Here's a question for the parents out there: For you, what's the worst event imaginable, your ultimate nightmare?... Probably something close to: A group of men methodically beating your child to death, as he screams out for you to come save him... but you're not there.
Kelly Thomas was in his late 20’s when he first developed the symptoms of schizophrenia. As is common among schizophrenics, he struggled in the following years, going on and off of medication, as well as on and off the streets. By 37, Thomas was homeless, living in Fullerton, California. He had long hair, was probably malnourished (only weighing around 140 pounds) and was described by locals as “gentile” and “child-like”.
On the day after Independence Day, 2011, Fullerton Police approached Thomas while investigating a report that someone was breaking into cars. When the police tried to search his backpack, he attempted to run, but officers chased him down and tackled him in the street.
Once on the ground, cops proceeded to ruthlessly taze him, beat him with flashlights and tazers, and deliver repeated knee-drops to his head and throat… all while the mentally-ill Kelly Thomas lay helpless in the street, screaming in pain.
Before police finally beat him into a comma (from which he never recovered) a bystander’s cell phone video captured Thomas’s last words: “Dad! Dad! Dad!” he cried out for his father to come save his life. Unfortunately, his father wasn’t on the scene. The police, apparently unmoved by Thomas’s pleas, continued beating him until he was limp and brain dead:
Minutes after the beating ended, a few eye-witnesses boarded a nearby bus and discussed what they’d just seen. Their conversation was captured on the bus's cameras:
This is what 6 armed and trained police officers did to one unarmed, malnourished, 140 pound mentally-ill man:
Right now you're probably thinking "Jesus fucking Christ... those cops are definitely in jail...right?" No, of course they’re not in jail... Have you met the government? The City’s spent the last month trying to cover this whole thing up (apparently, killing homeless people was never such a big deal). There are complaints that the District Attorney's Office is dragging its feet... they took 3 weeks to start interviewing witnesses.
The beating reportedly took place under one of the city's light post security cameras, and after the incident, the officers involved sat down together and watched the tape (which has not been released) while they wrote their police reports to make sure they got their stories straight. Even though the Police Department had video (from day one) of exactly what happened that night, in the days following the beating only one officer was suspended. The other five officers involved weren't even put on leave until those 3rd-party videos began surfacing and media outrage forced the issue, almost a month after Thomas's death.
Luckily, the Feds are taking over the investigation... So, hopefully these cops will be tried for murder, and spend the rest of their lives in Federal “pound me in the ass” prison… but at this point, no guarantees.
Thomas's murder is a perfect example of why "bad cops" are so much worse than bad civilians... If a gang is beating a man in the streets, bystanders can call the cops, or even step in themselves. But when cops are murdering a man, bystanders wouldn't dare step in to stop it themselves. When the system designed to promote justice becomes the ultimate tool of injustice, people have nowhere to turn.
So we need a new standard for judging police officers... Call it the "Kelly Thomas Standard"... From now on for someone to be counted as a "good cop", it's not enough to simply "not do bad". They must actively try to stop the bad cops (that's what you're fucking paying them for). Otherwise, they're just an enabler.
Unfortunately (at this point) it seems like the breakdown is: Around 10% of cops are bad, 80% stand by and do nothing, enabling and covering for bad cops, and 10% of cops are actually good (they're willing to stand up to the bad cops, even if it costs them their job.)