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2nd man claims Fullerton officer used violence

September 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man who says he had a violent encounter with a Fullerton police officer is speaking out. He says he witnessed the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas and he's had a run-in with one of the officers who was at the scene.

Attorney Garo Mardirossian held up a picture of Fullerton Police Officer Kenton Hampton Friday. He says the officer has a history of brutality on the streets. He presented a person who allegedly was beaten by Hampton.

"[Hampton] has got a hot temper, he's large in stature, and that's a very, very deadly combination to have as a peace officer with a badge, a gun, a Taser," said Mardirossian.

Eddie Quinonez says in June 2010 he happened to see Hampton give someone a ticket. He claims he was about 20 feet away when Hampton came up to him and harassed him and then arrested him, claiming he was drunk in public.

"He threw handcuffs on me, and he actually slammed my head up against the wall and applied pressure to my head, which was allowing for my head to hurt even more, so that's why, when I got to the police station, I requested for medical assistance, because my head was hurting really bad," said Quinonez.

Mardirossian claims Hampton is the lead officer involved in the violent clash on July 5 that left Kelly Thomas dead. Thomas was a mentally ill homeless man.

"They need to make an example out of this man. They need to do something about him. He's out there brutalizing people," said Ron Thomas, Kelly Thomas's father. Ron Thomas is a former Orange County sheriff's deputy.

Coincidentally, Quinonez claims he happened to be a witness in the police confrontation of Kelly Thomas. He says he saw Hampton and was interviewed about it by Fullerton detectives.

"I seen Officer Hampton running around the cars. And from my knowledge, I saw that he was the first one that ignited the whole beating process," said Quinonez.

This comes after another man, Veth Mam, also claimed he was struck and falsely arrested by Officer Hampton in October 2010. A jury found Mam not guilty.

The charges of being drunk in public against Quinonez were dropped, according to his attorney, after tests showed he had no alcohol in his system.

Quinonez then filed a complaint against the officer.

Friday, Fullerton Police Sgt. Andrew Goodrich released a statement, saying: "I can confirm that Quinonez was arrested by Officer Hampton for being drunk in public in 2010. A personnel complaint was filed and a formal investigation was completed."

Mardirossian says as far as he knows the complaint went nowhere.

"It was like this complaint isn't worth the paper it's written on, because they're not going to do anything about it," said Mardirossian.

That has Ron Thomas outraged.

"If they had done something at that time, this man would not have been beating my son to death," said Thomas.

Fullerton police have not confirmed the identities of six officers involved in the Kelly Thomas beating. The officers are on paid administrative leave.

The coroner's report has not yet been released indicating Thomas's cause of

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