A bombshell of a lawsuit against a Fullerton bar claims that a manager made a false report to police in order to shoo homeless man Kelly Thomas away from the business.
Thomas, of course, was fatally beaten by cops that night last summer, leading to charges, including murder and involuntary manslaughter, against two Fullerton officers.
The suit names Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen owner and Lit guitarist Jeremy Popoff, saying that he was “obsessed with Slidebar's image.”
The crux of the $4 million suit filed Friday is that bouncer Michael Reeves was fired after objecting to what he claims was a false 911 call made by bar manager Jeanette DeMarco.
The suit says she reported that Thomas was breaking into cars, possibly triggering one of the biggest police controversies in Orange County history: Thomas was confronted by six cops and was ultimately beaten after officers searched his backpack.
Reeves' suit claims that Thomas was simply collecting cigarette butts in the parking lot that night, on July 5, and that he told DeMarco the man would move on, as usual.
The suit alleges that the bar's mantra that Slidebar had “nothing to do” with the events of July 5 is wrong:
The false police report came from JEANETTE DeMARCO, a manager at SLIDEBAR, who was following the instructions given to her and all other SLIDEBAR managers by SLIDEBAR's owner, JEREMY POPOFF, to call the police and do anything necessary to get Kelly Thomas away from SLIDEBAR. MR. REEVES saw and heard JEANETTE DeMARCO's false call to the Police Dispatcher, and when MR. REEVES refused to adopt SLIDEBAR's false mantra – “SLIDEBAR had nothing to do with Kelly Thomas's death” – his employment as SLIDEBAR was unlawfully terminated.
Popoff's attorney told City News Service that the filing was made to coincide with the imminent release of Lit's next album — to ride on its publicity coat tales. The lawyer, Eric Dubin, also said the following:
-That Reeves was fired for allegedly letting women into a side door of the bar after they had been ejected (Reeves lawyer denies this, essentially).
-That Reeves allegedly asked for a settlement before filing suit, a request that prompted Popoff to go to the FBI.
-That Popoff is considering a counter-suit.
Reeves' attorneys plan a news conference Wednesday morning in Playa Del Rey.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.