City-Funded Investigation Of Kelly Thomas Beating Has Finally, And 'Officially,' Started

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Michael Gennaco
The city-funded investigation of Kelly Thomas' beating death at the hands of Fullerton cops has finally started. 

Michael Gennaco, who was hired by the Fullerton City Council in August to investigate both the July 5 beating and the police department's overall "practices and procedures," told the Weekly that he started to delve into the investigative process this week.

Although he had already begun his investigation of the department as a whole, Gennaco was holding off on investigating Thomas' death until after the district attorney's office finished its investigation in late September.

On Friday, Gennaco picked up the DA's report, which he called "a big hunking thing," adding that he's currently "in the middle of it." 

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Marisa Gerber/ OCWeekly
At an Oct. 4 meeting in Fullerton, Michael Gennaco tells the city council that he's still waiting on the DA's report.
While the investigation has now "officially" started, Gennaco says he'll still be in the "review process" for a few days. Once he's sifted through all of the information in the report, he plans to make a list of additional witnesses and chart out an interview schedule. 

One of the main things Gennaco plans to do that the DA didn't is interview the officers involved in Thomas' beating. Those interviews will probably come at the tail end of his investigation, Gennaco says. Asked if the officers could deny to be interviewed, Gennaco said, "Well, not really. They can be compelled to cooperate. It's different than for the DA." 

He's also still in the process of formulating a list of recommendations for how the department could better function. Gennaco, who runs Los Angeles County's office of independent review, said that after his work in LA, "The Fullerton Thing" is his "second most important focus," adding that he has a team of four people to help him. 

Per the contract, Gennaco has a $260 hourly rate, and the city anticipates paying him between $70,000 and $80,000 for the combined costs of the two investigations. 

Councilman Bruce Whitaker, the only member of the five-person city council who voted against hiring Gennaco, because he anticipated a long delay before the investigation started, told the Weekly he's glad the ball is finally rolling. "We've been waiting a long time," Whitaker said, adding that he found it "very disturbing" to watch "business as usual" continue in the city after Thomas' death.


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Doppleganger
Doppleganger

Fullerton to Department of Justice. Do you hear us? Justice! For Kelly and all the other victims.

pete
pete

Hey, I'm willing to investigate for $150.00 per hour.  give me a call.

murmur55
murmur55

I've already done the investigation, for free: Kelly Thomas was killed due to restraint asphyxia after being suffocated by the full weight of multiple officers and forceful maintenance of a lethal position. This is a well-known mechanism of death; every DA has experience investigating cases of positional asphyxia, restraint asphyxia, suffocation and strangulation. To not charge the Fulleron 6 with manslaughter or negligent homicide is a crime.

Justice4Zac
Justice4Zac

Credibility comes with consistency. Gennaco was asked by Supervisor Yaroslavsky to ensure that the investigation into the killing of Zachary Champommier by plainclothes members of a "multijurisdictional task force" consisting of DEA, LA County Sheriffs, LAPD, and others, was conducted properly. Apparently Gennaco swallowed the "official story" hook, line, and sinker believing that DEA agent Peter Lopresti acted reasonably when he killed Zac from the absolutely safe position of facing Zac's driver's side door under the claim that he "feared for his life" as Zac's car had somehow become a "deadly weapon". The right to use deadly force must be reasonable under the circumstances. It must be lockstep with the threat of imminent serious bodily injury or death. All Zac's family and friends simply ask is that Gennaco, Sheriff Lee Baca, and LA District Attorney Steve Cooley get behind the wheel of a Toyota Corolla and try and take out someone in Lopresti's position with the car. It can't be done from that physical arrangement. Thus, a physical impossibility nullifies any justification Lopresti can reasonably claim. Therefore, Gennaco has utterly failed in his duty to the victim. A killer walks around a free man while an 18 year old honors student remains dead. Nice work Gennaco. We all feel safer with you on the case.

Alice
Alice

Did Gennaco recommemd any policy or procedural changes to prevent this from happening again?

Shackdaddy
Shackdaddy

The "Drug Task Force " acted like a gang of thugs that night, not officers of law. We will have our day in court. LA county should hold its head in shame.

Decent_American
Decent_American

Michael Gennaco has done a bang up job of keeping the Los Angeles Sheriff's department in line, I'm sure his impotence will shine through in Fullerton too. Gennaco is a master at hand wringing and spouting legalese platitudes; but when it comes to holding cops accountable for their actions, Gennaco is a total FAILURE - except when it comes to lining his own pockets with government money!  

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