"Kelly Thomas is Like Our Orange County Rodney King:" OC Supervisor Todd Spitzer

Spitzer
For the second time, Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer could not muster up enough votes from his board colleagues to pass an ordinance that would hold adults accountable for underage drinking on their property. But Spitzer is not blaming his fellow Supes for Tuesday's rejection, he's blaming you of little faith in law enforcement, something that came to a head (sorry) with the police beating death of homeless soul Kelly Thomas.

"Kelly Thomas is like our Orange County Rodney King," Spitzer explained. "That did not help this debate."

He's got a point. Defense attorney John Barnett, who is representing Manuel Ramos, the fired Fullerton cop accused of murdering Thomas, represented LAPD Officer Theodore Briseno in the King case.

And when it comes to demographics, if Orange County was to have a Rodney King, it makes sense he would not be African American, although you'd think he would have a Hispanic surname.

Skin color and Orange County-based cop defenders are not what made former cop and prosecutor Spitzer compare King and Kelly (R.I.P. to both).

"It's very fashionable now to be anti-police," Spitzer remarked to a City News Service reporter after the Board of Supervisors meeting in Santa Ana. "... I think in a weird way that was a significant influence" in defeating his so-called Social Host Ordinance.

He added he does not believe his fellow board members are anti-cop. One actually sounded more tea baggy in her rationale for no one seconding Spitzer's motion for the kind of law that is in place in 30 states and more than 100 California cities, including Orange, Irvine, La Habra, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, Garden Grove and Huntington Beach.

Supervisor Patricia Bates, while praising Spitzer's "passion" for stemming underage boozing, said many of her constituents are concerned about "government infringing on their rights." She advocated more public education to build support for a Social Host Ordinance.

As for Spitzer, he is now prepared to take a page from his arch enemy District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (who fired then-prosecutor Spitzer). After the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance Rackauckas co-authored to bar registered sex offenders from county parks and recreational areas, the DA went city to city in Orange County to lobby for local ordinances modeled after the county's Child Safety Zones law.

Spitzer tells City News Service he will take his case to each city in the county for his Social Host Ordinance, which would subject a first-time offender to a $750 fine and misdemeanor charges to repeat offenders.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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21 comments
tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

The cops approached Kelly Thomas and instigated the assault without evidence. Ramos attacked Thomas the video shows him accosting Thomas.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Supervisor Patricia Bates, while praising Spitzer's "passion" for stemming underage boozing, said many of her constituents are concerned about "government infringing on their rights." She advocated more public education to build support for a Social Host Ordinance.

Time to show Spitzer the Bill of Rights, tell him to read them carefully.

And it's a funny thing that Spitzer and his office workers a few months ago never showed up at a job fair hosted by him at the Hyatt Regency on the 405 freeway (the table for OC was EMPTY) 50 employers there and not one of them contacted me back after applying online and after me being there in person. Some of them dropped out.

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

"It's very fashionable now to be anti-police," Spitzer remarked to a City News Service reporter after the Board of Supervisors meeting in Santa Ana.

Dear Mr. Spitzer, politically speaking this sort of clueless comment on your part will one day make you look extremely out of touch with the reality of your law enforcement community. Similar to the comments from the boys of IBM and Xerox who said this personal computer thing would go nowhere.

Good luck.

Keenan Roberts
Keenan Roberts

Hey you idiots, stop comparing the two cases. They were both beaten needlessly. And now neither is no longer with is. Stop all the but he did this and he was only doing this. It sounds like some of you are trying to say one was justified and one wasn't. Some of you people amaze me.

Fallen Angels Evnts
Fallen Angels Evnts

no one deserves to be beaten to death.. It would be a miracle if anyone would survive having their face bashed in with blunt objects as you drown in ur own blood from internal bleeding. a defenseless weaken homeless person is no match for an obese heavily armed asshole much less a gang heavily armed assholes.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

diane, if you were a Cop, then you know the complexity of using Contributing To The Delinquency of a Minor (CDM) laws and the reluctance of the District Attorney to file such Cases.  When it comes to the "Turkey Shoot," CDM cases just don't merit the time and get dumped right off.  With the Social Host Ordinance, it sounds like it would have been an Infraction with a $175. fine which would not have gone to the D.A.  On repeat instances, it would then be a misdemeanor and that puts it back in the "Turkey Shoot" arena. The Social Host Ordinance provided no additional lattitude in establishing elements of the offense other than those already existing. As you also know, Cops don't just show up at someone's door because we think a few people are kicking back with their Bud Lites.  It is generally a loud and large party and the neighbors are upset and wanting action.  As such, the civil liberties whiners are merely rationalizing their anti-government positions.  In some cases they are right, but not this one which directly impacts the safety and well being of juveniles.  

Rick Hale
Rick Hale

Except Rodney King led police on a high speed chase while high on PCP. This doesn't excuse the beating he got but it kind of explains how it went down. Thomas did nothing.

Eugene W Fields
Eugene W Fields

That's a generalization. I understand the sentiment, but disagree in principle. I grew up in South Central LA and it was a different climate. Issues of police brutality had been undealt with for years in Los Angeles. The King beating was caught on camera - just like Kelly Thomas. However, the difference between the incidents is/was what happened afterward. The defendants in the Kelly Thomas case are not being tried in LA County or in Newport Beach. If acquitted, one would presume there will not be widespread violence, looting and destruction of Fullerton. One of the outcomes of the King case - and others- was that many more agencies began to put cameras in police cars and on officers. The lessons here are: there is still discrimination based on race, creed and culture from.people who have a duty to protect society. Also, more needs to be done to serve the homeless - many of whom are mentally ill. The Kelly Thomas case should not be a used as a footnote for rhetoric. Like the King case, this is an.opportunity for both government and community to effect a positive change.

Stephen Baca
Stephen Baca

Theres no relation here Kelley Thomas was handicapped force ahouls be kept to a minimum. Police are provides with mace and clubs to subdue people not kill people.

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

Bad taste evoking Kelly Thomas in this situation. Hyperbole much?

Gabriel Torres
Gabriel Torres

Wow King was high as fuck. Kelly was just sleeping

Steven Gray
Steven Gray

Rodney King wasn't murdered like this poor man

spencerj05
spencerj05

What rights are they worried about infringing upon? The right to get underage kids drunk?


Not sure that one's in the Bill of Rights...

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

@ltpar: On January 1st 2013, 20,000 new laws went into effect and it is a known impossibility that any one man including any cops could possibly remember or enforce that many new laws. It is a physical and mental impossibility and improbability. Who writes the laws but men, they do not come out of invisible air.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

Yeah and I saw a man bite an aluminum bar with his teeth in Texas once while on that crap called PCP. It fries the brain.

dianegoldstein
dianegoldstein

@spencerj05 Actually Spencer take a look at the 4th amendment to start. And from a law enforcement perspective (since I spent a career as a cop) we already have laws covering this. It's called contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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