Kelly Thomas was a 37-year-old homeless man, who also happened to suffer from schizophrenia, living in Fullerton, California. When police in the area received word that somebody was breaking into cars near the town's bus station, Thomas caught their attention.
Officers approached Thomas in the bus depot, where he presumably lived, and tried to arrest him; Thomas supposedly resisted. The cops proceeded to Tase and beat him so badly that he was placed on life support, only to die three days later.
The problem with this whole mess, other than the fact that a man was beaten to death, is that a student nearby actually filmed the whole thing. And Thomas wasn't resisting arrest at all. He was actually crying out for his dad.
Mark Turgeon, the man who caught everything on tape, described Thomas as peaceful during his arrest. He said, "They kept beating him and Tasering him [when] he wasn't even moving." There are some people in the town who felt Thomas was scary and prone to yelling, but the majority of people paint him as a "very quiet and polite" man. I never met Thomas personally, but judging by the tape, I think I would probably agree with his description as peaceful.
The thing is, even if Thomas wasn't a peaceful man, even if he was violently resisting arrest, does that give police officers the right to kill him? There is no report of him having a weapon, so their lives clearly weren't in danger. These cops, who are staying mum on the incident, essentially gave a man the death penalty for failing to cooperate. If you want to see the really disturbing photo of what Thomas looked like, you can click here. Warning, though, really disturbing.
Police officers who treat anyone this way -- much less someone who is mentally ill and obviously needs help -- should have their badges taken away. They shouldn't be allowed to walk around with guns. This is no way to enforce the law or protect the citizens of their town. It's simply a way for them to get out their own anger. They are way more dangerous than Kelly Thomas ever could have been.
Watch the video -- which only features audio -- below.
Do you think this is right?