Police Beat Homeless Fullerton Man Kelly Thomas To Death
A video has surfaced that documents Fullerton police beating a homeless man near the Fullerton Bus Depot in early July, reports Gawker. The video above does not show much of the fight, but you can hear a man's screams and people talking about a Taser. The man being beaten also cries out for his father.
On July 5, Fullerton police received reports of someone breaking into cars in the area around the bus depot, according to the LA Times. Police subsequently tried to arrest 37-year-old transient Kelly Thomas on suspicion of possessing the stolen items.
When Thomas resisted, it took several minutes for him to be subdued. Sgt. Andrew Goodrich told the OC Register that it took "an upwards of five, maybe six officers to subdue him."
ABC says that Thomas was unarmed during the incident. Thomas sustained severe injuries to the head and neck, as evidenced in the photo here (WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC). He was hospitalized at UCI Medical Center, when he fell into a coma and died less than a week later.
Thomas' father Ron Thomas told the OC Register that his son had been diagnosed with schizophrenia in his early twenties and was homeless by choice. His sister, Christina Kinser, described him as a "quiet, gentle soul" to Fullerton Stories.
Currently, the Fullerton Police Department is performing an inquiry into the incident, and the case is being examined by the Orange County District Attorney's office, reports the LA Times. There have been several protests, and a vigil for Kelly was held in downtown Fullerton, the OC Register tells us.
In an open letter, City Council Member Bruce Whitaker has called for the police to offer a clear explanation and to release a video that apparently shows the actual beating.