John Brumbaugh Appears Again Before Council to Plead His Case
We live in a sometimes bleak and dark world. Not every wrong can be righted and justice does not always prevail. If he is telling the truth, then probably not many understand the reality of those statements as well as John Brumbaugh. I say if he is telling the truth, because his is one of those stories that is almost too hard to believe. By all accounts, John should have given up on his now 16 year quest summarized here years ago. Surely he must realize it’s a losing cause – a wasted effort. I’m sure some would say, and probably many have. It’s time to pack it in. Go home, move on. It’s not worth it. Yet, despite the impractical odds, notwithstanding numerous setbacks, and with only the slightest glimmer of hope, there was John Brumbaugh appearing before the Council last night to plead his case one more time. Amazingly, he has not given up.
Given the above, John might be either a self-delusional borderline psychopath bent on creating havoc for perceived wrongs or a tragic victim that has shown incredible grit and perseverance in the face of injustice. Many that know him well will testify it’s the latter.
In his carefully worded statement he laid out startling allegations asserting that the Council was “lied to by your police department,” and that the City had been “duped into wasting over ½ million dollars of the tax payers money defending an illegal, unethical, and out of policy investigation.” He also questioned whether the Torrance Police Department has violated California Penal Code section 832.5 for failing to investigate his complaint.
His story is a complicated one with many twists and turns interwoven over the past 16 years, but the ultimate question he is posing before the Council is actually quite simple. A background investigation conducted on his behalf by the Torrance Police Department (TPD) to evaluate his fitness for reinstatement to duty was either conducted in an unbiased manner in accordance with policy and procedure or it wasn’t. It’s really that straightforward.
All John wants now, the only justice that he seeks, is that the background investigation be reviewed by an independent investigator with the findings presented to the Council. John continues to be so confident in his position that he reiterated that he would reimburse the City all of the money they have spent litigating his case (~600K) if the independent investigation did not reveal blatant violations of POST [Police Officer Standards and Training] and investigative protocols that he believes it will.
Given those terms, as John stated in his address, “even if the TPD is not required to investigate the matter, why wouldn’t they?” If there was incompetence or wrongdoing wouldn’t the Council want to know? At the very least, wouldn’t they want to know if the decision made by the previous Council not to reinstate him was based on inaccurate information? If the fate of a veteran and former police officer was in your hands, wouldn’t you want to be confident that information made available to you upon which you relied to make your decision was not unduly filtered?
Call me a bleeding heart, but I tend to be slightly deferential toward someone like John who as a veteran and police officer has given many years of service to our country and our community. I would like to find some way to give him the benefit of the doubt and provide him with the closure he seeks. If cost is the deterrent, I wonder if maybe a qualified independent investigator could be located that is willing to conduct a pro bono cursory review of the case just to determine if there is enough validity to John’s claims to pursue a full investigation.
Maybe, just maybe John is telling the truth. Isn’t it worth the relatively small amount of effort it would require by the Council to at least review the evidence he claims he has in support of his allegations? What harm could there be in that? The Council can’t right every wrong or find a just solution for every problem that comes before them. That’s the reality. But they could give John’s case a little more consideration and for his sake I hope they will.