Unfortunately, history will always repeat itself and the police will always beat up people. So it’s no surprise that twenty years after the Rodney King beatings, which led to the 1992 L.A. Riots, we are once again talking about excessive force when it comes to coward police officers who hide behind their badges in the name of justice.
Taking matters into their own hands, Fullerton, California police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli are standing trial for the death of Kelly Thomas, 37, a homeless man who was beaten so severely that he slipped into a coma and later died from his injuries.
In surveillance video taken aboard an Orange County Transportation Authority bus, you can see the officers pounding Thomas’ face as they hog-tied him while he cried out for his father.
The video was made public on Tuesday as prosecutors showed the graphic visual in a courtroom to determine whether Ramos and Cicinelli should stand trial in the death of Thomas.
Last July, Ramos responded to a call of a car break-in and found Thomas walking near the scene of the crime. He began to question Thomas, then called for back-up.
In the video you can hear Ramos say the following to Thomas:
“Put your hands on your (expletive) knees…put your feet out in front of you.”
“Well, which one is it, dude?” Thomas said.
“Both,” Ramos responded.
“I can’t do both,” Thomas retorted.
“Well, you’re gonna have to learn real quick,” Ramos told him.
After barking out a few more orders, Ramos told Thomas with “you see my fists? . . . They are getting ready to fuck you up”. The two exchange expletives, Thomas gets up and the batons come out.
“Get on the ground,” one officer yelled.
What I saw next made me sick to my stomach; officers began pummeling their batons on Thomas’ head and body while piling on top of him.
You can hear Thomas screaming at the officers “OK, I’m sorry.”
After repeatedly ordering Thomas to put his hands behind his back, another officer knees Thomas.
“OK man, I can’t breathe,” Thomas said.
Minutes later, Cicinelli ordered Thomas to stop resisting. Then he used his Taser on Thomas several times. Thomas could be heard screaming and begging the officers to stop while he screams out for his father, crying for help.
Ramos is now on trial for second-degree murder, while his fellow officer Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and both have pleaded not guilty.
The disturbing nature of the video only shows that when it comes to training these officers, it doesn’t work.
Thomas remained peaceful as he was being ordered by Ramos to assume the position, but Ramos’ constant elevated threats of violence were un-called for. He yelled at Thomas “you see my fists? . . . They are getting ready to fuck you up.” What officer that’s supposed to protect and serve threatens an unarmed, shirt-less homeless man?
Adding insult to injury, Thomas was diagnosed as being a schizophrenic.
At the hands of Ramos and Cicinelli, Thomas suffered brain injuries, shattered facial bones, broken ribs and a crushed thorax and was taken off life support by his family, dying five days after his beating.
When cases like this come across my desk, I’m never surprised, but what does surprise me is when the officers get off – as in the case of Sean Bell and Rodney King. Hopefully that doesn’t happen in the case of Kelly Thomas.
I want to see these officers prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and be subjected to the same punishment as if they were ordinary citizens – not have the badge they wear blind the process of justice.
Shaka Griffith is the News/Politics Editor of GlobalGrind.com Follow him on twitter @Darealshaka..