuits involving Hampton!

The current status of the six officers’ administrative sentencing is on hold, pending the Orange County District Attorney’s office receiving final reports from the coroner on the official cause of death and toxicology reports for Kelly Thomas. And, for some reason, the District Attorney’s office will not release the video to the public, which does beg the question: why not?

If you have been the victim of police harassment or violence, unlawful search and seizure, or a wrongful arrest, call the Law Offices of Glew & Kim immediately on 714-713-4525, or use our online form for a Free Case Analysis. We believe in equal access to justice for all, and we’re here to help.