A homeless man was brutally beaten on the streets of Fullerton. Medical records showed the man, Kelly Thomas, had broken bones throughout his facial cavity and eventually choked on his own blood, according to an article in the LA Times.
The article stated that Thomas arrived at the hospital in a comatose state and was pulled off of life support five days later. The loss of his life resulted from an altercation with two members of the Fullerton Police Department.
Last Monday, the Orange County jury found the two former officers of the Fullerton Police Department, Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, not guilty in beating Thomas to death.
Evidence presented by the defense attorneys showed a grainy, black-and-white surveillance tape in which Thomas initiated the altercation by acting increasingly violent towards the police officers.
The jury found this evidence compelling enough to find the acts of Ramos and Cicinelli excusable. However, the hundreds of citizens protesting outside the courthouse with signs stating, “Justice for Kelly Thomas,” would probably disagree.
The same video that the defense attorney presented showed Thomas being brutally beaten while the officers taunted Thomas.
“Now you see my fists? They’re getting ready to f**k you up,” Ramos said in the video.
Thomas replied with, “Start punching, dude.”
Ramos then slipped on a pair of latex gloves and began to beat Thomas’ face repeatedly while a group of fellow Fullerton police officers wrestled Thomas to the floor.
Thomas was defenseless on the floor as the group of police officers beat him with their fists, batons and the butt of a stun gun.
Ramos’ defense attorney, John Barnett, told reporters, “These peace officers were doing their jobs. They did what they were trained to do.”
A group of armed police officers beating a helpless man to death is not what peace officers do, but the jury seemed to believe so.
After he died, it was revealed that Thomas had also been pre-diagnosed with Schizophrenia, a common disease found amongst transients.
The diagnosis may prove as an explanation for Thomas’ erratic behavior towards the police officers.
This sentencing harps closely to the George Zimmerman case from July 2013.
In this incident, though, Zimmerman was an armed man that shot and killed a young, black man, named Trayvon Martin. That jury acquitted Zimmerman of all charges.
As cases such as these continue to come forward, I can’t help but lose faith in the justice system.
There are men with guns who kill roaming free, while the dead and defenseless are left buried under a pile of injustice.
From possibly the most infamous police brutality case in 1991 with Rodney King and the ongoing incidents today, there seems to be a lack of progress in justice for all.
As we see violence running amuck amongst those with authority and without consequence, are we to allow armed officers to have their way with us and hope for the best in court?
If murder is considered excusable, will men of authority be given a green pass, perpetuating this trend?
And how many incidents such as these are there that aren’t caught on tape?