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Kelly Thomas – No Trial In Wrongful Death Civil Case – Settlement Reached

The jury was selected. Opening statements were scheduled for this morning. However, the City of Fullerton, California reached a settlement, agreeing to pay $4.9 million in the wrongful death lawsuit.

On July 5, 2011, 37-year old Kelly Thomas was living on the streets of Fullerton. Kelly was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Wikipedia reports;

“On July 5, 2011, at about 8:30 PM, officers of the Fullerton Police Department responded to a call from the management of the Slidebar that someone was vandalizing cars near the Fullerton Transportation Center. While investigating, they encountered the shirtless and disheveled Thomas and attempted to search him. According to statements given by the officers, Thomas was uncooperative and resisted when they attempted to search him. “Now you see my fists?” Fullerton police officer Manny Ramos asked Thomas while slipping on a pair of latex gloves. “Yeah, what about them?” Thomas responded. “They are getting ready to fuck you up,” said Ramos. A video of the event surfaced, and Thomas can be heard repeatedly screaming in pain while officers are heard repeatedly asking him to place his arms behind his back. He audibly responds “Okay, I’m sorry!” and “I’m trying!” while the officers stretch his arm back. The police officers claim that, unable to get Thomas to comply with the requests, they used a taser on him (up to five times- to his scrotum as well, according to a witness statement, and the video footage), and in the video Thomas can be heard screaming “Dad! Dad!” Six officers were involved in subduing Thomas, who was unarmed and had a history of mental illness. Thomas was initially taken to St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton but was transferred immediately to the UC Irvine Medical Center with severe injuries to his head, face, and neck. One of the paramedics testified that he was first instructed to attend to a police officer’s minor injury and then noticed Thomas lying unconscious in a pool of blood.”

kelly-thomas-before-and-after

Kelly Thomas – Before and After

Tony Rackauckas, the Orange County District Attorney, provided evidence that Thomas did comply with orders from Officer Ramos. A month after Kelly was beaten, six officers were placed on administrative leave. The Fullerton City Council called for the resignation of police Chief Michael Sellers. Sellers was subsequently placed on medical leave in August 2011. He resigned February 18, 2012.

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Death and Racism

Hat tip to Glenn Robinson for tweeting out the article.

The article on The Root hit me hard;

 Reject the “He was a good kid” or “He was a criminal” narrative and lift up the “Black lives matter” narrative. Those who knew him say Brown was a good kid. But that’s not why his death is tragic. His death isn’t tragic because he was on his way to college the following week. His death is tragic because he was a human being and his life mattered. The good-kid narrative might provoke some sympathy, but what it really does is support the lie that as a rule black people, black men in particular, have a norm of violence or criminal behavior. The good-kid narrative says that this kid didn’t deserve to die because his goodness was an exception to the rule. This is wrong. This kid didn’t deserve to die, period. Similarly, reject the “He was a criminal” narrative surrounding the convenience store robbery because even if Brown did steal some cigars and have a scuffle with the shopkeeper, that is still not a justification for his killing. All black lives matter, not just the ones we deem to be “good.”

It caused me to think back about why, during the George Zimmerman case, I did not debate nor defend against accusations that Trayvon was a “thug.”   Here we are again with Michael Brown, and there are folks trying to posture Michael as deserving of death because he was not a “good kid. “

The quote above explains what I have not been able to put in words.   In essence, those arguments for justification convey that there are good Blacks who deserve to live, and bad Blacks whose lives should be cut-short. That standard is defined by people through racially bigoted eyes that are never satisfied. If they cannot find anything to use to criticize the victim, or when their attempts are proven false, they attack the family, and even attack extended families. Read the rest of this entry

Hostile Police – Death Threats Upon America

The below video is intentionally absent of the sound in the majority of the clips. I realize that some will say that without sound, we won’t know the context. However, without sound, it’s easier to concentrate on body movements. I learned something very important. What I learned is that when humans are placed in situations of being helpless by people who can kill them, we resist surrendering to death.

I also learned that some police officers need no provocation to use excessive force and even kill.  When putting the clips together I asked myself, what if it were me?  What would I do?  Would any action change the actions of the police? Read the rest of this entry

Choke Holds Are Intended To Kill – Eric Garner; Ethan Saylor

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dr. Martin Luther King.

choke20n-4-webI’m reading the news about Eric Garner and it causes me to ask questions while getting that sick feeling in my stomach. Those questions are in regards to why such a violent act committed on Garner has gathered media attention when the same violent action against Ethan Saylor, who had Down Syndrome, is unknown by many. The only conclusion I can draw is because New York cares more about injustices against its citizens than the State of Maryland. In the alternative, New York knows how to handle public relations, even if to give its citizens false hope. Read the rest of this entry

Verdict in the Killing of Kelly Thomas

A jury has found officers Ramos and Cicenelli not guilty on all counts.

I’m speechless.

Kelly Thomas

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