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Opening the Floodgates of Justice in Fullerton... SlightlyOp-Ed by Tim King Salem-News.com
'Second-degree" Murder for one officer and a lesser charge for a second in beating death... four still on the street.
(SALEM, Ore.) - The gang-like police officer beating death of 37-year old Kelly Thomas, who cried out for mercy, and for his father as Fullerton cops savagely struck and shocked him into a mortally injured state that resulted in his death five days later, is a terrible reality for the citizens of this city to bear. Mr. Thomas suffered from schizophrenia. I'm sure we all know somebody who suffers from mental health issues, it is the hand some people are dealt.
Now, months after the man's death, two Fullerton Police officers involved in the high-profile beating and Taser-related death of Kelly Thomas face charges.
One of the men in the brutal, obscene, and videotaped assault on 5 July 2011, faces second-degree Murder, and another faces a charge of Homicide. Big frigging deal, you know what I mean? What about the other police officers (at least four) who were there, and how was it not their moral responsibility to end the bloody police orgy forced upon this man? Since when do accomplices in a Murder get off without a charge when they stood feet away from the crime, even participated in it? I have news for you, you need a badge to get away with breaking the law.
Here's what we know; Fullerton Police Officer Manuel Ramos has been charged with second-degree murder. It is alleged that his actions, "were reckless and created a high risk of death and great bodily injury." That statement came from Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and was published by CNN.
A second officer, Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, now faces a far less serious charge of involuntary manslaughter and felony excessive force, according to prosecutors. They are the only officers facing charges.
The choice to target a small mentally handicapped man, use a gang of police thugs to beat him to death, a hundred times worse than any police manual would call for, leads the more senior of the two to an 'involuntary manslaughter' charge, how does that make sense?
The My Lai Analogy
On a much larger scale, the savage butchery of over 400 villagers, almost all women, children and old men in the Vietnam war, is a similar story.
The Genocide at My Lai carried out by Charlie Company, the U.S. Army's 'Americal' Division, led to a total of one man being charged, his name is William Calley, and he may have been the worst, but he is only one of the illicit soldiers in the company.
In other words, when the government is faced with being responsible for the behavior of its trusted police and military, it slaps wrists, looks the other way, and spares tremendously guilty individuals of sometimes horrific crimes. Callie was fully pardoned by then-President Richard Nixon, absolutely allowed to live out his life normally, the son of a bitch. I found it strange that this analogy just took off in this story, and while I am still writing it, I receive the latest contribution for Salem-News.com from Gordon Duff, Senior Editor of Veterans Today, and the first thing I see is a reference to My Lai. I probably shouldn't be surprised how minds, even when illustrating different stories, tend to find the same examples.
Simply said, like soldiers, police are not charged with crime the way others are, and when it happens, you often see scapegoats instead of real justice. They get off almost always if they are charged or accused of even major crimes, and when a prosecutor absolutely has to do something, they strike at only one or two, and ensure that only one faces a murder charge.
A Family Devastated
Ron Thomas, Kelly's father, is showing a degree of sympathy for the four officers currently not charged. He told CNN that, "the other four weren't as involved."
We can only wonder how traumatized this family is after losing their son in such brutal, cruel circumstances. The horror from the crowd heard in the raw video by itself is shocking' they can't believe what the police are doing.
We are raised to believe police don't behave this way, yet they do and it is frequent. No human being in America is more dangerous than a cop, because you can't do anything to protect yourself from abuse, or you're likely to end up like Mr. Thomas.
Fortunately for the Thomas family, the FBI is also investigating civil rights violations in the case. Whatever they do, it won't be enough.
I know it isn't a secret that I hate abusive cops; I've written about them for years because I see criminal cops in a light with criminal clergy, camp councilors, and others who first attain trusted positions, and then use them to gain personal favor and sometimes to brutalize people.
I think I am going to design a special kit that has a bumper sticker proclaiming that exact message:
"I hate Abusive cops"
I'll market those words with a small video camera people can place in their car to offer themselves a small chance at justice if in fact they are pulled over by a criminal cop. There are stringent rules they must follow, and it is the job of all law enforcement to protect civil rights.
What people experience can depend on many things, and those who strive to fit societal molds probably don't deal with police very often, and most police are OK, just people doing their jobs. But if only 5% of police, or less- also violate the laws they enforce, based on the number of police on the streets of this country... a menace exists.
And for the record, I suspect the number of cops who violate the law in the course of their duties is actually far higher than what I suggested above.
What the hell is going on?
How or why could a seemingly nice city like Fullerton have such rotten police on their streets? Well, you need a filthy system so corrupt and dirty and accepting of police beatings, that they become insensitive to their own inhumanity. Can you imagine how many hundreds or thousands of similar offenses happened, before this one incident came to light?
The man's face was broken in so many places by the police that he was virtually unrecognizable. Oh, they're sorry now, and the city has its best face on, but in truth the whole thing should be taken apart, as should all agencies corrupt and running rampant and rogue on their citizenry.
Lest we forget, these accused killers were part of the team, obviously leaders, undoubtedly so 'respected' that they were able to inflict fatal injuries on a defenseless man without any interference or objection. Gang leaders.
This is how it works, if only it wasn't true. I grew up in gangland LA and there is very little difference in the way they operate; the bad cops often work in groups and packs and they get to know the cops who they can and can't trust. Just like gangs, you can't cross bad cops or you have to deal with all of them.
And before the sympathizers start writing about how great those Fullerton PD guys are, just know I will take your comments apart line by line if necessary, and you're already at the losing end of an argument, so you might as well bag the idea. I am not the only extremely pissed off writer addressing this story today but I am pissed off. Sure, there probably are good people there, but what have they had to look beyond and ignore?
What sets the actions of these officers apart, beyond the fact that Ramos reportedly was familiar with the mental state of Mr. Thomas, was that they were bold in attacking this man - unafraid of the video cameras, which the majority of people have today on their phones... and it seems impossible to imagine that the cops didn't enjoy administering the sadistic beating.
I was a young Marine when I saw how officials in Orange County do their business.
As an 18-year old. I was busted for public drunkenness in the city of Tustin, which I certainly was guilty of, and since I showed attitude to the city officers, they decided to transport me from Tustin Police Dept., to the Orange County Jail.
During the booking process at the main jail facility in Santa Ana, I watched Orange County deputies beat an old homeless man senseless because he wasn't answering their questions.
I don't think he could speak, perhaps he was deaf, but that is just in keeping with OC cops; the more vulnerable the human being, the harder the blows from the so-called 'police' and deputies.
The man either did not or could not answer the questions being screamed in his face, so young men in uniforms hit him, a man who could easily have been their grandfather, perhaps a WWII or Korean War Vet who never got it together.
Even if he had no such background, he did have something called 'civil rights' and they didn't exist that night, as they failed to exist for Mr. Thomas in Fullerton.
For all I know that old man died that night, it was that bad, really bad... and yet what happened to him is common among the voiceless members of our society who end up in the clutches of those heartless bastards who never had any business pinning on a badge.
Just remember, nobody is forced to enter law enforcement, it is 100% career choice. Many who choose this role, unfortunately, pursue a life of authority so they can have power to abuse.
I knew that night at Orange County Jail, that at no time in my life would I ever fully trust police, period. Too many believe they are above the law, and they are armed with devices like the Taser which are frequently abused.
Zero Tolerance for Police Abuse
Those who use the excuse of how hard and challenging their lives are, should get the hell out of police work, that goes for any cop who complains about their work.
Police prove over and over again in this country that the standards are too low, the people who are hired are often terrible, and they aren't to be trusted. On one hand they are just people like you and I who make mistakes.
However, like 'regular people', they are capable of absolutely anything and the only way to treat police abuse is with, "Zero Tolerance" and unless that day comes, acts like these will continue to erode any faith people have in police. I'm here to lead the charge.
Tim King is a member of the Orange County Press Club.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.
Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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