It looks like MMA is back in OC, at least for the Fullerton Police Department. Chief David Hendricks and Captain Thomas Oliveras were forced to take leave and are under criminal investigation after allegedly putting a Symons Ambulance emergency medical technician (EMT) in a chokehold last Friday.
According to an unnamed source with CBS Los Angeles, Hendricks and Oliveras were watching a Lady Antebellum concert and drinking heavily at the 5 Points Amphitheatre while off duty on Friday night. Two EMT’s from Symons Ambulance responded to reports of an injured woman, who happened to be Hendricks’s wife.
When they arrived, a fight broke out. Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel described the events in a letter to Irvine’s Mayor and City Council. Hamel wrote that “upon their arrival they contacted two emergency medical technicians who alleged two men physically assaulted them while they were attempting to provide medical aid to an injured woman.”
Captain Bob Dunn will take over as acting chief while Hendricks and Oliveras are on paid administrative leave (pronounced paid vacation) for the duration of the criminal investigation. Fullerton’s new acting Chief takes over after only 7 months with the department. Dunn was a Lieutenant with the Anaheim Police Department, and was promoted to Captain when was hired in January.
The Irvine Police department will be heading the initial investigation. The Fullerton City Manager’s Office will also be conducting a separate investigation.
Kim Mohr, public information officer for the Irvine Police Department, said that it is too early to speculate on Hendricks’s motives.
So far, nobody from the Fullerton City Manager’s Office, nor the Fullerton Police Department could be reached for comment by the Weekly. However, the Fullerton Police Department did issue a press release on Twitter today titled “Fullerton Police Pedestrian Safety Enforcement.” The document doesn’t address Friday’s incident, but it did outline some interesting points. “September is safety month,” the document says, “and the Fullerton Police Department will be joining other agencies . . . to promote public awareness aimed at pedestrian safety.” The document also wishes to inform the public that pedestrians don’t have armor (or neck braces to keep them safe from choke holds). The document closes by reminding us that, “Safety goes both ways.”
Fullerton might do well to heed their own advice. A string of blogs, newspapers, and Youtubers have accused Fullerton PD of being the most corrupt police force in the country. Their accusations are not without evidence. Here’s a list of Fullerton PD’s greatest hits:
After the October 2010 unlawful arrest and beating of Sokha Leng and Veth Mam, Fullerton officers Kenton Hampton and Nyguen were caught lying under oath. Hampton was also accused of unlawfully arresting Eddie Quiñonez after Quiñonez’s father was shot dead by the department in 2008.
Read more about Hampton and why the Weekly called Fullerton PD the, “Bullies in Blue” here.
Eight months after the Mem incident, officers–including Hampton, who beat Mam–beat Kelly Thomas to death. Thomas’s July 3, 2011 death made national headlines.
In June of 2011, Officer Kelly Mejia was caught stealing an iPad in the Miami International Airport. One month later, Officer Todd Alan Major pled guilty to two involving embezzlement and theft to fuel his drug habit.
In August of 2011, Officer Alber Rincon was accused with sexually assaulting two women in the back of his cruiser.
In 2012, Corporal Vincent Mater was found guilty of destroying evidence after a man committed suicide in his cell at the Fullerton Police Department.
And, in 2016, Fullerton Police were caught trying to cover up the DUI of acting City Manager Joe Felz. Interestingly enough, Hendricks was put in charge of the Fullerton PD to clean up the image. Just an opinion, but a chokehold probably wasn’t the type of clean they were looking for.