Another Take on the Murder of Kelly Thomas in Fullerton

NOTE BY NORSE:   Another article on the acquittal of the killers of the homeless man Kelly Thomas in Fullerton, CA.

Yesterday I and several others Copwatched an incident at mid-day near the Metro Transit Center (Parking Lot #12).  There a diminutive quiet woman and her small dog were held on the sidewalk by three police officers (CSO Barnett, Sgt. Le Moss, and a female officer whose name I didn’t catch) with two squad cars nearby, one half blocking the cross-street.  Le Moss is notorious among homeless activists for breaking the arm of an elderly homeless woman–Donna Deiss–some years back (See “Donna Deiss police brutality criminal trial abruptly ends” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/05/18/18595728.php  ).The woman reported that another officer  was walking by, turned to confront her and the  dog snapped at the officer.  This apparent “disrespect for authority”–perhaps along with the outrageousness of a poor person sitting on the sidewalk downtown?–prompted the officer to call for back-up, contact animal control,  and hold the woman and her dog for, she estimated, half an hour.  I and others gathered to begin observing and audioing–which may have moderated the police behavior.  The dog was not immediately taken into custody, but animal control is reported going to “visit” the woman.Santa Cruz Police and Deputy Sheriffs have killed suspects in the last two decades with no apparent disciplinary (to say nothing of legal) consequences ranging from Carlos Machado in 1990 to Happy John Dine in 1997 to Brian Andress in 1998 (a bit uncertain of that date) to David Anthony Cross  in 2005 (See “Stop Lethal Tasering in Santa Cruz”

at http://santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display/18625/index.php  ).Armed thuggery by SCPD, “security” guards, hosts (as the snitch eyes and ears), and private security (such as New Leaf hired last year) are now roaming the streets, ready to gather in packs at the least provocation or challenge to their authority.   Mayor “Rattlesnake” Robinson is notorious for packing with the police as part of her right-wing riptide campaign using Santa Cruz Neighbors, Take Back Santa Cruz, to elect reactionaries under a wave of drug war and anti-homeless hysteria masquerading as “Public Safety”.

The rotten fruits of former Mayor Bryant’s police-happy “Citizens Public Safety Task  Force” has yet to be crammed down our throats, but City Council has already unanimously approved  Councilmember “Darkside” David Terrazas’s Resolution (see

http://sire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=538&doctype=SUMMARY).Get ready to exercise your First Amendment Direct Action rights–or be reduced to futile begging and whimpering–as we was sadly demonstrated by opponents of the SCPD’s Bike Blockade against the Bike Church, with Councilmember Posner, as usual, doing nothing but “seeking assurances from the City Manager”.

 

All Of Us Need To Be Very Afraid Now: “Peace Officers” Who Beat Homeless Mentally Ill Man To Death Somehow Found Not Guilty

by Abby Zimet

Kelly Thomas

Astonishingly, infuriatingly, two former Fullerton, California cops have been acquitted on all charges after savagely beating to death Kelly Thomas, 37, a mentally ill homeless man who died five days after being set upon by Manuel Ramos, Jay Cicinelli and four other officers. The attack, caught on surveillance video, led to days of protests, the recall of three City Council members and the resignation of a police chief whose department has a long history of violent abuse.


Thomas’ father Ron, a former deputy sheriff, said the defense “lied continuously” during the trial and the family will likely pursue civil charges in the death of his son, who a year after his death was cleared of the stupid bogus charges – trying to get into locked cars in a bus parking lot – police came up with in a pathetic attempt to justify their cold-blooded, fist-punching murder.


Since the verdict, people have held vigils and protests at a makeshift memorial where Thomas died; one sign carries Thomas’ picture before the beating and proclaims, “No one can hurt u now.” Also, the FBI has said it will review the evidence for federal civil rights violations. There is both raw and shorter, edited video of the attack:


It captures Ramos snapping on rubber gloves, smacking his fists together and sneering to Thomas, “See these fists? They’re gonna fuck you up,” followed, many vicious punches later, by Thomas writihing on the ground repeatedly crying out for help and his father. Warning: stomach-churningly graphic and heart-poundingly disturbing, all of it.

 


“These peace officers were doing their jobs. They were operating as they were trained and they had no malice in their hearts.” – defense attorney

 

 

Kelly Thomas after beating

The sadistic thugs who did that

In another instance the parents called the police to help deal with their schizophrenic mentally ill son.

The youth was tasered and lying helpless on the ground. One cop pulled out a gun and said “we do not have the time for this” and shot him dead.

There are also people here, I am sure , who will say “Well you can not condemn these officers unless you experienced what they did and if they feel bad about it it really the fault of those in charge”

Or IS there? Will the same people who give US soldiers a pass because “it not really their fault” when they shoot a 4 year old dead in Afghanistan give a pass to these officers as well?

Or do they just reserve that outrage when it an American killed?

Brutes and thugs are attracted to the uniform, the gun and the chance of being able to take the life of another.

Over 5000 US civilians have been killed by the police since 9/11.

The number of poor and the homeless killed overseas by men in uniform is not even counted.

They are linked in spite of those that would deny it.

Some of the Comments

  • “Over 5000 US civilians have been killed by the police since 9/11.”

    If that is not terrorism I do not know what is.

    • “Over 5000 US civilians have been killed by the police since 9/11.”
      Where did you get this? I know that they do not keep statistics because I’ve looked for it before. Obviously they do not keep track on purpose. I assume it is an estimate but where did it come from?

      In 1994 congress ordered the Attorney General to compile and publish a list of police brutality. The AG never did it. The FBI doesn’t keep statistics on it and I don’t think any government agency does.

    • But Wikipedia, one of the great innovations on the internet, does:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…

      Over 400 police “justified homicides” per year, so the 5,000 figure looks just about right since 9/11 (12 1/2 years)

    • That figure is low by my research (I mean by research, my reading on the internet). I have previously quoted and cited a journalist who researched internet available shooting reports via internet and came up with a figure of about 1,100 in one recent year (persons shot dead by police in the USA, in enforcement related situations, not domestic abuse etc). BUT I can’t find the citation again, it was most interesting.
      Mother Jones has an article with some statistics,[http://www.motherjones.com/pol…] and I quote
      «The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics has been compiling data on deaths of suspects following arrests, but the information covers just 40 states and only includes arrest fatalities. From January 2003 through December 2009, bureau statistics show 4,813 deaths occurred during “an arrest or restraint process.” Of those, 61% (2,931) were classified as homicides by law enforcement personnel, 11% (541) as suicides, 11% (525) as due to intoxication, 6% (272) as accidental injuries, and 5% (244) were attributed to natural causes. About 42% of the dead were white, 32% were black, and 20% were Hispanic.»

      Interestingly, no agency is tasked with compiling these statistics and local police forces seem to find ways around transparent, accurate and timely reporting of their own statistics.

      Addendum: and while the number of shooting-of-others-by-police is apparently increasing, the number of shooting-of-police-by-others is decreasing. Is that solely because the police shoot first, faster and longer? Or is something more fundamental going on (?).F

    • I could not watch the entire video. It was too upsetting. The cries of anguish and fear that came from Mr. Thomas as he was being assaulted by the officers are the stuff of nightmares. This is what can happen to you when you are poor and homeless and “worthless” in this ruthless predatory society. Mr. Thomas–a schizophrenic– was obviously living a desperate and difficult life on the streets. Now the officers who accosted him could have shown some compassion if they were half-decent human beings. But these people are thoroughly indecent: for no reason whatsoever they spark a conflict with Mr. Thomas so they can have an excuse to give him a good ass whipping. It must have been that as soon as they saw him, they wanted to find a way to give him some grief. Ramos, Cincinelli and the other four officers are essentially no different from a street gang that cruises the city looking for victims. The only difference is their violence has the sanction of badge and uniform. These so-called “peace officers” would never have treated a middle-class citizen in this fashion. Because those people have money to get lawyers and they know their rights. But who cares about some raggedy ass “homeless guy”? The officers reason that they can treat him like shit, and because they are petty sadistic tyrants, without an ounce of humanity in their hearts, they beat down a defenseless man, and sent him to his death. If they weren’t wearing the blue, their cowardly assault would easily be seen as the crime that it is. Shame on the jury for returning an innocent verdict. But I’m sure the jury was made up of the The moral significance of the officers’ behavior is one thing. The psychological motivation for that behavior is quite another. I think there is something to what you say, but I would put it like this: while the officers might FEAR the condition of poverty, they LOATHE actual poor people. You might well be right that the “vulnerability” of the homeless strikes terror in the hearts of those who over-value security. And many Americans over value security, because the natural tendency of American society (as a dog-eat-dog polity) is to make people insecure, with all its attendant anxieties. It has long been known that authoritarian types are often anxious people. Many Americans are so fearful of what poverty represents, it’s a short walk from there to hating poor people, as people will often hate what makes them afraid. It just goes to show you what a screwed up country the USA is, and how so muc

    • The police officers knew Mr. Thomas, jrp1900. Of course, that suggests they also knew that he was harmless, homeless and mentally ill. And they beat him to death anyway. Given that additional fact of knowing Thomas beforehand, the jury’s verdict of “not guilty” for the cops seems doubly monstrous. It was not possible to argue at all, I think, that Thomas represented some imminent threat. Surely that must have been crystal clear during the trial.

      As for Orange County’s denizens, they’ve managed to elect some of the most right-wing troglodytes to Congress, and keep them there, year after year. I attribute this awful tendency to the apolitical mindset of OC residents. What I mean by apolitical is that they don’t think in terms of civil society or democracy at all. They’re not invested in concepts like assessing the good of the commonwealth and right actions toward that end. So they tolerate some real sketchy characters in office. That said, they’d likely seem “normal” to you if you met them on the street. However, it’s clear that OC denizens don’t make proper mental connections with regard to the larger social world. They live as if in a bubble.

      This phenomenon is not something I understand too well, but the disconnect can be found in other examples. For instance, we see loyalist Dems, knowing full well about Obama’s Murder Incorporated and his bankster bailouts, etc., and yet we see them happily voting him up for a second term. They just can’t connect cause and effect somehow.

      We also saw the crazy jury in Florida acquit George Zimmerman of killing Treyvon Martin. Something in the “conservative” mindset just can’t think straig

    • In another instance the parents called the police to help deal with their schizophrenic mentally ill son.

      The youth was tasered and lying helpless on the ground. One cop pulled out a gun and said “we do not have the time for this” and shot him dead.

      There are also people here, I am sure , who will say “Well you can not condemn these officers unless you experienced what they did and if they feel bad about it it really the fault of those in charge”

      Or IS there? Will the same people who give US soldiers a pass because “it not really their fault” when they shoot a 4 year old dead in Afghanistan give a pass to these officers as well?

      Or do they just reserve that outrage when it an American killed?

      Brutes and thugs are attracted to the uniform, the gun and the chance of being able to take the life of another.

      Over 5000 US civilians have been killed by the police since 9/11.

      The number of poor and the homeless killed overseas by men in uniform is not even counted.

      They are linked in spite of those that would deny it.

      The following happened in the Harrisburg PA area some years back. A mentally ill man had been taken to the mental health unit of a local hospital. Due to apparently lax security the man wandered off and went home — not sure how he got there, if he called a cab, called a friend, hitch-hiked, I don’t know. Anyway, he went home. When it was noted that he was missing from the hospital the local police department from the man’s home boro were called, and they, two of them went to his residence, a mobile home. Remember, this man is mentally ill, and may not have been cognizant of reality. The police entered his home. The man was terribly frightened, may or may not have realized that the intruders were police officers, and grabbed a couple sauce pans to use as defensive weapons to ward of the police who were approaching him. The police officers shot him to death. They could have waited outside his home for mental health professionals to arrive. They could have stepped outside once they saw how frightened the man was. No. They had to kill him. I don’t recall whether the officers were disciplined. I’ll see if I can find this story and provide a link later on.

FOR FURTHER COMMENTS AND TO MAKE YOUR OWN GO TO:  http://www.commondreams.org/further/2014/01/13-4

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