"They Murdered My Son and they got away with it"—

The Murderers of Kelly Thomas—Once Again, Killer Cops Walk Free

January 16, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


January 13, 2014, Fullerton, California. Another punch in the gut is delivered by the American system of injustice as the two Fullerton cops on trial for killing Kelly Thomas walk out of court free—a jury declaring "not guilty on all counts" of second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and excessive use of force.

This verdict is a message being sent to the masses of people in this country, not just by the defense and the jury in this case, but by the rulers of this country: Police repression, brutality and murder is not only perfectly fine, to be expected, and accepted, but is a "standard operating procedure." They are telling us, "This is going to continue to happen, to intensify, so shut up and take it!"

On July 5, 2011, Thomas, a white, 37-year old, mentally ill, homeless man, was jumped by six Fullerton cops in the local bus terminal. He was beaten with batons, tasered multiple times over and over, and when the electric charge ran out the cop beat him with the butt of the taser gun. The beating so disfigured his face that he was completely unrecognizable from his pictures. He died 5 days later, after never regaining consciousness.

This murder was caught on video and it showed the savagery and brutality of the beating inflicted upon Kelly. You could hear him calling out for his father and saying he could not breathe, but the beating continued until he became unconscious. One of the murdering cops, Manuel Ramos, can be seen in the video putting on a pair of Latex gloves, making two fists and telling Thomas, "Now you see my fists? They're getting ready to fuck you up." While the other murdering cop, Jay Cicinelli, later recounted, "I got to the end of my Taser and I probably...I just probably smashed his face to hell."

Protests of hundreds, demanding justice for Kelly and the arrest of the cops who killed him, took place over several months in Fullerton. It was due to these protests that the cops were finally indicted, the Chief of Police resigned, and three city council members were recalled.

The video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fs4iZtvYZg) of the beating was clearly evidence that Kelly had been viciously beaten to death by the cops. Plus the coroner listed the cause of death as brain death caused by asphyxiation from the officers piling on Kelly's chest. A person writing to the Orange County Register about another police murder wrote, "This case of police justifying a killing of an unarmed man reminds me of Kelly Thomas, who was beaten to death last year. Luckily in that situation they had many witnesses and videotape to bring a case against the officers."

But this is America and now in America, even clear video evidence of cops murdering people does not result in convictions. Because in America, as we have learned with the Rodney King beating and the Oscar Grant trial and Trayvon Martin murder trial, evidence and the truth does not mean shit when it comes to cops and vigilantes. In America, trials of murdering cops end up with blaming the victim, with the prosecutors forgetting how to prosecute, and with laws and rules that give cops the right "to use deadly force." This is what happened in the Kelly Thomas murder trial as clear evidence of the murder gave way to an argument about whether the cops adhered to proper standards, to attacking Kelly Thomas, painting him as a violent person due to his mental illness and as a drug user, and with the prosecutors, who openly admitted that they failed to prosecute in a way that would show a "burden of proof."

What's shown by this trial and the verdict is that it is perfectly legitimate for the cops to use "illegitimate deadly force." That was the cops' defense; that it's perfectly okay to do this. "They (the cops) were just doing their job," said the defense attorneys. "They were trained to do this." Think about it, they were trained to savagely brutalize, pummel, and murder Kelly Thomas. If you don't believe that's what they did, then watch the video and look at pictures of his face. Yes, this is the reality of America for millions of people in this country.

But we are not going to stand by and let this shit continue to go down. We are not going to stop fighting against this until we put an end to it once and for all. "The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE. And they CAN be." ("The Revolution We Need...The Leadership We Have," A Message, And A Call, From The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, Revolution #170, July 19, 2009.)

Ron Thomas, Kelly Thomas' father and a former Orange County Sheriff's deputy, said he was stunned by the verdict, and that he'd "never seen such a miscarriage of justice." "It's carte blanche for police officers everywhere to beat us, kill us" and "they'll get away with it." ("Former California Police Officers Found Not Guilty Of Killing Homeless Man" by Gillian Flaccus, Huffington Post, January 14, 2014) Kelly's mother said, "They murdered my son and they got away with it."

We say no more Kelly Thomases, no more Oscar Grants, no more Trayvon Martins!

"If you can't handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation, but get off the earth. Get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled this situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome. And frankly, if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people's police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That's what you're supposed to do if you're actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and you put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people. Fuck all this 'serve and protect' bullshit! If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene. They could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it's been in power has handled—and would again handle—this kind of thing, valuing the lives of the masses of people. As opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, murdering them without provocation, without necessity, because exactly the more arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses.  And that's one of the reasons why they like to engage in, and have as one of their main functions to engage in, wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people." (Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, BAsics 2:16, on the police murder of Tyisha Miller.)

On Monday night after the verdict, a protest of close to 100 people took place near the site where Kelly was murdered, then people marched to the police department. People shouted "Justice for Kelly Thomas. We saw the video."  Signs read "No More Killer Cops" and "End Police Brutality." People in Fullerton are planning a protest for Saturday, January 18th at 10am at the Fullerton Police Department. We'll be there and encourage others to be there too.


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