Yesterday afternoon, the Irvine Police Department submitted its report on Fullerton Police Chief David Hendricks’s alleged choking of a Symons Ambulance emergency medical technician (EMT) to the OC District Attorney’s (OCDA) office. Now it is up to the OCDA’s office to decide whether or not to press charges against Hendricks and Fullerton Police Captain Thomas Oliveras, who are accused of assaulting two EMT’s at a Lady Antebellum concert in Irvine last Friday night.
An on-scene investigation by the Irvine PD found that the EMT’s became involved in an altercation with Hendricks and Oliveras while they were treating Hendricks’s wife. According to an anonymous source, Hendricks threw one EMT into a chokehold.
Investigators are still looking for a video of the event, and have requested that any video be shared with the OCDA’s office and the Irvine PD. Oliveras and Hendricks are on paid administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.
The question now is whether the OCDA will find sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal indictment against the two officers. Answers may be found in two other cases where the DA indicted members of Fullerton PD.
In 2011, the OCDA charged former Fullerton Police Officer Manuel Ramos with second-degree murder and manslaughter for taking part in the beating death of Kelly Thomas. Former Fullerton PD Cpl. Jay Cicinelli was also charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony excessive force in the incident. Although Ramos and Cicinelli were found not guilty, the city paid the Thomas family $4.9 million for their misconduct. The indictment of Ramos marked the first time in OC history when an officer faced murder charges for actions that occured while on-duty.
In 2017, the OCDA charged former Fullerton Police Officer Miguel Silicio with falsifying a police report. Silicio falsely accused a man with resisting arrest, and subsequently shoved him in a Downtown Fullerton crosswalk. Body camera footage revealed Silicio’s report was false, and Silicio pled guilty to the lesser charge of misdemeanor battery in 2018.
The OCDA’s office has charged members of Fullerton PD before, and always after there was overwhelming evidence against the officers. Both the Silicio and Ramos cases were swung by video evidence; and it seems safe to assume that criminal indictments against Hendricks and Oliveras are unlikely without undeniable proof that could outrage the public. Irvine PD hasn’t released witness testimony of the incident, but any witnesses are encouraged to come forward.