LA Deputies On Beating Johnnie Franklin Jones

[Moxley Confidential] It isn't just the Kelly Thomas killing in which cops believe they have the right to execute a citizen during a scuffle

The department still refused to produce recordings of internal-affairs interviews with Harper and Sherred; in fact, as of this moment, they remain officially "lost." That claim is "very troubling" to Carter. In open court but outside the presence of the jury, he opined, "This certainly reflects on the agency."

Sheriff's officials finally released a video of Harper participating in an incident in which a herd of transit deputies brutalized a different African-American suspect, pulverizing his face with a barrage of punches and forcefully slamming him—throat-first—into the door jam of a patrol car.

During Jones' trial, Harper testified he was without remorse about his use of force. He'd done the man a favor, he explained, by not inflicting more damage. Without a hint of a smile, he asserted that, as a cop, he believed he had "the right to execute" Jones at the scene.

Deputy Harper re-enacting his victim's actions during a deposition
Courtesy Jerry Steering
Deputy Harper re-enacting his victim's actions during a deposition
Jones, after the beating
Courtesy Jerry Steering
Jones, after the beating

Details

On May 14, we learned a result that should worry members of the community hoping for justice in the case of the Fullerton cops charged with the 2011 savage killing of Kelly Thomas, another unarmed, homeless man. A jury dominated by folks you'd easily find at a Newport Beach country club discussing the latest BMW accouterments couldn't reach a unanimous verdict. In its final vote, the jury voted 7 to 1 to sanction the conduct of the deputies, resulting in a hung jury.

"We had no video like the Thomas case," explained Steering. "But we're going to re-try this case. The deputies beat an innocent man."

This article appeared in print as "Beating Mr. Jones: It isn't just the Kelly Thomas killing in which cops believe they have the right to execute a citizen during a scuffle."

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