Skip to comments.Fullerton Bar Owner Denies False Report[to police] Led To Homeless Manís Death
Posted on 06/12/2012 6:21:16 PM PDT by BenLurkin
FULLERTON (CBS) A former rocker and current owner of a bar in Fullerton denied allegations on Tuesday that a false police report was filed from his bar where a fatal confrontation between police officers and a homeless man took place.
KNX 1070′s Mike Landa reports a crowd of demonstrators greeted Jeremy Popoff, the owner of the Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen, as he addressed a recently filed wrongful termination lawsuit.
Anyone that goes and spends money at the Slidebar has the blood of Kelly Thomas on their hands! shouted one protester outside the bar where Popoff denied allegations that manager Jeanette DeMarco called police the night schizophrenic transient Kelly Thomas was involved in an arrest that led to his death and falsely claimed Thomas was trying to break into cars.
The lawsuit (PDF) was filed in Orange County Superior Court on June 8 on behalf of former security guard Michael Reeves, who alleges that Popoff a former guitarist for the pop band Lit that scored a 1999 hit with the song My Own Worst Enemy was obsessed with Slidebars image and that homeless people had no place in his vision for the bar.
But attorney Eric Durbin said that while Popoffs hearts broken like everybody elses is, he rejected any claim that his client was responsible for Thomas death.
Jeremy and Slidebar had nothing to do with what happened to Mr. Thomas that night, and if something wrong happened that night, itll come out at trial, said Durbin.
Popoff himself said he denies any wrongdoing or that hes seeking any wayward publicity.
Im embarrassed that yall are here right now, he said. I feel like somehow Im getting on TV because of something horrible that happened and I would never, ever want that.
Thomas father Ron said he believes the call was exaggerated in an attempt to remove his son from outside the bar.
If it was just a loitering call, then its like, Yeah, okay, Ill make him stop standing there, said Thomas.
But when an officer hears crime in progress kind of thing, they have to have a little more heightened awareness about them and handle things a little bit differently.
According to the lawsuit, Thomas would frequent the bar and even came in once when someone offered to buy him food. On July 5, 2011, the night Thomas had his confrontation with six Fullerton police officers, Thomas was picking up cigarettes in the parking lot of Slidebar, not trying to break into cars at the Fullerton Transportation Center across the street, Reeves alleges in the lawsuit.
DeMarco told Reeves, who was working the bars front door, that she saw Thomas in the parking lot and that she was going to take care of this, the lawsuit alleges.
Mr. Reeves asked her not to call the police and explained that Kelly Thomas was only picking up cigarette butts and would move on in a couple minutes like he always does, the lawsuit alleges.
To his disbelief, Mr. Reeves then heard Jeanette DeMarco make a knowingly false report to the Fullerton police dispatcher that `Kelly Thomas is in the parking lot breaking into cars, the lawsuit alleges. Though normally happy to keep his head down, Mr. Reeves could not tolerate Jeanette DeMarcos blatantly false statement, and he told her that what she had just done was wrong.
Officers Manuel Ramos and Joe Wolfe were the first to respond. While Wolfe went through Thomas backpack, where he found mail addressed to an attorney, Ramos and Thomas got into an at-times sarcastic exchange that ultimately led to the deadly confrontation when Thomas tried to get away from the officers.
Thomas was hospitalized and was taken off life support five days later.
Ramos was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, while Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, who arrived at the scene later, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force.
Attorney Eric Dubin, who represents Popoff, denied Reeves allegations.
Theyre completely false and fabricated, Dubin said. He (Reeves) never mentioned this to the district attorney or in his termination hearing. Its only now that Jeremy has a new album coming out and that Kelly Thomas is in the news.
Lit is releasing its album The View from the Bottom next Tuesday, its first since 2004.
Dubin accused Reeves of demanding money from Popoff before filing the lawsuit.
They came at us with a money demand or else, so we contacted the FBI, Dubin said, adding that Popoff is considering a countersuit.
Were absolutely thinking about malicious prosecution and any other legal remedy we can find, Dubin said.
Popoff is very hurt by these allegations and he finds it appalling someone would try to capitalize on tragedy, Dubin said.
Reeves was fired because he got into a confrontation with a manager in front of customers, Dubin said.
He was letting girls in through the side door who had already been evicted and the manager confronted him about it, Dubin said.
Reeves alleges in the lawsuit that he let three women back into the club because they had wristbands on that were given to them for the live show that night. The women said they had gone back to their cars to drop off their purses and Reeves stated it was common to let women who did that come back into the bar if they had wristbands on.
Attorneys Stephen Jamieson and Stephen Solomon, who represent Reeves, denied Dubins allegations.
We dont know anything about his (Popoffs) new album, Solomon said. But his (Dubins) statements are totally untrue.
Reeves did tell his employer and prosecutors about the 911 call, Solomon said.
He talked to his employer, he made known his views and he was told to keep it to himself by his employers, Solomon said.
This entire incident is an American tragedy. He ultimately got fired for simply telling the truth, he said.
After Thomas death started making news, Slidebars managers attempted to put a lid on the business role, Solomon said.
I don’t think anyone is blaming Officer Ramos’s parents. He’s definitely responsible for his own actions. But there were a lot of other cops there that night who could have stopped him.
That eatery is right across the street from my church.
Yes, cops DO overreact, I've been on the bottom of that pile.
Notice that there is no mention of what force was used or why the guy was hospitalized(?)
My money is still on the bouncer's trying to turn a buck on a tragedy for all (others) concerned.
Being that psychotic, he should have been institutionalized before being accepted as a policeman.
The man was subdued, non resistive and they pummeled him to death, anything else is distractive BS.
These cops deserve 30 days in the yard, with the video tape played prior to their arrival.
What you consider “distractive BS”, I consider material to possible charges against other, as yet unnamed,unindicted co-conspirators.
Or, this narrative may be just another lie.
I see no possible excuse for the brutal police action in the beating “under cover of law” to death of Kelly Davis.
That Kelly Davis was mentally ill is immaterial.
That Kelly Davis was homeless is immaterial.
Your statement of:
“These cops deserve 30 days in the yard, with the video tape played prior to their arrival.”
Is not only immaterial, it is extremely offensive and counter productive to the justice Kelly Thomas deserves.
I saw the videos, and Kelly Thomas appeared incapable of “resisting arrest” fairly quickly in the assault he endured at the hands of the police.
I am glad the cops were charged with his murder.
Absent additional facts, it looks pretty clear they deserve the charges, and the punishment for murder.
I guess you and I differ on who punishes them for their crime.
Well, first of all, he was schizophrenic, not psychotic, and second of all, we have no idea if the family had any control over it. Thomas was an adult, and you can’t restrain an adult from doing what they please without some legal authority, even if they are nuts. So, unless he was mentally incompetent enough that they still had legal guardianship, or he was dangerous enough that they could get him legally committed, what could they do?