Art Pedroza: The Thomas verdict proves that nothing has changed and we can’t trust the cops or the D.A.

Kelly Thomas

Written by Art Pedroza and published in the New Fullerton

Inside a packed, tense Santa Ana courtroom, former Fullerton Police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli have been found not guilty of murdering Kelly Thomas, the homeless Fullerton resident who died after being brutally beaten by Ramos, Cicinelli, and several other officers in July 2011, according to the OC Weekly .

How the jury reached such a stupid verdict is simply impossible to comprehend. Just watch the security video atop this post and tell me how in the world what those Fullerton cops did to Kelly Thomas, when they literally beat him to a pulp, wasn’t murder?

Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee reacted to the verdict by stating that “Over the course of the past two and a half years the City of Fullerton has taken the initiative to implement reforms to our police department so it can provide the best possible service to our community.”

But is the Fullerton Police Department truly reformed? How in the world will anyone ever trust any of them ever again?

How did the Fullerton Police Department deal with the Kelly Thomas trial? By inviting residents to attend a “Citizens Academy” where “residents curious about the policies of their police department have a place to go.”

“It’s a great opportunity for residents to understand why we do things the way we do,” said Sgt. Jeff Stuart. “It allows people to see exactly what goes on during any given situation and what goes into our decision-making.”

Oh we saw what you cops did in the Kelly Thomas situation and we saw the results of your decision-making!

The Fullerton Police Department owes the entire community an apology but don’t expect to see one on their Facebook Page or their blog. All you will find on those sites is pro-cop propaganda.

Read more here

Art Pedroza publishes numerous blogs in Orange County and is a member of the Libertarian Party of Orange County’s Executive Committee.

18 thoughts on “Art Pedroza: The Thomas verdict proves that nothing has changed and we can’t trust the cops or the D.A.

  1. Andy

    Just more of the results of those wonderful “law enforcement officers” that Jim Gray thinks that we should all respect and admire.

  2. Wes Wagner

    The LP was ahead of the curve on:

    1) recognizing the rights of all adults to build families in whatever configuration they desire
    2) end foreign aggression
    3) end the war on drugs
    4) respecting the rights of women to choose

    We are also ahead of the curve on:
    5) ending the war on poverty
    6) ending the police state

    My ask of everyone is that this time instead of being fearful and watering down our message just a few years before we are on the cusp of victory and thus destroying our credibility, we show bold leadership and be unwavering and uncompromising on these ideas whose time is coming soon.

  3. Nicholas Sarwark

    A jury verdict in a criminal trial proves that 12 people were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that all elements of the crime were proven. Reading more into it than that is a fool’s errand in this case, in the Zimmerman case, in the OJ Simpson case, or any other high-profile criminal trial.

    Whether we can trust police officers or District Attorneys is a separate question and unrelated to the verdict in this particular case.

    I would also note that it’s a positive development that the officers who killed Kelly Thomas were brought to trial. Many District Attorneys would decline and have declined to prosecute in similar circumstances.

  4. Starchild

    Sick and disgusting. Good for Art Pedroza and the Orange County Libertarian Party for speaking out, and Jill Pyeatt for posting this here.

    Notice how the violent part of the incident began: It wasn’t good enough for the cop (Ramos?) to just make Kelly Thomas sit on the ground — he had to have him seated in a particular manner which is not very comfortable, with both his hands and his feet out in front of him, and kept harassing him about this until Kelly moved to physically rebel against this petty power-tripping, at which point they had the excuse they needed to get violent with him.

    Lest anyone think making people sit in that particular position is some kind of standard, necessary police procedure, it isn’t. I’ve seen enough police encounters to know that sometimes officers tell people to stand, sometimes they tell them to sit, and sometimes they tell them to lie down, everything but “fetch” (the “roll over and beg” part came later in this case). When they tell people to sit, they don’t automatically dictate that particular pose.

    They should not be engaging in giving those kind of nitpicking commands unless there is a clear necessity, and unless they’ve already told a person he or she is being detained, and if so, for what reason.

  5. paulie

    Will Grigg writes:

    Kelly Thomas died as a result of being beaten, tasered, and suffocated by a thugswarm of police on the July 5, 2011. A jury in Orange County, California — an authoritarian conservative community in which the “Support Your Local Police” movement took root and flourished in the mid-1960s — has acquitted the two ringleaders of that police gang, Manuel Ramos and Ken Cincinelli, of all charges arising from that atrocity.

    Manuel Ramos, who harassed, taunted, and terrorized Thomas for nearly a half-hour before the beating began, was charged with second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and faced up to 15 years in prison. Cincinelli, charged with criminal assault, confronted a four-year prison term. Both were fired from the Fullerton Police Department following a public outcry.

    “You see these fists?” Ramos grunted at Kelly, a mentally ill homeless man who was sitting peacefully on the curb. “They’re about to f**k you up.” Such language comes easily to Ramos, who in both his private and professional lives is an enthusiast of gang culture. Thomas had done nothing to warrant attention on the part of the police, let alone a violent arrest. He was beaten with fists, batons, and the butt end of a taser; at various times during the assault, all six police officers — nearly three-quarters of a ton of privileged, tax-fattened, costumed suet — piled on top of the 160-pound man, crushing his chest and causing terminal asphyxia. Thomas died crying out for this father, retired Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Thomas.

    The Department had initially claimed that neither Ramos nor Cincinelli, nor the six other officers who joined in the orgy of officially sanctioned violence, had violated department policy. During the trial, Corporal Stephen Rubio, a training officer at the at the Fullerton PD, insisted that the actions of the officers — including the sadistic threat by Ramos — were compatible with department policy. Defense “expert” witness Stephen Karch, a paid shill who flogs spurious medical theories on behalf of abusive cops, testified that the police beating didn’t kill Thomas, but rather that the mentally troubled man simply chose that time to die from an undiagnosed heart condition.

    John Barnett, the police union attorney who represented the killer cops, insisted that the beating was an appropriate response to Thomas’s pathetic, doomed struggle to save his life. In his closing argument, Orange County DA Tony Rakauckus emphasized that Thomas had the right to resist an unlawful arrest, and to defend himself against the criminal violence initiated by Ramos and Cincincelli.

    The jury validated the argument that the act of resisting such criminal violence is a capital offense worthy of summary execution. Apart from the transparent sophistries offered by Dr. Karch, and the inventive restructuring of the crime by Barnett — who invited the jury to pretend that the unarmed, terrified Thomas posed a threat to a half-dozen armed police officers — the defense had no case. The only way a guilty verdict could be avoided was if the jury, which was drawn from a population deeply tainted (yes, that is the proper word) with Law & Order conservatism, would accept the premise that police have an unqualified license to kill anybody upon whom they focus their malign attention.

    Rather than upholding the law, the jury supported “law enforcement” — thereby fulfilling what the Support Your Local Police Committee describes as a moral obligation of citizens:

    “The local police are not your enemy. Your committee is not here to attack them, blame them for violating the Constitution or your civil liberties…. We urge all responsible citizens in this community to…[s]upport our local police in the performance of their duties [and] oppose all harassment or interference with law enforcement personnel as they carry out their assigned tasks…. [We must accept] our responsibilities to our local police, to defend them against unjust attacks, make them proud and secure in their vital profession, and to offer them our support in word and deed wherever possible.”

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    “A jury verdict in a criminal trial proves that 12 people were not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that all elements of the crime were proven.”

    It proves no such thing.

    Sometimes juries find one way or another contrary to facts facts for which there is no reasonable doubt. It’s called “nullification.”

    Sometimes — acquitting someone clearly of a victimless “crime,” for example — jury nullification is a great thing.

    Other times — acquitting clearly guilty murderers because e.g. they are cops or it’s Jim Crow and the accused murdered a black victim, for example — it’s a bad thing.

    In this case, in which there was no reasonable doubt whatsoever that the thugs murdered their victim in public view and on video, the jury acquitted them because they were cops.

  7. paulie

    I wouldn’t call this nullification. It’s actually a case of the opposite, slavishly following established authority.

  8. Matt Cholko

    I try not to form opinions on criminal court cases like this, as I am not in the courtroom and do not have anywhere near all of the evidence. But, this one sure does smell bad. The stench has reached me here in VA.

  9. paulie

    If we were to be precluded from having an opinion about any verdict unless we were on the jury that would be unnaturally stifling. Do I need to serve in congress or the legislature to have an opinion of legislation? Can non-bureaucrats and non-code enforcers have an opinion of regulations? Must I be a doctorate holding and licensed psychiatrist and formally examine a person to determine that they are what is coloquially known as completely crazy?

  10. Andy

    I’d be willing to bet that the jury was purposefully stacked with people who are bobble headed conformists.

  11. Andy

    “The local police are not your enemy. Your committee is not here to attack them, blame them for violating the Constitution or your civil liberties…. We urge all responsible citizens in this community to…[s]upport our local police in the performance of their duties [and] oppose all harassment or interference with law enforcement personnel as they carry out their assigned tasks…. [We must accept] our responsibilities to our local police, to defend them against unjust attacks, make them proud and secure in their vital profession, and to offer them our support in word and deed wherever possible.”

    Wow, what a crock of shit.

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