fredag 17 januari 2014

USA: Poliser mördade hemlös man vid extremt brutal och meningslös misshandel - Frikänns

Kelly Thomas, före och efter sitt möte med de rättsvårdande myndigheterna i USA - Fullerton Police...
An evidence photo of beating victim Kelly Thomas in hospital, as it was shown during a preliminary hearing on his death, for Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli at the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, California May 7, 2012. (Reuters / Joshua Sudock)

California cops acquitted
in homeless murder case

Publicerad den 13 jan 2014
Two Orange County, Calif. police officers were found not guilty on Monday of killing homeless man Kelly Thomas. Former Fullerton Officer Manuel Ramos was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, while former Corporal Jay Cicinelli was charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force. A third officer, Joseph Wolfe, will face trial in late January. Surveillance video shows the officers beating Thomas with their fists and the butts of their guns, and tasing him at least four times. Liz Wahl discusses the trial verdict with RT correspondent Ramon Galindo, who has kept a close eye on the case.

Kelly Thomas, before and after dealing with Fullerton Police.

Two uniformed killers walk free after beating and tasing unarmed homeless man to death

January 14, 2014  Source: Police State USA
FULLERTON, CA — In 2011, a group of police officers brutally beat an unarmed homeless man to death with clubs, fists, and repeated electric shocks.  

The story got national attention when the video of the attack showed the mentally ill man wailed for his father as police bludgeoned him mercilessly.  The violent story has reached its a heartbreaking conclusion when a jury announced that the police officers who had been charged with his death would all walk away as free men.  The frustrating story shows that even in the rare instances when police officers face criminal charges for their brutality, their position of power makes it incredibly easy for them to get away with murder.

Easy Prey

The incident took place approximately two and a half years ago on a hot summer night in Fullerton.  On July 5th, 2011, at approximately 8:30 p.m., police were investigating a report of parked cars that had been burglarized.  Their efforts brought them near a bus station in Fullerton where they approached a shirtless, “homeless-looking man.”   That man was a local transient named Kelly Thomas, 37, who suffered from schizophrenia.

An undated photo of Kelly Thomas' life on the streets.  (Source: Orange County Register)
An undated photo of Kelly Thomas’ life on the streets. (Source: Orange County Register)

Many officers of the department were familiar with Thomas, including Officer Manuel Ramos who initiated contact with him on the street corner.   Thomas was chronically homeless, had a history of drug problems, and had been the subject of police attention before.  With his mental illness, he lived by sifting through garbage cans and sleeping on benches.  But Thomas was not prone to violence, a department spokesperson later stated.

Police officers spent several minutes questioning Thomas.  They asked him if he had drank alcohol that day, and about the contents of his bag.  Thomas refused a search of his bag and swatted an officer’s hand away when someone tried to take it from him.  Police threatened to arrest Thomas for burglary.
At one point Thomas was seated on the ground, posing no threat, but police did not take the opportunity to arrest him.  Instead, Officer Manuel Ramos turned away from the Thomas and went to go put gloves on his hands.

“See my fists, they’re going to f*** you up,” menaced Officer Ramos when he returned.
An officer displayed his baton and twirled it.  Thomas backed away as they attempted to handcuff him.
Things escalated swiftly.  Thomas was violently taken to the ground.  They wrestled with him and bludgeoned him with fists and batons.  They called for backup.

More officers arrived and Thomas was attacked by an even more overwhelming force.  The third officer on the scene beat Thomas with the back of a taser and shocked him several times.  They hog tied him and slammed his face into concrete.  A total of six officers participated in subduing him as he squirmed on the ground, confused and pleading for help.

Fullerton police during the killing of Kelly Thomas.  (Source: Getty Images)
Fullerton police during the killing of Kelly Thomas. (Source: Getty Images)

A crowd gathered and gawked for the several long, agonizing minutes that police repeatedly beat and tasered Thomas until he was an unrecognizable bloody mess.
Audio of the incident captures Thomas’s voice desperately crying for his father and the distinctive sound of electric shocks repeatedly being used against him.   “Dad! … Dad! … Dad! … Dad!…” the man wailed.  He could be heard apologizing and saying he couldn’t breathe.
“Dad, they are killing me!” were among his last words.
Officers were recorded laughing with EMTs over Thomas’s listless body, next to the pool of blood shimmering in the streetlights.


A coverup began immediately as police confiscated cameras from witnesses of the assault.  Police even went so far as to rip the film out of one female witness’s camera after the incident.   But a surveillance camera mounted to the bus trailer captured the whole incident.

Kelly Thomas in a police-induced coma.
Kelly Thomas in a police-induced coma.

Two of the officers reported injuries after the assault.  When asked what parts of their bodies had been injured, Goodrich said, “It was more than just their fists,” but would not elaborate.
He suffered from severe head and neck injuries.  He remained in a coma for five days and was was taken off life-support on July 10th.

“When I first walked into the hospital, I looked at what his mother described as my son … I didn’t recognize him,” said Ron Thomas, Kelly’s father.
“This is cold-blooded, aggravated murder,” he said, after reviewing the available witness testimony and video evidence.   “My son was brutally beaten to death.”  Thomas said that his son was probably off his medication and didn’t understand officers’ commands.

Ron Thomas — himself a retired sheriff’s deputy from Orange County — immediately took up his son’s cause, demanding accountability and raising awareness.  At a Fullerton Town Council meeting the month after the killing, he stated, “I just wonder where my son’s rights went as a citizen.  Where were his rights?

- Listen to my son beg those officers, ‘Please, please, God, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ And the last words of his life, ‘Dad! Dad!’

- I want you to hear that for the rest of your life like I will.”

A report from NBC-4 News on July 27, 2011, stated that all but one of the offending officers were back on patrol at that time.  As pressure mounted and national attention grew, the six were placed on paid administrative leave.

Mark Turgeon, who witnessed the struggle, said this in an interview days after the attack:
Well, when I came up here, I saw two cops on top of a homeless guy right here, that I know.   They were pretty much beating him up, telling him to ‘stop resisting.’  And then more police came, and they started beating him with a flashlight in the back of his head.  And he wasn’t moving around at all, but more came and they started tasering him.  It was just a horrible sight.
The police were saying, ‘Quit resisting, quit moving, quit resisting arrest,’ you know, and the guy wasn’t moving.  He had his arm in front of him and his head was down already, and he wasn’t moving at all.  They just kept going.

They asked me to make a statement.  No one else really wanted to.  I told them, ‘You guys killed this guy. You murdered him.’  They said: ‘Well we don’t see it that way,’ but I saw the whole thing clear.

It was like a rampage.  It was like a feeding frenzy.  Like if you were to go watch National Geographic, where the wildebeest gets too close to the water, and the alligator—it was just terrible.  It was completely out of line, completely uncalled for, completely too much force.  It was brutal.

It didn’t seem like [the police] were angry but it seemed like they had a vengeance. And they were letting it out on him.  It was erratic.  It was like piranhas.
He wasn’t even moving, but he was yelling for his dad.  ‘Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad!’  When he went silent, everything stopped finally.

Rare Criminal Charges

Officer Manuel Ramos, 39, was the original person in contact with Thomas and was the officer who put on gloves before administering a beatdown.  He was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.  He was the first policeman in Orange County history to be charged with murder for an on-duty incident.

Fullerton Police Officers Jay Cicinelli and Manuel Ramos.
Fullerton Police Officers Jay Cicinelli and Manuel Ramos.

Officer Jay Cicinelli, 41,who used the stun gun to jolt Thomas and then used it as weapon to hit him in the face,  was charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault under color of authority.
Officer Joseph Wolfe, 37, was indicted by the Orange County grand jury on involuntary manslaughter and excessive-force charges a year after Ramos and Cicinelli were charged.

A trial was conducted for Ramos and Cicinelli beginning in December 2013 in front of Superior Court Judge William Froeberg and a jury of twelve.

“The people’s view of this is Kelly Thomas was acting in self defense,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “We don’t expect our police officers to mistreat people because they don’t like them. Our laws don’t allow police to take a dislike to someone and then administer a punishment. It’s for police to gather the evidence, make the arrest, if necessary.”  He added: “It’s one of the major differences between us and a police state.”

The attorneys representing the police made Kelly Thomas sound like a menacing figure who intimidated the police officers.   Defense lawyer Michael Schwartz said that Thomas’s wounds were caused by him “overexerting” himself while compassionate police officers restrained him.  Essentially, the Fullerton Police argued that Kelly Thomas killed himself.

Schwarz argued that his gruesome appearance in the hospital was exaggerated and mostly due to superficial wounds, and blamed his death on his heart, saying, “His heart couldn’t take it.”  Pathologists, however, confirmed that Kelly’s enlarged heart was not part of the cause of death, and that there were no signs of drugs in his body.

Schwartz added, “A tragedy? Yes. A crime? No. Sometimes tragedies happen in this world.”
“The guy wasn’t moving. He had his arm in front of him and his head was down already, and he wasn’t moving at all. They just kept going.”

The prosecution pressed on.  “There’s no statement of arrest,” said Rackauckas. “He never tells Kelly Thomas he’s going to be arrested, as opposed to being f—– up by the defendant’s fists.”
“(Kelly Thomas) was just trying to survive is all he was doing,” argued the district attorney.  “Look at  the kinds of things he was saying: ‘Please sir,’ ‘I’m  sorry,’ ‘I can’t breathe.’”
Fullerton Police Officer Stephen Rubio testified in court on the behalf of the defense.  He said that he had trained Cicinelli and Ramos, and that he watched the 33-minute surveillance video of Kelly Thomas’s death. 

He testified that the only “slight” violation of department policy that he witnessed was the use of profanity.
Prosecutors later brought in John Wilson, a FBI special agent who specialized in training and tactics.  “I have problems with everything that happened after Ramos put the gloves on,” he testified, saying that after studying the case for 60 hours he was convinced the force used by police was “clearly” excessive.

Wilson stunned the courtroom when he suggested that the Fullerton Police started the fight and Thomas had a right to end it using any force necessary to protect himself — including lethal force.  The comment drew hissing sounds from the department lackeys that filled the courtroom.

Operating As Trained

A pool of Kelly Thomas's blood.  (Source: Joshua Sudock, Orange County Register)
A pool of Kelly Thomas’s blood. (Source: Joshua Sudock, Orange County Register)

On January 13th, 2014, the jury reached its verdict after two days of deliberation.   Ramos and Cicinelli were acquitted of all charges, drawing tears of joy from police officers and tears of anger from the Thomas family and their supporters.  In light of this, the District Attorney dropped charges against Officer Joseph Wolfe as well.

“What this means is that all of us need to be very afraid now,” said Ron Thomas. “Its carte blanche for police officers everywhere to kill us, beat us, whatever they want. It has been proven right here today that they’ll get away with it.”

“What this means is that all of us need to be very afraid now. Its carte blanche for police officers everywhere to kill us, beat us, whatever they want.”

“I’m feeling horrible. You know, the injustice is just unbelievable,” he added. “Completely innocent on all counts — they brutally beat him to death, we’ve all seen that, but yet they’re innocent on all counts. Unreal.”
“I guess its legal to go out and kill,” said the victim’s mother, Cathy Thomas. “It breaks my heart. Part of me died that night with Kelly, part of me died that night, part of me died in court. I feel dead inside,” she said.  “They got away with murdering my son.”

Defense attorney John Barnett’s comments might be interpreted as sarcastic if they came out of anyone else’s mouth:  “These peace officers were doing their jobs. They were operating as they were trained.”
In regard to the burglary complaint, the only property recovered from Thomas was some discarded letters that he picked up out of a trash can.

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RT 2014-01-17
One of the former California police officers acquitted this week of beating to death a mentally ill homeless man wants to get his job back on the force. He and his partner were fired amid the investigation back in 2012.
“- I was wrongfully terminated. 

How do you argue with a jury of 12 who all agree on the same thing?” Jay Cicinelli, former corporal at Fullerton PD, told the Orange County Register on Tuesday.

Cicinelli was acquitted on Monday by a Santa Ana jury of charges of involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force in a trial that drew nationwide attention. His defense argued that he was acting within police guidelines and training.

The police altercation with Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless person diagnosed with schizophrenia, happened on July 5, 2011. Footage of the incident shown in court showed Cicinelli repeatedly hitting Thomas’ face with the butt of his Taser.

Thomas was repeatedly saying he was sorry, pleaded for help and called for his dad, a former sheriff’s deputy, during the encounter.

He died five days later from asphyxia due to chest compression and injuries to the head and chest he sustained in the struggle, according to a coroner’s report.

Cicinelli would be fighting an uphill battle to get reinstated at the force, admits one of his attorneys, Michael Schwartz. But his client’s identity is to a great degree relying on his being a police officer.

His other attorney Zachery Lopes said the process to get Cicinelli his position again was begun before the trial, but essentially remained on hold pending the outcome of the court case.

A federal investigation into the case by the FBI is currently underway. Thomas’s father Ron said on Tuesday he hopes the investigation would result in rights charges against the officers.
 USA: Poliser mördade hemlös man vid extremt brutal och meningslös misshandel - Frikänns

3 kommentarer:

  1. Police officer beats 4 year old, puts him in critical condition

    1. Merci, har lagt in det här:

  2. --Texas cops handcuff man after he gave change to homeless person--

    January 17, 2014

    You may want to think twice next time you consider giving a homeless person some change, if one Texas man’s experience is any indication.

    Houston resident Greg Snider claims he was arrested and held for more than an hour after local police mistakenly targeted him as a criminal, all for giving a homeless man a few quarters.

    Snider said he had pulled into a local parking lot in order to make a phone call when a homeless man came up to him and asked for some spare cash. Snider claims he gave the man 75 cents and left to continue on his way.

    "I had no idea at all what was about to happen," he told KPRC Local 2 News.

    As soon as Snider merged onto a local freeway, however, police followed him with flashing lights and sirens, ordering him to pull over.

    “He's screaming. He's yelling. He's telling me to get out of the car. He's telling me to put my hands on the hood,” Snider said to KPRC. “They're like, 'We saw you downtown. We saw what you did.’ And I was like, 'Are you kidding me? I gave a homeless man 75 cents.'" [...]



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