It was just a simple police stop, I was walking back home from the store, penny food under my arm, when I saw him. A police cruiser parked crookedly on the side road, red and blue lights flashed wildly. Two black uniformed police officers held a wallet and stood over a subject sitting in the grass. He laid one arm across a raised knee his other propping him up. The man in the grass appeared casual, more relaxed about the situation than the police officers. Or maybe he was just tired; maybe he was just another soldier of the road, another veteran of our harsh times.
It brought back memories of an E-mail with a link to a video sent to me. In it, a young man was stopped by police in Fullerton California; he is lucid, conversational and was in no ways threatening or potentially violent. I watched this first video lasting only eight or nine minutes, but after watching it I went searching for a longer version. I wanted to understand how this could happen, the complete video was shocking and not for the faint of heart, a confrontation leading to a young man being tazered half a dozen times and beaten to a bloody pulp is over thirty minutes long.
As the video opens, a cop waves his baton assertively, like a peacock preening or a wild bull rutting in the ground. It is a full fifteen minutes after police begin their interrogation of this young man before things start going terribly wrong. The young man is obviously becoming tired of the police interrogation tactics. Questions asked with a snarl full of condescension, asked with intent to aggravate trying to get a rise out of the citizen.
"Seems like every day we gotta talk to you about something," - Officer Manuel Ramos
"Two days in a row,"- Corporal Jay Cicinelli
As one Ramos interrogates, as Cicinelli calls out potential charges they could use to run this young man in on.
"So, I'm thinking of a 496?" - Corporal Jay Cicinelli
Ostensibly, police were investigating auto burglaries; it is unclear whether these burglaries took place that night, that week or last month. In any case, a quick inspection of this young man finds him not in possession of any property you might expect to be found on someone involved in auto burglaries.
"Hey, what is your name? Hey, what is your name? - Officer Manuel Ramos
"I think its Kelly or something,"- Corporal Jay Cicinelli
"Gonna take you to jail on suspicion of burglary"- Officer Manuel Ramos
There were no outstanding wants or warrants to hold this young man. His name was Kelly Thomas, the reason he didn't give his name was because the cops already knew his name. This wasn't a bust or an investigation it was just a roust, let's go f*ck with the homeless guy. So after fifteen minutes of abusive interrogation, after quarter hour of being detained and threatened with arrest treated with contempt and scorn. He is treated as untermunchin, because of his appearance and because of his poverty.
"Sit down, sit down, sit down!"- Officer Manuel Ramos
"Put your feet out in front of you get your hands out from behind you.
Put your feet out in front of you get your hands out from behind you.
Put your feet out in front of you get your hands out from behind you!
Put your feet out in front of you get your hands out from behind you!
Put your feet out in front of you." - Officer Manuel Ramos
"Which one is it dude?" -- Kelly Thomas
"Both!" - Officer Manuel Ramos
"So, should we take you for having someone else's mail? - Corporal Jay Cicinelli
"Put your hands on your knees; put your feet out in front of you." - Officer Manuel Ramos
"I can't do both!"- Kelly Thomas
"Your gonna have to, real quick!"- Officer Manuel Ramos
"What's wrong with you?" -- Kelly Thomas
"Put your hands on your f*cking knees" - Officer Manuel Ramos
"Now, you see my fists, they're getting ready to f*ck you up." - Officer Manuel Ramos
"Start punching dude," -- Kelly Thomas
Hey, I'm sick of playing games, which is it?" -- Kelly Thomas
"I'm tired of f*cking around with you, get on the ground!" - Officer Manuel Ramos
"Get on the ground, on the ground!" - Corporal Jay Cicinelli
Then for the crime of talking back, of not tipping your hat or cringing properly or saying yes sir this young man is beaten to death by police on the streets Fullerton California. Tazered repeatedly, tazered until their guns run out of juice. This black uniformed gang after empting the high voltage from their tazer guns into the body of a defenseless young man then uses the butt of their empty tazer guns to pistol whip this young man's face beyond a mother's recognition all for the crime of talking back with attitude.
"Okay, I'm sorry dude," - Kelly Thomas
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry."- Kelly Thomas
"Put your hands behind your back!" - Officer Manuel Ramos
By this time the two officers have struck Thomas countless times with their nightsticks tackling him to the ground. They demand he put his hands behind his back but by now Thomas is simply too terrified to comply. As these two officers with weapons are still beating him they demand he give up all defense of his own body from their assault. It is better known on the street as, resisting assault, protecting yourself from the blows while the police beat you with their clubs.
"Okay, hang on a second" - Kelly Thomas
"Okay, I can't breath dude" - Kelly Thomas
"Please, I can't breathe!"- Kelly Thomas
Meanwhile, Corporal Jay Cicinelli is on top of Thomas kneeing him in the side while Ramos has him in a choke hold demanding he put his hands behind his back.
"Help, help, I can't breathe!" -- Kelly Thomas
"Lay on your f*cking stomach" - Corporal Jay Cicinelli
"Relax dude,"- Officer Manuel Ramos
"I can't," - Kelly Thomas
"Relax,"- Officer Manuel Ramos
"Okay please, I can't f*cking breathe!"- Kelly Thomas
Officers then tazer Thomas, two more times as more officers arrive. Before the night is over six Fullerton officers will participate in the beating death of Kelly Thomas. Tazered two more times as Thomas answers, "Okay, okay, please sir." The police response to his plea is to hold the trigger while applying the tazer to Thomas once more. Clearly he is frantic and in fear for his life, a wounded captured animal instinctively seeking escape.
"No, no, oh no!" -- Kelly Thomas
Unidentified policeman to two new arriving policemen, "help us!"
Five policemen are now on top of Kelly Thomas; they have choked him, tackled him and beat him, all while repeatedly applying high voltage to him. As an officer says, "He must be on something." This is the first justification, a young man minding his own business is somehow responsible for his own beating death. He must be on something he says as five two hundred pound policemen are on top Kelly Thomas suffocating the life out of him.
Thomas cries out, "Dad, Dad! Daddy, Oh Dad, dad help me! Oh dad, dad, dad my legs are broken. Dad, help me, dad, dad, dad help me dad."
"There's f*cking blood everywhere" - unknown Fullerton Police officer.
"I can't breath, oh help me dad, help me,"- Kelly Thomas
"Dad they're killing me, dad" - Kelly Thomas
Thomas is losing strength now as the tone and intensity of his voice begins diminishing while still crying, "daddy, daddy, daddy." By the reflection of the police lights you can see a pool of body fluids puddling around Kelly Thomas on the sidewalk. His last words were "Help me, help me, help me."
"You did pretty good," Corporal Jay Cicinelli to Officer Ramos
"Hey, what is your name? Hey, what is your name?" unidentified police officer addressing the limp, unconscious and bleeding body of Kelly Thomas.
"Well, his chest is still going up and down," -- unidentified Fullerton Police officer
"I got out my tazer and I just sort of smashed his face to hell." -- Fullerton Policeman
After being beaten into a unconscious bloody pulp, police relent as the young man has entered into an unconsciousness from which he would never return. There was no apparent sense of urgency about getting this unconscious bleeding young man any sort of medical attention, instead he lays there unconscious on the cold pavement in a puddle of his own blood and urine
We watch film clips from the history channel, of brutal black uniformed thugs beating down innocents and making us reevaluate just what it actually means to be a human being. We think, what sort of mind could create such depravity? Yet this happened on the streets of an American city quite recently. So how is this any different, one group of lawless black shirted goons versus any another group of black shirted goons.
Ostensibly, the officers simply want to know his name. Only they already know him, he's a homeless guy who stays close to the bus station. Crazy huh, think about time the next time you see a "No Public Restroom" sign. You have to have money in your pocket to use the restroom in this country making the Bus station possibly the only restroom for miles.
Kelly Thomas was a diagnosed schizophrenic but on the night of his murder he was the sanest man involved in the confrontation. His death is a warning to us, a clarion call, the living proof of the Stanford experiment for all to see. Proof that while history doesn't always repeat, it does rhyme. A Brave New World class structure, it's okay to kill Gammas because there's so many of them. Murdered by the state, without judge or jury but just because they wanted to and because they could and there was no one to stop them.
"He's looks cyanotic now," - Paramedic
"Yeah, he's pretty cyanotic. -- Other Paramedic
Cyanosis is a physical sign causing bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes. Cyanosis is caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood. Cyanosis is associated with cold temperatures, heart failure, lung diseases, and smothering. It is seen in infants at birth as a result of heart defects, respiratory distress syndrome, or lung and breathing problems.
"He ain't dead, he ain't half dead," -- unidentified Fullerton Police Officer
"Your DAR (Tazer) is on the back of the trunk, it's got blood all over it."- Unidentified Fullerton Police Officer
"I got out my tazer and sort of smashed his face to hell." - Unidentified Fullerton Police Officer
Official cause of death; mechanical compression of the thorax
Kelly Thomas (April 5, 1974 -- July 10, 2011)
Officer Manuel Ramos - charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.
Corporal Jay Cicinelli - is charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony use of excessive force.