|Image: Kelly Thomas|
Rady Ananda, Contributing Writer
The surviving family members of Kelly Thomas, who was brutally murdered by Fullerton Police (Orange County, California) in July, rejected an offer of $900,000 not to pursue civil action.
On July 5, 2011, closed circuit TV caught six Fullerton cops brutally murdering a homeless, mentally ill man. Kelly Thomas, age 37, died after being taken off life-support five days later.
A whistleblower who viewed the unreleased city-owned video of the event says an officer crushed Thomas’ windpipe by “drop-kneeing” him “more than once.
His last words are heard on this CCTV video where he’s screaming, “Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad!”
Witnesses to the vicious beating were caught on a bus camera describing the event immediately afterwards:
City officials deny police intended to kill Thomas and are “trying to determine if officers used excessive force in his death,” reports NBC. Ya think?
The FBI is also involved in the investigation.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Thomas often slept near the bus depot where the beating occurred. The Thomas family has hired Garo Mardirossian to represent them in a case against the Fullerton Police Dept. He filed a “claim” last week which is prerequisite to filing a civil suit.
Here’s video of the victim’s father, Ron Thomas, at a public meeting on the incident, (which aired Aug. 2, 2011):
Tony Bushala has been following the events on his blog, Fullerton’s Future.
One of his writers, Travis Kiger, posted the names of those officers they believe are involved:
Officer Kenton Hampton [image];
Officer Jay Cicinelli;
Officer Manny Ramos;
Officer Joe Wolfe;
Officer James Blatney; and
An as-yet-unidentified sergeant who would have been called because of the use of tasers.
On the July 29 John and Ken Show (KFI AM 640), Kelly’s father, Ron Thomas, revealed that the city offered him $900,000 not to file a civil action. He rejected the offer.
A friend of several Fullerton police officers also called the John and Ken Show (July 28) to describe the city-owned video of the beating, which has not yet been released to the public. The dispatcher on duty zoomed the camera in on the scene when the beating began, he said.
The caller said he does not believe that police chief Michael Sellers is interested in prosecuting the six cops. They’ve all since been put on administrative leave, however.
Chief Sellers went on “medical leave” on August 10, “after two City Council members called for him to resign over his handling of an investigation into the in-custody death of a homeless schizophrenic man,” reports Los Alamitos Patch. Though the specific medical condition was not revealed, we can be reasonably certain he was sweating bullets. Capt. Kevin Hamilton is now acting police chief in Fullerton.
Mayor F. Richard Jones has refused to resign, despite public outcry over his handling of the investigation. Ron Thomas promised that he will continue to apply pressure until the mayor steps down.
Hundreds of protesters staged events at least twice since the murder, and the Thomases filed a claim against the city, after rejecting the $900,000 offer to settle the matter.
On August 4, the ACLU called for an independent investigation given that of 50 police-involved deaths over a five-year period, not one cop was prosecuted. The Orange County District Attorney is “incapable of [a] fair investigation,” the press release said.
On August 16, the Fullerton City Council voted to hire independent investigators.
Kelly’s mother, Cathy Thomas, describes her son as a “gentle soul” who never became violent. Kelly started showing symptoms of mental illness when he was 17. Fullerton Stories posted a lengthy interview describing the history and published several pictures. (NOTE: According to sources, the family denies that the 2009 booking photo at that website, provided by Fullerton police, is of Kelly Thomas. The FPD must be incapable of honesty.)
In a related matter, Veth Mam also retained Attorney Mardirossian in his case against the Fullerton cops for beating him for video taping the cops during an arrest made last October. This video made its way to Youtube after the Kelly Thomas murder scandal.
Cops threatened witnesses to the beating with arrest if they didn’t vacate the scene, and lied under oath and on the arrest report. Veth Nam was cleared of all charges only after the cell phone video surfaced revealing the truth.
Officer Kenton Hampton was involved in both the Thomas murder and Mam beating.
On August 19, Mardirossian filed a civil complaint on Mam’s behalf alleging civil rights violations, conspiracy and cover-up.
Hat tip Brasscheck TV.
Rady Ananda specializes in Natural Resources and administers the sites, Food Freedom and COTO Report.
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