In Defense of Kelly Thomas: Protesters Arrested After Police Acquittal in Torture-Killing

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credit: Ray White

By Joe Wright

The prolonged beating death (37 minutes) of a homeless and mentally ill Kelly Thomas was an atrocity recorded for the world to see. The sheer viciousness in full view of an appalled public may be one of the worst cases of pre-meditated and coordinated police brutality that they world has been able to witness. What came after is considered by many to be even worse: the full acquittal by a supposed jury of Kelly’s peers of the police officers who took part in the torture-killing. In so doing, all involved in this injustice have given the green light for police to attack and murder others.

In August, 2011 Rady Ananda reported that the family of Kelly Thomas had refused an offer of $900,000 not to pursue civil action, such was the presumption of likely guilt for those involved. Protesters have been gathering since the murder – and their numbers are swelling in light of this latest travesty. However, when a crowd of more than 200 assembled yesterday in Fullerton, police moved in and made in excess of 12 arrests. While some arrests seem to be legitimate, the rest were taken into custody after simply refusing to leave the (public) protest site. The video below details the pursuit of justice where the traditional justice system has failed thus far.

Kelly Thomas didn’t deserve what he was subjected to; and an outraged public certainly deserves a far better police force than currently exists in Fullerton, CA.

Note to future protesters – please respect the wishes of Kelly’s family who would like to see the size of “Kelly’s Army” continue to grow, but they urge you to demonstrate your power through positive political action. You can raise awareness about this case and intelligently demand that changes be made inside the Fullerton PD without to resorting to the violence you are protesting against. And by all means keep your cameras ready to document any other episodes of police brutality, so that the world can identify the criminals masquerading as real police.

Full transcript with additional research links:

By Collin Ruane

Police in Fullerton, Calif. arrested more than a dozen people Saturday protesting the acquittal of two former police officers charged with the beating death of a homeless man.

KTTV reports more than 200 showed up to protest last Monday’s acquittal.

A woman at Saturday’s protest was arrested for assaulting a TV news photographer after this altercation was caught on camera.

According to KABC, police started asking protestors to leave after the assault. Police said they did try to accommodate protestors.

The Los Angeles Times reports two fellow protestors were arrested for vandalism. Several others were later arrested for not leaving the protest site after officers asked them to.Now let’s get to some background. First — a warning — the video we’re about to show you is disturbing.

Back in July 2011, security cameras captured the officers beating Kelly Thomas — a mentally ill, homeless man. He died in the hospital five days later and the video sparked nationwide outrage, especially after the officers were acquitted. (Via KNBC)

But his father told KCAL the violence and vandalism are not what the protests are all about.

THOMAS: “Same thing happened in Anaheim, but it’s not indicative of who Kelly’s army is. …We’re not out here to cause problems but bring awareness for the travesty of this verdict from the jury in the murder of my son.”

After the acquittal in a state court, Thomas’ father also said he plans to file a civil suit. CBS adds the FBI is investigating the death to see if the police officers might have broken federal laws.

Now, we should add both officers were fired in 2012, but the department never said why or whether that was related to Kelly’s beating death. And while the two former officers have had almost a week to let the verdict set in, one of them is looking to get his job back. (emphasis added)

The Orange County Register notes former Corporal Jay Cicinelli could pursue legal action if that’s what it takes to get back to work after more than a year after being let go.

As for Saturday’s protest, KABC reports Fullerton police are looking at surveillance footage and say even more arrests could come in the near future.

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