Remember Kelly Thomas?

don_socalMay 16, 2012

You may remember almost a year ago I posted about a police action against a homeless man here in Fullerton. There has been a hearing this last week and the surveillance video has been released and shown in court and appears in the Orange County Register online, first time for public viewing. I will let the article and video speak for themselves only adding the links and stating that I travel on the bus twice a week with a transfer both ways at the bus station where it happened. The blood stains are still there.

The story...

Evidence presented in Kelly Thomas hearing

The video, warning graphic, you can pause it and look at

related videos linked below it including a shorter 8 min part of the video...

Full, unedited Kelly Thomas confrontation video (35 min.)

Pictures on google many graphic of him in the hospital...


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Absolutely disgusting!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 10:09PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Don, we're hearing the reports up here about the Kelly Thomas case (including the award to his mother - as if that could begin to compensate for the loss of her son and the pain and suffering). From the description on the radio, I don't think that I will view the video or photographs. I'm glad that the visual evidence is now available to the public and that residents can demand accountability from law enforcement.

We're dealing with an investigation of the LA County Sheriff's Department and brutality at county jail. I can't handle even the verbal descriptions of violence and abuse.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Circus Peanut

My wrenched heart goes out to all families of people with schizophrenia and the dangers they face here in the US, which lacks the kind of civilized social safety net other countries offer the mentally ill. There is nothing more soul-horrifying than being unable to help a loved one whose illness impels them out of your hands and into danger. I cannot imagine how Thomas' father felt upon hearing his name called by his dying son in that video.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 11:29PM
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It has become enmeshed in the local politics with a recall of three of the five city council members for not acting on it at the time. There are many other problems with local government that date back many years and different entities are spending lots of money for their agendas mostly concerning development. The Thomas case has become part of the political football and sadly most do not see the true agendas. The best "use" of the notoriety is the awareness for homeless and mentally ill folks that need help and are multiplying due to the economy and politics.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 10:09AM
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Circus Peanut

Awareness on the part of the police force especially, Don. One could make the argument that mental illness is irrelevant here (i.e., would it be OK to beat a man to death if he weren't mentally ill?), but also that the police need to be more educated about mental health issues amongst the vagrant population.

I watched the whole video and was struck by the officers' completely inappropriate reactions to the interaction-- why did Ramos get so irritated at Thomas being unable to put his hands behind his back and stretch out his legs at the same time? This appears to be the only "offense" Thomas committed, and he screamed "I'm sorry sir" a dozen times, but the beating continued. It's a horrifying scene of incomprehensibly petty brutality reminiscent of events in the '30's in Germany. Ugh. Would Ramos & Wolfe et al, have acted differently had they known anything about schizophrenics? Been more patient, more humane? One would like to think so, but I'm not sure. Perhaps this callousness is endemic to the job.

(Totally unrelated, but I was recently stopped for a speeding ticket in a small town out of state and was struck by how very unfriendly, even provoking, the swaggering officer was. I'm a woman in her late 40's driving a Subaru, not really your typical scofflaw, but he kept reminding me that he would be checking to make sure I paid the ticket, because his state has reciprocity with mine. It was pretty bizarre for an 8-mile-over-limit ticket. And how much more aggressive do these guys get with folks they've stereotyped as "trouble"? Like mentally ill vagrants?)

It's a sad society indeed where police officers are our front line for dealing with the severely mentally ill. But that's how it has been in the US since the early '80s, and without health care reform, plus an increasing number of folks impoverished by this economy and unable to pay their own bills much less keep their ill relatives harbored in expensive private clinics, this problem will just continue to escalate.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 11:14AM
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It's called "John Wayne Syndrome"... and too many working "public servants" are infected with it. It's the idea that a badge and a gun give these police officers the right to completely ignore the Constitutional rights of the citizenry, and just make it up as they go along, bullying anyone they feel like bullying.

I've never been rude to a police officer when stopped, though I haven't been stopped very often in my lifetime... but I agree that the aggressive attitudes without provocation are seemingly escalating, as though the standards have been greatly lowered for hiring in many police departments.

I remember a time when one joined a police force because they wanted to help people, not hurt them... and they were trusted entities of safety for citizens in trouble, not the armed bullies some have become.

I realize the job is taxing, and many horrifying things are seen by seasoned officers, but that's why they also have access to the help they need through their departments. Not all police are corrupt, or bullies... but it does seem as though the number has risen.

Because of this particular case, other cases are being reviewed, brought out into the open for public inspection. These actions are reprehensible, and accountability is necessary. The sickness of corruption and greed has quite a grip on our society. Our nation is so backward in too many respects, and it's sometimes frightening to think about.

What sort of a society doesn't take care of its weaker members? We should be helping each other instead of trying to eliminate those weaker members.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 11:38AM
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I feel so sorry for Kelly's family. They must have suffered so much worry and anxiety over the time he was on the street, always expecting a phone call that he was dead. But I'm sure they never expected the police to murder him. Poor people.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 9:09PM
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