Fullerton city leaders have their hands full of angry residents and civil rights activists over the beating death of Kelly Thomas, a 37 year old mentally-ill homeless man, at the hands of six Fullerton police officers. The beating, and the severity of injuries that beating caused, would have been called murder weeks ago if those responsible were civilians. At a minimum, those involved would have been arrested.
On Tuesday, hundreds filled the Council chambers to demand justice for Kelly Thomas. It took weeks for the Police Chief Michael Sellers to place the officers involved in the beating on administrative leave. For some unknown reason, the Chief couldn’t figure out that placing any of these officers back on duty while investigations by the department, District Attorney, and U.S. Justice Department were pending, was a bad idea. It took calls from members of the City Council to get the Chief to move.
Yesterday, Councilwoman Sharon Quirk-Silva in an email to the City Manager called on Chief Sellers to resign immediately. “I think that the chief is a very likable man that has done his best, but you have to be out there,” Quirk-Silva said. “If the chief, the face of the Fullerton Police Department, was out there, that would have helped.”
Tracy Wood writes a compelling story about Kelly’s father Ron Thomas today titled ”Dad! Dad! Dad!” where we learn about Kelly’s life before he was beaten to death. This story will not go away any time soon. It has finally gained national attention that has draw a consistent public response of shock and outrage.
There is even a Facebook Group “A Memorial and Call to Action For Kelly Thomas” dedicated to Kelly’s memory. One of the comments from Jeff LeTourneau, a resident of Brea, provided the inspiration for the title of this post.
Those who wonder how such a horrific event came to be need only to look at the decision to “clean up the downtown entertainment district” imposed after complaints from businesses and nearby neighbors. …A push here, a shove there a taunt and threat by roving bands of “newly empowered offficers” and a Machevellian police state ensued. Police officers, even the worst of them as seems to be the case here, are human. You look the other way for political and community support in one instance and you give tacit approval for the illegal and unethical behavior to continue as smattering of policy. There is plenty of blame to go around here. Time to shout that The Emperor has no clothes.
One can only hope that this tragedy eventually has some positive outcome from a change in behavior of cit officials and law enforcement to the treatment of the homless in our commmunities.