By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
The nightmare for the police department prompted its PR unit to inflate the injuries allegedly suffered by the cops involved in the incident and to disseminate false, inflammatory information about the deceased. When that failed, it attempted to muzzle Thomas by offering him $900,000 to settle the case before all the details are publicly known.
So far, FPD has lost the battle to squelch the story. Investigators in the Orange County district attorney's office, as well as FBI special agents, are now probing the incident. Susan Kang Schroeder, a spokeswoman for the DA's office, promised her agency will eventually make public its findings and could, if the facts support it, file criminal charges against the officers.
Bushala, however, isn't resting. He's now demanding authorities release the video recordings of a city camera that captured the incident. Several times during the protest, he got the crowd to join him in his chanting of "Release the video!"
Though many protesters standing near Bushala were unaware of his identity, one woman approached and hugged him.
"Thank you so much, Tony," said Christine Walker, a self-identified Fullerton enthusiast who knew Kelly and described him as sweet. "Without you, none of this would have happened. You are a hero."
Bushala—sunburned and sweating from six hours of protest—pointed to the energetic protesters. "Those are the heroes," he said. "What's important is getting justice for Kelly. We have to hold the police accountable for what they did."
This column appeared in print as "Kelly's Heroes: Fullerton police savagely killed Kelly Thomas, and businessman/blogger Tony Bushala isn't letting anyone forget."