FULLERTON, Calif. (KTLA) -- A former employee of a restaurant in Fullerton has filed a lawsuit claiming that a manager falsely reported that Kelly Thomas breaking into cars, setting in motion the events that ultimately led to the homeless man's death.
Michael Reeves, who worked as a doorman at the Slidebar, says he was wrongfully terminated for refusing to tow the establishment line that, "Slidebar had nothing to do with Kelly Thomas's death."
Thomas, 37, was often seen in the parking lot near the restaurant, either picking up cigarette butts or watching one of the big screen TVs on the patio, according to Reeves.
"The first few times Slidebar's managers followed Jeremy Popoff's instructions and called the police on Kelly Thomas, the managers reported that Kelly Thomas was loitering," the suit says.
The police would show up about 30 minutes later and ask Thomas to move along if he was still in the area.
But Popoff wasn't satisfied with how long it too officers to respond, the suit says, so he told managers to "do whatever it takes" to keep Thomas away.
That's what manager Jeanette DeMarco was doing on the night of July 5, Reeves says, when she called police and reported that Thomas was in the parking lot breaking into cars.
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." Though normally happy to keep his head down, MR. REEVES could not tolerate JEANETTE DeMARCO's blatantly false statement, and he told her that what she had just done was wrong: she had just made a false report about Kelly Thomas to the police. 20. At or around 8:20 p.m., within minutes of JEANETTE DeMARCO's false report to the Fullerton Police Dispatcher, four cars from the Fullerton Police Department responded to the report of a crime in progress in the parking lot near SLIDEBAR. Believing that Kelly Thomas was breaking into cars, the police officers attempted to arrest Kelly Thomas and began shooting him with a stun gun when he resisted. The officers' confusion, based on JEANETTE DeMARCO's false report, gave way to greater confusion and ended only after it was already too late. The officers beat Kelly Thomas into a coma, and he was rushed to the hospital at the University of California, Irvine. 21. Kelly Thomas died in the hospital at UC Irvine on July 10, 2011, five days after Fullerton Police responded to the false police report made by JEANETTE DeMARCO and authorized and/or ratified by JEREMY POPOFF and SLIDEBAR
Thomas, a homeless man who suffered from schizophrenia, died following the confrontation with Fullerton police officers that ensued.
awsuit has been filed alleging that the owner of a bar in Fullerton had his manager make a false police report about Kelly Thomas breaking into cars, which ultimately led to Thomas' death.
Now that a lawsuit has been filed alleging that the owner of the SlideBar in Fullerton had his manager make a false report to the Fullerton Police Department (that led to Kelly's murder), we will be protesting the SlideBar in Fullerton starting at 12:00pm today.
This is a copy of a lawsuit that is being filed today on behalf of an employee of the SlideBar in Fullerton, who was fired after reporting another employee was instructed to call police and falsely report Kelly Thomas was burglarizing cars as a ruse to get police to remove him.