Hunger strike

Fidel’s fast for justice

LIFE ON THE LINE<br>Fidel Molina has been conducting his hunger strike in Chico’s City Plaza for more than two weeks now. He says he’d stay until he get results or dies, whichever comes first.

Fidel Molina has been conducting his hunger strike in Chico’s City Plaza for more than two weeks now. He says he’d stay until he get results or dies, whichever comes first.

Photo By Bryce Benson

Beneath the neon lights of KZFR glowing from the fourth floor of the pink Waterland-Breslauer building, Fidel Molina sparked a Marlboro before falling asleep in his GMC Tahoe parked at the Chico City Plaza.

It was Thursday, July 19. Molina had followed the same routine the night before and would do so again the next night and nights after that.

As of Wednesday (July 25, CN&R’s deadline), it had been nine days since the Paradise man arrived at the plaza and just as long since he last ate anything.

Molina, 55, has been spending his days sitting in a blue lawn chair next to an American flag planted in the park’s grass. He’s shared his story with those who stop to look at the pictures taped on his SUV, awaiting nightfall and the day’s last cigarette.

He’ll continue this ritual until he dies, Molina said—or until the state attorney general opens an investigation into his allegations of police brutality and corruption in the Butte County District Attorney’s Office.

His charges stem from a July 5, 2000, incident outside Gold Country Casino in Oroville. As shown on a security video, two Butte County sheriff’s deputies violently detained Molina, his stepson, Andy Fulton Jr., and Fulton’s biological father. The three men had been asked by security guards to leave the casino for being too intoxicated.

The pictures on Molina’s car illustrate the result of that altercation. Fulton’s face is heavily bruised, having received a baton blow. His left eye is a deep purple and swollen shut. His right eye is bloodshot, and the cuts, scrapes and bruises on the rest of his body show that he was badly beaten.

Now, seven years and more than 100 court appearances later, Molina is in week two of a hunger strike in a last-ditch effort to garner “media attention needed to get justice,” he said. Molina wants to see District Attorney Mike Ramsey and former Deputy DA Howard Abbott prosecuted, as well as the two deputies.

He charges that in 2005 they orchestrated a bogus arrest of him designed to cause a mistrial in his case and deny him a chance of acquittal and an opportunity to prove witnesses in his step-son’s case had committed perjury.

He’s referring to an incident outside Superior Court in Oroville. Armed officers, responding to a tip from a District Attorney’s Office employee that Fulton had placed a handgun in Molina’s car, swarmed Molina in the court parking lot in front of three jurors. The object turned out to be some clothes and a hunting knife.

One of the original arresting officers, Grant Kyle (the man who batoned Fulton in the face), was present during the courthouse incident.

A mistrial resulted. Molina believes he was set up by the DA’s office to protect Kyle. (Attempts to reach Ramsey for comment were unsuccessful.)

At the City Plaza, Molina has told this story to anyone who will listen. One who has is Nathan Rooney, who now plans to put the casino video on YouTube in an effort to create support for Molina.

KZFR’s Frederick Earl, who hosts Freedom’s Questions Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m., has followed Molina’s case since he read reports of it in the newspaper.

"[Molina’s] case is not unusual but another bizarre example of how the system can get all full of itself and stomp all over someone,” Earl said.

Molina says he can’t be stomped on anymore. Unless someone in Sacramento starts to investigate his case, he’s prepared to stay in the plaza until the end.