Six Fullerton police officers, involved in the deadly beating of a homeless mentally ill man, have been placed on involuntary administrative leave.
On July 5, these six officers brutally beat 37-year-old Kelly Thomas, a reportedly “gentle” man, so ferociously that he slipped into a coma and later died.
The Murder Of A Homeless, Unarmed Man
It began when the police in Fullerton, California, responded to reports of a man trying to break into cars, and soon they made contact with Mr. Thomas. At the end of the altercation, Mr. Thomas, 37, lay unconscious and severely beaten, and he was taken to a hospital. Pictures of him at the hospital show his face swollen, bruised and bloody. He was taken off life support and died five days later.
You can see a photo of Kelly Thomas photo taken at the hospital before he died by clicking here. Be warned, though, that this photo is pretty horrible.
Beaten So Badly, His Own Father Did Not Recognize Him
Kelly Thomas’ father, a retired Orange County police officer, did not recognize his own son when he went to watch him die at the UC Irvine Medical Center.
From The Los Angeles Times:
Thomas’ father, a retired Orange County sheriff’s deputy, has asserted that officers used excessive force to subdue his son, who was unarmed, slight and of medium height.
After seeing his son’s injuries and talking with witnesses, Thomas told the Register his son “was brutally beaten to death.”
“When I first walked into the hospital, I looked at what his mother described as my son … I didn’t recognize him,” Thomas said. “This is cold-blooded, aggravated murder.”
Thomas, citing witnesses, said officers hit his son with the butts of flashlights even after he stopped moving.
He said his son was probably off his medication and didn’t understand officers’ commands.
A spokesman for the Orange County Coroner’s office declined to discuss the case but said an autopsy of Thomas had been completed and the results forwarded to investigators.
The case was initially hushed up, but as more information has surfaced, including a couple of videos, public outrage has grown.
Angry Fullerton Residents Demand Resignation Of Police Chief
At a Fullerton City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 2, hundreds of angry residents jammed into the overflowing council chambers, assailing their elected officials, criticizing police for the death of Thomas, calling the Police Department corrupt, demanding the resignation of the police chief as well as the recall several council members.
On Wednesday, in response to the increasing chorus of public criticism, the department issued a terse statement: “This was tragic for our community. We are in the midst of an investigation.”
Still, what exactly happened on the night of July 5 remains the subject of multiple investigations, and to date the police have not offered a clear report of what occurred, with the Orange County district attorney’s investigation continuing. The FBI is now also involved in an investigation.
Please click here to sign our petition telling Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to thoroughly investigate and prosecute the officers involved in the death of Kelly Thomas.
You can see video from the night of the fatal beating here:
Photo Credit: connor395 via Creative Commons
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