Death of Homeless Man After Beating by Police Stirs Outrage
Ken Steinhardt/Orange County Register, via Associated Press
Citizens protested the death of Kelly Thomas. By IAN LOVETTPublished: August 3, 2011
LOS ANGELES — In one video, the sound of a Taser
going off is followed by a man screaming in pain. In another, footage from a security camera on a public bus, riders describe police officers beating a man to death in graphic terms. “They beat him up, and then all the cops came and they hogtied him, and he was like, ‘Please God, please Dad!,’ ” one said.
Kelly Thomas's family put up posters to get information and find videos of the beating.
The death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man with mental illness, after an encounter with members of the Fullerton Police Department in California has set off a furor in this Orange County community, amid allegations that six police officers used excessive force to try to quiet Mr. Thomas.
At a City Council meeting this week, hundreds of angry residents assailed their elected officials, calling the Police Department corrupt, demanding the resignation of the police chief and promising to recall several council members.
“There was a lot of fear and anger and shock,” said Bruce Whitaker, a Fullerton council member. “Homeless individuals are concerned for their own safety, and they have nowhere else to go.”
Still, what exactly happened on the night of July 5 remains the subject of multiple investigations, and to date the police have not offered a clear report of what occurred, with the Orange County district attorney’s investigation continuing.
It began when the Fullerton police responded to reports of a man trying to break into cars, and soon they made contact with Mr. Thomas, according to Sgt. Andrew Goodrich, a police spokesman. At the end of the altercation, Mr. Thomas, 37, lay unconscious and severely beaten, and he was taken to a hospital. Pictures of him at the hospital show his face swollen, bruised and bloody. He was taken off life support and died five days later.
Initially, the episode attracted little public attention. But as the photographs of Mr. Thomas and videos of the beating and its aftermath began to surface on the Internet, public outrage grew.
Mr. Thomas’s father, Ron Thomas, said he circulated the videos and photographs because he worried that nothing would be done to bring his son’s assailants to justice.
“Nobody else cared,” he said. “My son was brutally beaten to death by six cops. It needed to get attention.”
Since the most recent video — the bus surveillance tape, which the blog Friends for Fullerton’s Future
obtained through a public records request, was released at the start of this week — five police officers involved in the episode have been placed on paid administrative leave (another was already on administrative leave). The F.B.I. has also opened its own investigation into whether Mr. Thomas’s civil rights were violated.
Still, this move may not placate Fullerton residents, some of whom claim that the episode is endemic to the city’s Police Department, which is protected by several City Council members who used to serve on the force. One council member, Sharon Quirk-Silva, has called for the police chief to resign. From M.o.1 -- I constantly hear people saying "we have to understand that the police aren't our enemy here" yet it seems that each week, stories like this keep appearing. It's tough to keep hearing that you can trust the cops to do the right thing against the globalist but hear of them just having their way w/ a man to the point of death based on nothing more than their own amusement. Through the psychological war that has been carried out on the psyche's of this officers and our culture in general.....they have been bred like to be like this.