On Monday, Jan 13th, 2014, Officers Ramos and Cicinelli were acquitted. The charges against the third officer were dropped.
I am not here to question the legal system. This is a heartbreaking situation that clearly was full of intent, malice, hatred, and ignorance. There is no doubt that these two officers killed a "homeless man" by beating him to death. There is also no doubt that they would ever be convicted... where on Earth are you going to find a jury of 12 people... that live in the community... that will have to see the police every day... that had no love or relationship with the victim... that pay the salaries of the accused... that need the accused to "serve and protect" them... to stand up and say "Fuck you". 12 innocent people, in a courtroom full of uniformed officers, to say quis custodiet ipso custodien (Who watches the watchmen?).
After all... if you stand out, the police may kill you.
I think of my son.
We spent many years (yes, years) in ABA therapy working on something in the business we call "two-step commands". Go to kitchen and put your plate in the sink (related), or go to the living room and jump up and down (unrelated).
Kelly Thomas was not autistic (to my knowledge), but he was schizophrenic, and homeless, and, to society, had very little value.
But, somewhere, he was a friend. Somewhere he was a mentor. And somewhere he was a son.
And he cried out "Daddy" 31 times in the 5:49 seconds that up to 8 police officers literally beat the living shit out of him.
He cried out "Please" 31 times in the 5:49 seconds that up to 8 police officers literally beat the living shit out of him.
He cried out "I'm sorry" 22 times in the 5:49 seconds that up to 8 police officers literally beat the living shit out of him.
Those do not sound like the cries of "resisting arrest" to me.
I think of my son.
We (the public) were lucky enough to have full video and audio of the entire "arrest". That's how we hear Kelly cry out. That's how we hear Officer Ramos tell Kelly "these are the hands that are going to fuck you up". That's how we hear two officers joke about a misunderstanding about where the gurney is going. That's how we hear officers saying "he's on something" over and over again (toxicology reports proved he was not).
But that's how we don't hear a single officer, passerby, parent, or child say "Kelly, what's going on?"
It took us many months to master the "2 step command".
And "Lay on your stomach, and put your hands behind your back" at the same time were commands we never tried.
Neither were "serve and protect".
This is a link to the unedited ordeal. I only want you to watch it if, for some reason, you think I am lying or making this up. It is gruesome, angering, and heartbreakingly sad.
My heart goes out to Kelly Thomas' parents... who have been very vocal in this case against the police.
Especially as a father to a father... a father that your son cried out for 31 times in his final minutes.