Let’s set the tone before we begin.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalieable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness . . . But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Steve Baxter has thrown down a gauntlet, and he’s done so right in front of the election.
Will the council pick it up? Will they act to affect change and demonstrate a plan of action to restore trust in the Fullerton Police Department?
Will they reject Baxter’s Plan and nominate their own? Will they do nothing?
Regardless of how you feel about Baxter’s letter and attached resolution below, consider that there’s a giant chasm between July 4, 2011 and November 6, 2012. The city is broken, it’s electorate is fractured, and there is absolutely no plan provided by leadership that proposes to build a bridge from last summer to tomorrow.
Here’s a plan. Don’t like it? Let’s see your alternative.
(Also, do what the man with the gun and badge says. If I get one apologist who takes advantage of this statement . . . so help me . . . )
Dear Madam Mayor & Council Members,
We cannot pretend that Fullerton is serious about reform when those involved in the murder of Kelly Thomas, the illegal arrest and imprisonment of Veth Mam, and the many other documented cases of police misconduct, are still employed by FPD. We contend that you as our representatives at city hall, now being fully aware of the extent of misconduct by certain officers, that it is your duty above all else to protect the citizens of Fullerton, including those that may now feel targeted because of their public involvement in seeking justice for Kelly Thomas. There will be members of the community who will not comply to the orders of Officer Kenton Hampton, Sgt. Kevin Craig and Cpl. James Blatney, as they feel that these officers do not hold any moral authority over them. This reality puts all residents and peace officers in danger, and makes any contact by these men with the general public unwise. The adoption of the attached resolution by you, and the eventually firing of any officer who cannot live up to the ideals of a post Kelly Thomas Fullerton Police Department, will not only benefit all residents of Fullerton, but it shall restore public faith in the department itself. In doing so you will stimulate public trust to the benefit to those other officers who have always conducted themselves professionally. Professional officers with good intentions deserve to work in an environment which is free of the stigma that the continued employment of these accomplices in a taped public execution places on the entire department.
Only by publically setting standards for peace officers which embody excellence in public service and respect for all Fullerton citizens, and by demanding the termination of all those who represent the worst of FPD’s past, can we move forward with confidently that reform and change has resulted from the tragic murder of Fullerton resident Kelly Thomas on July 5th, 2011. The city attorney, while perhaps well intentioned, has an established propensity to filter his advise through the fear that one of these subpar officers may litigate on grounds of wrongful termination. We advise this council to also consider what may result if any of the officers in question, who have now returned to active duty, are again involved the death or injury of one of our citizens. Prudence dictates that they must be removed before they are given another opportunity to harm the public and burden the city with additional million dollar settlements.
Civility and healing will come to Fullerton when our leaders are responsive to the public and we are not required to pry every hint of justice that this case has brought forth over the last 14 month from the clinched fists of a stubborn leadership at city hall, the DA’s office or FPD. Today we present you with yet another opportunity to partner with us in seeking justice. We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity.
Respectfully submitted by
Stephan Baxter, Fullerton CA