In the Dusk of Sunset


root - Posted on 31 December 1969

Glen Fuller died in a chokehold administered by the Tenderloin Task Force (SFPD) The circumstances of his death suggest police wrongdoing.

by Kaponda

Walking home from work in the dusk of sunset, I paused to savor the brilliance in the window of the store. My thoughts were eclipsed by the glitter from the polished stone. Its reflection was cast upon the windowpane of the Los Angeles retailer of jewelry. As I pondered a payment plan to secure the impressive prize, I was flanked by the shadows of two towering figures.

“What are you doing?” asked one of the two policemen of the Los Angeles Police Department.

I had known that one of the criterion for eligibility as a policeman in Los Angeles was that a person must have very good vision, so I was startled that two policemen, who were trained to observe the most minute details, would asked me what I was doing. I responded “I am looking at the diamond ring in the window,” to faces that had suddenly become writhed with anger.

As I rode handcuffed in the back of the black-and-white police car, I had wondered about their intent and my destination. As we approached the police station on Santa Barbara, the car veered into the sally port and came to a halt. The two cops directed me to a cell in the basement of the Santa Barbara Police Station

The cell door was barely ajar when I was placed in a throttlehold by one of the officers who appeared very comfortable with my neck in his lethal grip. I had become dazzled by a spectrum of dancing lights as I foundered into a momentary loss consciousness. When I awakened on that day in 1977, the inmates who witnessed the brutality asked me if I needed witnesses?

As I discovered in Los Angeles in 1977, and as many people have echoed since that time, people of color are viewed as potential enemies by law enforcement agencies in the State of California. African Americans, for example, make up only seven percent of the population of California, but comprise over 30 percent of the California prison population.

On Friday, March 2, 2001, the fate of Glenn Arlester Fullard, a man of color, was placed in the care of the San Francisco Police Department. Mr. Fullard had ventured to the newly constructed Tenderloin Police Station, located at 301 Eddy Street, for reasons that were undetermined. The truth of the events that transpired after Mr. Fullard arrived at the community police station will probably always remain with his soul and the cops whom he had engaged.

The circumstances that swirl around the conflict between the cops at the Tenderloin Police Station and Mr. Fullard suggest wrongdoing on the part of the police. The one detail that is indisputable and is documented is that on Friday, March 2, 2001, Mr. Glenn Fullard was placed in a throttlehold by police and died of affixiation.

According to Inspector Michael Johnson of the San Francisco Homicide Division, who has taken charge of the investigation into the circumstances of Glenn Fullard’s death, Glenn Fullard had mumbled words to police as his spirit flickered in the stark grasp of their stranglehold. The police, however, did not know what Glenn Fullard had attempted to tell them.

I asked Curtis Fullard, the younger brother of the late Glenn Fullard, what did he think his brother had attempted to get the police to hear?

“I do not know exactly what happened. My family and I want to know what happened. Our only source of information is based on an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.,” referring to a scant article by Jaxon Van Derbeken, published two days after the death of Glenn Fullard. “My brother had no history of seizures, so I cannot understand why his tongue was missing,” continued a very emotional Curtis Fullard. “My family is not saying that the police killed him. But I am saying that something is wrong when a man dies in the arms of police, and he has a missing tongue and puncture in the back of his head.”

Inspector Johnson talked with the Copy Editor of the San Francisco Bayview Newspaper concerning the death of Glenn Fullard. The editor asked had there been police brutality or murder? He told the editor that the death of Glenn Fullard had not been caused by any misconduct by police, according to his investigation.

I asked Inspector Maureen D’amico, who also has information into the investigation of the death of the 41-year-old man, Glenn Fullard, how did Glenn Fullard lose his tongue?

“His tongue is not missing!” Inspector D’amico stated with a resounding certainty. I then asked Inspector D’amico about the status of the investigation, particularly, whether it had been completed?

According to Inspector D’amico, the investigation had not been completed. I asked Inspector D’amico, if the investigation into the death of Glenn Fullard had not been completed, then how was Inspector Johnson able to say to my editor that the death of Glenn Fullard “had not been caused by any misconduct by police?”

Inspector D’amico responded by telling me that “part of the investigation had been completed.” I knew that either the investigation was complete or incomplete, and so I asked Inspector D’amico to clarify that answer?

Inspector D’amico continued by stating that, “there was no visual trauma to the body of Glenn Fullard, and since there was no visual trauma, then Inspector Johnson could state that no police misconduct had occurred. Furthermore,” stated Inspector D’amico, “the investigation has been turned inwardly, and the Homicide Department is awaiting a toxicology report to determine the exact medical cause of death.”

The duplicitous explanation given by Inspector D’amico is more than reason for the bereaved family to wonder whether the last words of the beloved of whom they have been bereft will continue to be squashed by San Francisco law enforcement agents?

Most people I spoke with, contrary to the expert analyses of the members of the Homicide Department, thought that the hole in the occiput region of the body of Glenn Fullard, along with the multitude of bruises on his body, did constitute “visual trauma,” and did suggest that a cloud of suspicion hovers over the crushed life of the main who was jailed in grips of a throttlehole.

Mr. Glenn Fullard was recognized in his community as a hardscrabble laborer. He was employed by Super Shuttle Airport Service during the time of his death. I contacted Simon Kasada, who also is employed at Super Shuttle Airport Service, to asked about the character and reputation of Glenn Fullard at work?

“Glenn Fullard was employed at Super Shuttle about two years. We were saddened by his death. We heard that he was beating on the door of the police station. The cops came out and began to push him around. He was put in a choke hold. He was forced to the ground. They proceeded to choke him until he passed out. They had their knee in his back, and he died of affixiation,” stated Kasada.

I spoke briefly with Mrs. Verlie Tatum. She was overcome with grief and simply stated that “I think that he was killed. Beating on the walls appears to me as though he was asking for help.”

The truth of the death of Mr. Glenn Arlester Fullard has to surface not only to bring closure to his family, but because his death has been contested by the carrier of his life insurance policy. Mr. Fullard has not been interred because the insurance company has based its decision to contest his death on information provided it by the San Francisco Police Department.

According to Curtis Fullard, “We went to the Records Department at police headquarters to obtain a copy of the Police Report. But we were unable to obtain a copy, according to the person in Records, because the case was still under investigation.”

The other questions that Curtis Fullard asked me concerning the many unanswered questions over the death of his brother, raised even more suspicion.

“Why wasn’t the family notified until Saturday evening? He had his drivers’ license and every single piece of identification in his wallet,” stated the younger brother of Glenn Fullard. He continued by stating that, “I am not saying the police killed Glenn, but I am asking what happened? This whole thing is crazy. We got a dead brother who died in the custody of police. He was in the coroner’s office for more than one week after he died. The police department did not ask anyone to identify the body of my brother.”

Mr. Glenn Arlester Fullard was born on March 14, 1959, in San Francisco, California. He attended Woodrow Wilson High School. He was a self-sufficient person and a former singer with the men’s choir in his church.

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