Badges? We got no badges. We don't need no stinking badges...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kelly Thomas - Wait for Justice

Last week, I wrote about the death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man who lived in Fullerton. Thomas was homeless, mentally ill and, as with many people in that state, had a minor police record. None of this, of course, was known by the officers responding to a call of someone breaking into cars at the Fullerton Transit Center.

Many have weighed in on Thomas' death. The rant blog (try posting something they don't like on it) The Friends For Fullerton's Future blog has practically dedicated itself to singlehandedly bringing down the Fullerton PD. Lots of allegations coming even from the John and Ken show, where, supposedly, an "insider" called into the show to offer the scoop on the video tape. Another entry reports that the Fullerton Chief and the primary DA investigator are friends (who isn't in the LEO community).

All of this , of course, is to allow the case to be tried in the court of public opinion even before it gets a proper review by the investigators and now, thanks to Shawn Nelson's intervention, the FBI. Curiously, there is not much in mainstream news about the case.

But, how does this help the family deal with their grief? Kelly Thomas' Father Ron, himself a retired deputy, called the beating brutal. Grainy video from over 50 feet away, commentated by someone else is shown on YouTube. It is obvious we don't see the entire situation from this clip. I doubt the video surveillance being held back by the police is going to show much else. Everyone seems to want answers now. They want the names of the officers involved as if they would go out and shoot the officers themselves for their misdeeds. The police department, which has had more than it's share of bad publicity lately, is being hung out to dry. The Chief has clammed up. The DA is investigating. The FBI is investigating. So, what should the people of Fullerton and the advocates for Thomas do now?

How about sit back and wait. Wait for the DA to complete their investigation. Wait for the FBI to do whatever they plan to do. By the way, the only information we have that the FBI will do anything is Shawn of the Dead Nelson claiming that the FBI confirmed they are launching an investigation. Now, that in itself means nothing. Has anyone seen FBI agents swarming Fullerton questioning witnesses? Have they seen black SUVs surrounding the police department? Of course not. And, don't expect them to. Investigation can mean a lot of things. And, in this case, I suspect it means they will review the investigations of both the FPD and the OCDA.

And, what about Ron Thomas? The other day, he claims the City has already offered him just short of a million to settle the case. That was quick. Too quick, if you ask me. And, rather than throw the offer aside, the dad is "considering" it. Now, of course, Fullerton has neither denied or admitted the offer. That is a lot of money that would have to go in front of the City Council to be approved (in closed session, of course). Has anyone looked at the Council agenda lately to see if the proposed litigation/settlement/offer has even appeared? Too much going on too fast and I suspect that much of it is too many entities- FFFF, Ron Thomas, Shawn of the Dead, et al -are running into each other.

Now, lest any of you think I am taking the side of the cops, remember this blog. I love to bash wrong-doing cops. But, there are enough legitimate bad guys in the ranks of LEO that I don't need to jump on a publicity bandwagon for the sake of skewering an entire department... at least until we get an investigation or two completed.

So, again, sit back and wait. We've got nothing but time.

And that is exactly what the citizens of Fullerton and the rest of Orange County should do.


  1. So you don't consider 6 beefy cops jumping 1 135 lb malnourished homeless man, tazering him repeatedly 6 or more times, beating him with flashlights and or nightsticks, beating him on the head with the butt of a tazer, drop kneeing him in the face and throat, ultimately killing him is necessarily a "bad" cop?

  2. PEACE officer? wut peace officer???

    all 6 need to be in prision for years and years.

    lucky if they even get dog food.

    this is bs.

  3. I was skeptical, too. And living on the opposite coast made it harder for me to swallow. But then, I watched the video (which from what has been reported was 25 feet away - not 50) regardless of waiting for justice or Ron accepting the money... The bottom line is that when you have officers out there behaving this way, and the way I've seen dozens of other officers behave on video lately, (not to mention my own run in with an officer in our little town in which his supervisor and I had to speak and he was reprimanded - it's not very nice to taunt someone about their two year old nephews death just weeks after it happened)... No one is safe.

    Citizens are supposed to be able to trust LEO's to serve and protect. To be firm, but respectful. What they did to that poor man, which you can see in the photo of him lying in a hospital bed - it doesn't take rocket science to see how badly he'd been injured, was inexcusable.

    It showed what I can only describe as a total lack of regard for human life, and that should be one of their top priorities.

  4. You don't even need to see up close on the video to know what the "peace" officers did was way over the line. Just look at what poor Kelly Thomas looked like. 1 small guy should not look like that while they try to arrest him.

    And why didn't the FPD investigate and suspend the Cops in question earlier? They even tried releasing a story saying the cops had broken bones and were hurt in the "scuffle". Then they had to retract that and say soft tissue damage. You know what soft tissue damage is? A bruise. Look at Kelly Thomas. Looks like he got the worst end of it, doesn't it?

  5. The reason everyone wants answers now is because it has been almost a month since the incident. It took about 3 weeks to even suspend the officers in question. This should have happened from day 1.

  6. To say kelly or his situation wasn't known by the officers is complete crap. This is a very small town and kelly hung out in that area ALL THE TIME and has been in the Fullerton streets for 2 decades! Yes he had a minor criminal record which is exactly how and why the police knew him. EVERYONE in that block knew Kelly. Just like the cops know by name all the other local homeless in this area. I realize you're probably a cop and want to take their side but these 6 murder this man and the city and the D.A. tried to cover it up. Simple as that.

  7. Wow....really??? sit back and wait??? and trust the same people that lied about the broken bones?? opps i mean soft tissue damage...yeah sure.stay in line like a good little sheep...

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  9. Lee, not at all. But none of us were right there. We don't know what Kelly Thomas was doing that even instigated this incident (yeah, I know, reports of breaking into cars... but what did he do specifically). All I am saying is, if these cops are found to have done something wrong, then it will come out. I don't think anyone is interested in whitewashing this incident, particularly seeing how much Fullerton PD has been in the limelight lately.

    And to the person who said Fullerton is a small town, I know exactly what Fullerton is. I used to live there and it is far from a small town. Even the town I live in now is far from small and it is smaller than Fullerton. The cops don't always talk to each other, particularly about some small time criminal or homeless guy floating around the transit center. The don't often fill out the old "FI" cards they used to so they could keep track of them. They rely on technology to do it and it just doesn't do the job as well. So, no, I doubt every cop knew Kelly.

    Thank you all for the comments and dialogue. That is what this blog is for.

  10. Breaking into cars??? He was searching the parking lot for cigarette butts as he often did

  11. Fullerton is absolutely a small town compared to any others in this county by permanent residence and size. If you had ever honestly lived here you would know that. Kelly frequented the same areas and received minor complaints by shop owners in downtown for the last 20yrs. So unless all 6 cops were on their first day of duty, I highly doubt they didn't know him. These officers knew who they were dealing with and they should have used better judgement to control their rage. Also the FBI has confirmed on the record with journalist Steve Gregory from KFI they are investigating as well as the dept. Of justice. These cops are going down for murder and you can't slant or down play the situation any other way.

  12. Well, we will see. If they don't, I am sure there are plenty out there that will scream that justice wasn't done.

  13. Oh, and small town, if you check the recent census, you will find that Fullerton is the 42nd largest city in California and the 7th largest in the Real OC. With over 135,000 people, it is, by no means, a small town. Cops don't know every criminal and miscreant in the city personally.


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