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Update on Kelly Thomas: Cops held over for trial

10:09 pm in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

Love for a Stranger

August 14, 2011 Fullerton Rally in support of Kelly Thomas. Photo by infinityofideas.

After a three-day preliminary hearing, Orange County Superior Court Judge Walter Schwarm ordered Officer Manuel Ramos and Cpl. Jay Patrick Cicinelli to stand trial in the killing of Kelly Thomas. The almost-impossible-to-watch video of that fatal beating was released on Monday.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackaucka has not ruled out filing additional charges against one or more of the other four cops involved in the beating:

Kelly Thomas’ family and supporters have called for the arrest of Officer Joseph Wolfe, one of six police officers involved in the fatal altercation. In a video of the beating, Wolfe is seen striking Thomas. Wolfe and Officer Manuel Ramos, who is facing charges of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, were the officers on the scene.

Rackauckas did not name any additional officers, but when asked specifically about Wolfe, he said: “We are not done with this case…. We are still considering all the evidence.”

According to a long exposé in the OC Weekly, Fullerton’s “Bullies in Blue” have a history of brutality and misconduct that goes back several generations. Officer Kenton Hampton, for instance, one of the six cops involved in Kelly Thomas’ death, has been bullying and arresting citizens on false pretenses for at least the past couple of years but has never been disciplined by the department. Hampton is facing at least one lawsuit; additional suits on behalf of Kelly and another victim of Hampton’s brutality are apparently forthcoming.

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Fullerton’s former police chief, Pat McKinley, was an LAPD cop for 30 years and helped form the nation’s first SWAT team to crack down on the Black Panthers. He later made a name for himself in Fullerton by using a random killing as an excuse to raid dozens of houses in a predominately Latino neighborhood. McKinley is now a Fullerton City Councilman, one of three facing a recall over the Kelly incident. Here he is talking shit on CNN last summer about “the gravity of the situation” and how “witness statements are often flamboyant and exaggerated.”

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There’s an innocent explanation for the letters found in Kelly’s backpack but the cops preferred to cover it up and let people think Kelly had stolen mail. From the above-mentioned OC Weekly article:

At a bus stop, a local attorney approached Ron Thomas, Kelly’s father, to tell him he felt detectives had prodded him to pin wrongdoing on his son. Police found papers from the man’s firm in Thomas’ backpack, so they contacted him. The attorney told them he had thrown the papers away in a trashcan on a public sidewalk, meaning Kelly had every right to pick them up. Goodrich says a detective did call to ask about the letter in Thomas’ possession, but, he contends, it was just a typical interview and there was no coaxing involved.

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Mental health professionals are hoping, once again, that the Kelly Thomas murder might result in reform. That Fullerton PD might, for instance, actually use the training that they have already received on how to interact with the homeless and mentally ill people they are sworn to protect and serve. In Los Angeles, police are required to alert a mental health evaluation unit when they encounter someone suspected of suffering from mental illness. Imagine how things might have gone differently if Officer Ramos had called in a professional to assist with the questioning of Kelly. Instead he called in five more bullies and they killed a man who had done nothing more than fish some papers out of the trash and stick them in his backpack.

“Dad, they are killing me” – Video released of Fullerton PD beating Kelly Thomas to death

10:54 pm in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

Actual arrest starts at about 14 minutes in, or you can watch a shorter version of the video here.

Photos of Kelly before and after he was murdered by Fullerton police.

Today was the first day of the preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to try Fullerton, CA police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli in the July 5, 2011 beating death of Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless schizophrenic man. For those of you not familiar with this story, wikipedia offers a number of links. The surveillance video was released for the first time today, along with gruesome photos of what Kelly looked like after Manuel Ramos made good on his promise to “fuck him up” with his latex-covered fists.

But here’s all you really need to know. Kelly, a gentle soul who posed zero – let me repeat that - zero - threat to police or the community, was tortured for more than five minutes and then left in the gutter to die. By six fat fucking pigs (sorry, but I am not going to mince words here) who beat him with their sticks, tased him, suffocated him. And then called paramedics to come and give them bandaids for their scratches while Kelly lay forgotten.

A fire department captain testified today that until he arrived, nothing was being done for Kelly, who by then was unconscious (he never regained consciousness; his parents took him off life support five days later):

Capt. Rob Stancyk of the Fullerton Fire Department testified that seven or eight Fullerton police officers were standing around a bus depot when paramedics arrived, about 15 feet from Thomas, who he said was lying on the ground.

“Nothing was being done,” Stancyk said.

Stancyk testified that initially the officers on the scene were complaining about their injuries, but that then he turned and saw Thomas on the ground, barely breathing.

I watched the short version of this video (haven’t made it through the long one yet; afraid I will puke). And I saw a big thug begin to humiliate and threaten someone who didn’t stand a chance, someone who was going to get the crap beat out of him no matter what he said, no matter whether he figured out how to comply with the thug’s orders or not.

My recent interactions with cops at Occupy have given me this sixth sense for when they are about to get out of control. You can feel it coming. They turn into animals. They pile on. There are six grown men here and every single one of them does nothing but make the situation worse. They should all be charged with Kelly’s death.

I have never held cops in much regard; my mother was a police dispatcher in a small town and she used to get them to follow me around, back when I was a juvenile delinquent. Now that I am a grown-up delinquent, I like them even less. I know there have always been bad cops (Mr. HFC watches Police Story reruns every night and it’s a running theme), but it seems like now there are so few good ones. Or at least any that will draw the line at nearly beating to death a skinny, homeless man calling out for his dad, and then leaving him to die while they lick their wounds. Any one of those fucking monsters could have attempted to calm the situation and make sure that Kelly was able to breathe. Are they really that big of pussies that it takes all six of them to arrest someone?

I’d also like to challenge the idea that the minute the police make contact with you, you somehow become their slave and you must do every single thing they say to keep from being beaten to death. Go limp, don’t struggle, even with six thugs sitting on you and twisting your limbs around. Try to imagine what your reaction might be to a cop telling you he’s going to fuck you up with his fists, when you’ve never posed any threat to him. Try to imagine the terror you must feel when he calls in his fellow subhumans and they beat you and tase you and wrestle you to the ground and sit on you. Now add some mental illness to the mix.

And people wonder why we have a weekly Fuck the Police march here in Oakland.