04/04/2001

2 Calif. officers sue city; Officers say officials pressured them into naming their source

By Bill Rams, The Orange County Register
March 29, 2001, Thursday
Copyright 2001 Orange County Register
The Orange County Register
March 29, 2001, Thursday

(FULLERTON, Fla.) - Two Fullerton police union members have accused a police captain, the police chief and city manager of coercing them into telling them who complained that a councilwoman allegedly no longer lived in the city.

In a lawsuit filed Monday, officers Andrew Goodrich and John Cross allege that top city officials violated their freedom of speech.

Doing so, they allege, has had and continues to have a chilling effect on the FPOA (Fullerton Police Officer's Association) and its individual members' right to engage in constitutionally protected expression and activity.''

Kimberly Hall Barlow, the city's attorney, declined comment on behalf of city officials because, she said, they haven't seen a copy of the lawsuit.

At issue was the residence of then-councilwoman Julie Sa. Goodrich and Cross say in the suit that they went to City Manager James L. Armstrong to report that Sa no longer lived in the city, which could be a violation of law.

They presented documents showing Sa didn't live in the city, the lawsuit contends.

Capt. Ron Rowell allegedly called Goodrich at home and insisted on knowing whether then-City Council candidate Michael Clesceri -- the deputy chief of investigations for the Orange County District Attorney's Office -- or somebody working on his campaign was behind the leak.

Under an allegedly inappropriate threat of disciplinary action, Goodrich gave up his source, the lawsuit says.

But the source isn't identified in the lawsuit and his lawyer, Devonne Midson, declined to identify the source in an interview.

Clesceri, who won a seat on the council in November, has refused to comment on whether he was involved. But Clesceri has admitted involvement to political ally state Sen. Dick Ackerman, R-Fullerton, Ackerman said in an interview.

The attorney general is investigating Sa's residency.

Full story: ...

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