A courtroom gasped, a mother sobbed and a former police officer hugged his attorney as the judge acquitted police officers in the death of Kelly Thomas. During the summer of 2011, Thomas, a homeless man was accustomed to being shooed off by police. Thomas reportedly, may had schizophrenia and was homeless, consistently seen roaming the streets. During one particular day, he encountered officers Manual Ramos and Jay Cicinelli. Two bad cops, unable to control their ability to handle a mentally ill, homeless man beat him to death. Video (see end of article) showed the events leading up to the event. Yet, those same officers were acquitted of any wrong-doing. The case of Kelly Thomas causes questions as to the green light now given to bad cops.
In a society built on the mighty dollar, a healthy dose of stress and within a nation where danger lurks at every corner, the police are earning a tarnished image. The real job of cops is not to “protect and serve.” The truth of that fact can be found in cases like Warren v. District of Columbia. It can be verified by reading the reports on the case to show cops have no fundamental right to the citizens of this country to protect their interests. Now it appears to have also shined a bright light on behaviors that will increase.
Now in one of the most controversial cases to hit in some years, the public is stunned with the jurors decision. Thomas was a mentally ill man, roaming the streets. He died at the hands of Ramos and Cincinelli. Both officers were facing involuntary manslaughter, excessive force and a second-degree murder charge was on Ramos. Yet, both men will walk away today as free men. A mother quietly and deeply grieves over a child she once held, she once cherished who died as two uniformed officers beat him for 10 minutes straight. Recordings of Thomas hit the courtoom, of the grown man sobbing, calling out for his daddy. Ron Thomas, the father of the victim stated his son was murdered.
When handling the mentally ill in the country, has this case just given the green light to cops to repeat bad behavior? Ron Thomas says so, advising the verdict now provides police the “carte blanche” to start bullying the public. There has been a significant up-rise in the complaints of excessive use from officers, a significant rise in how the public is managed. This is now going beyond the level of racial profiling, as races across the spectrum are uniting to discover a broken foundation.
The same officers – many who sit on the taxpayer payrolls, lurking behind shadows, at times drive expensive vehicles and are paid a salary higher than most middle class citizens, are not always the good guys. The case of people versus police is continually building. It seemingly is appearing that police officers are becoming the long-arm of a government puppet show, to coerce the public by any means possible. Then they are acquitted.
Individuals stoically drive the streets, many well-behaved, others not so much. Does that give the right to police to manage those citizens any way they please? Is not the officer of law to protect the identity of law by upholding it? When did beating/tasing a mentally ill man for 10 minutes become a beneficial factor of acquittal? The jury will certainly be scrutinized to configure what really happened when a case is presented with absolutely no punishment for these officers.
Ramos could be seen on video putting on gloves and shaking his fists in Thomas’ face, prior to the beating the homeless man. While Thomas struggled, was the perfect remedy to use the butt end of a stun gun to slam into the victim’s face and head? The blunt use broke several bones in Thomas’ face. The cause of death? The pathologist released a statement, stating Thomas died, in part from asphyxiation, a direct result from the injuries he sustained from the police officers.
John Barnett, the defense attorney gave his client, Ramos, a bear hug once the verdict was read. In addition, he made a comment that seemed tacky for the grief of the victim’s family. He stated the “peace officers” were just doing their jobs and they were “operating as they were trained.” In addition, Barnett states his clients had no “malice in their hearts.” The statement from the attorney only drives the wedge of disappointment further.
Today, two parents try to understand how instead of responding with help, police officers responded with a brutal beating resulting in the death of their schizophrenic son. Following the death of Thomas, protests escalated around the city of Fullerton, resulting in the police chief stepping down. Thomas was no angel, this article is not here to portray that – this article is to demonstrate how responding to the mentally ill has now taken a turn for the worse in America.
Kelly Thomas died at the hands of police officers. A conclusion a law professor from Chapman University School of Law, sees as no surprise. Professor Lawrence Rosenthal was also a former federal prosecutor and states convictions against cops are rare and police officers are more than likely to receive an acquittal. This sad prospect holds very little promise of melding and bridging positive relationships between police and their communities.
An FBI spokeswoman from the Los Angeles division, stated now the state court trial is concluded, federal investigators will take over the case. Laura Eimiller states the investigators reviewing the case will “determine whether further investigation is warranted at the federal level.” The Thomas’ walked from the courtroom dismayed in a system that failed them twice. This case shows a further declination of handling the mentally ill and the homeless.
This acquittal of the California police from the Kelly Thomas death case provides a green light to bad cops and unacceptable behavior. It upholds the decree that officers should not have to follow the same process of self-control bestowed upon the citizens of this country. This does not illustrate all cops are bad, but the bad ones know who they are. This will be a controversial issue for weeks to come. Thoughts on this case? Share in the comments.
[Editors Note] – the link depicting the events surrounding Kelly Thomas’ beating is severe and was added as a link at the end of the article. Viewer discretion is advised and not intended for younger audiences.