March 5th of 2010 Richard Camp was in line at the Farmers & Merchants Bank-Long Beach CA when Robert Gordon Lockwood aka the "Sports Bike Bandit" walked in and attempted to rob the bank at gunpoint. Mr. Lockwood had on ‘body armor’, a .357 Magnum and a .45 caliber semi-automatic, 70 rounds of ammo and a police scanner. He had written his Last Will & Testament and left a copy at his father’s office and another copy at his home for his wife.
After several threats to his life and the lives of other bank customers, Mr. Camp bravely tackled the bandit and took him to the ground. Sometime during the struggle a gun was discharged. Mr. Camp was shot in the leg and another customer, Betty Hall, was hit in the calf by a ricochet bullet. After the struggle another customer stepped in and held the assailant down until police arrived.
At the hospital there are X-rays are taken of his leg. The hospital staff cleans the wound but do not remove the bullet or other deeply imbedded debris. This is concerning to Richard but the ER Doctor advises that many people leave the bullet in. This doesn’t sit right with Richard and he sees an Orthopedic Surgeon, who reviews the X-rays and his leg and determines that there is a massive infection and he must have surgery to remove it. Nearly a month and a half after the incident he goes into surgery and has a baseball sized ball of encapsulated bullet fragments and other debris removed. Had this gone undetected and burst in his leg it is probable that he would have had to have his leg amputated.
While in the hospital the police and FBI question him, an LBPD Sergeant come to his bedside and said “you my friend are a national treasure and I'm going to put you up for every award there is”. The Mayor of Long Beach calls Richard himself and stated that he would nominate Richard for any award he could.
Well, unfortunately for Richard, it turns out that the CEO of F&M, Daniel Walker, is close friends with the Captain of the LBPD and has lunch with him at least twice a month, so no police nominations for civic service. What about the Mayor you ask and his promised nominations? One of mayor Fosters biggest campaign contributors is the Walker family. So guess what, no award nomination there either.
Now I can't tell you that Daniel Walker forced the Sergeant to not nominate him or that he did the same with Mayor Foster, but considering that they both emphatically said that Richard would get nominated for every award and not even a nomination came his way. What do you think happened?
Tracy Manzer, who wrote the article about the robbery on March 9th received a California Journalism award the next year for the article that she wrote about Richards story but he didn’t even get an "atta boy" from within his own community. I know a civic award won't pay his medical bills but I’m sure it would have been nice to get affirmation that even though your life is turned upside down, you lose your business, your name is dragged through the mud, and you almost lose your home there are people out there who appreciate you.
On March 17th the Bank says they want to have lunch with Richard and his wife. Richard agrees and states that he will also have legal counsel with him. The lunch never happens.
What he later finds out through their lawyers correspondence was that the Bank was going to offer him $10K insurance and $10K reward. Which would not matter due to his wife’s insurance subjugation clause, which stated "All monies paid from a third party to Mr. Camp will go directly to the insurance until they are made whole”. So regardless if the bank had paid Richard $10K or $40K he would still have owed $20K.
The only way to have him to not owe medical bills was for the bank to use their own insurance to pay the bill complete. (But the bank didn't want their insurance rates to go up so they used a smaller policy that did not cover him.)
So he went into the Los Altos F&M branch and talked to Ed Hero, the manager there. He told him his predicament and stated that because he works for himself he wasn’t covered by workmans comp, disability, or unemployment. He said "that's rough". Richard asked if there were any way that they could help out, he shrugged his shoulders and said "no". Richard told him that their insurance wasn't covering all of my medical and he said "that's all we will cover.”
Still hoping to solve this amicably Richard spoke with a pastor who has a few of the management of F&M bank attending his church. He told him if F&M would pay the medical he would not file a lawsuit. The management never got back to him. He told the pastor that he was sorry, but he had a family to provide for and if they weren't going to do the right thing then he would have to move forward with the lawsuit.
When the case went to trial there was an 82 year old judge presiding. (There is case law on the books that backed my lawsuit it is called "Ann M" it states that any business has a duty to provide "reasonable" security for all "foreseeable" risks to employees and patrons.) He felt confident that if he got in front of a jury he would win convincingly. Unfortunately he did not, the judge threw the case out with out even watching the video of the robbery!! The Judge stated to his lawyer "Your client is really lucky the gun did not go off and shoot somebody". So the Judge didn't even know the gun went off!!
The second part of the suit was the protection of patrons and employees. He sued because the armed security guard was 200+ feet away from the entrance on the back of a car talking to a person. (He didn't even come in to the bank until after the robbery!) The judge stated that, "A security guard has no duty of providing security". I can’t even imagine how frustrating this must have been!!
Finally the defamation case, he sued because Farmers & Merchants had lied about paying all my medical bills when in fact they only offered $10,000 and how that made me look to the general public. The judge stated that "I’m pretty sure people would have thought that your client was a money grubbing ambulance chaser anyway". What?! Why would people think that if the bank stated that they would only pay for $10K of the $80K worth of bills? Perhaps because the bank hired a PR firm as well as 2 law firms to fight against him!
Richard’s medical bills totaled over $70,000.00 and he has lost work due to his injury and rehabilitation. He had to switch careers due to loss of mobility in his leg and because he could not afford to hire an assistant to do what he no longer could at his contracting business. He is now a stay at home father to twins who were born almost 1 year to the day of the robbery. The portion of his medical bills that were not covered by his wife’s insurance was paid for by the states "victims compensation fund".
I do not know Richard Camp but I live in Long Beach and followed this story when it happened and I have been following it ever since. I have a note posted in my kitchen that states “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” I can no longer do nothing.
Please sign this petition and ask Farmers & Merchants to make a $20,000.00 donation in Richards name to the California State Victims Compensations Fund and to publicly apologize for what they did to him. Please help this man who so selflessly helped others!