Kelly Thomas Killing Befuddles The Orange County Register Newsroom

Register: You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll be spoon-fed the official police version!
Register: You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll be spoon-fed the official police version!

There's no doubt that Fullerton police officers killed Kelly Thomas last July in an outrageous incident that provoked international focus on police brutality in Orange County.

I'm focusing on the word "killed" because that has been the obvious fact from the outset and some folks in the mainstream media--Hello, Orange County Register!--oddly continue to resist writing the plain, simple truth.

Thomas didn't accidentally trip, fall and crack his own face off while standing near sweet, kind, emotionally-stable, non-asshole cops, who did everything they could to save his life. He didn't get a running start, sprint and ram his head into stationary police weapons. He didn't die because of a self-induced drug or alcohol overdose. A tree didn't land on his head. He didn't choke on a mint. A stray bullet didn't find him. A motorist didn't leave the road and run him over on the sidewalk.

Fullerton police surrounded an unarmed Thomas, taunted him like hoodlums and then stole his life with their fists and weapons.

Surely, by now we can all agree that the news here was a killing, not an "altercation," the word the Register loves to employ.

Earl, are you scared? Yeah, Billy Bob. Let's beat off his face and crush his throat.
Earl, are you scared? Yeah, Billy Bob. Let's beat off his face and crush his throat.

Okay, Grand Avenue note takers, you don't have to accept my word for it. Ask Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackaucaks, who, on Sept. 22, filed second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and excessive force charges against two of the cops. Or, perhaps, read the Sept. 21 coroner's report that proves the cop-inflicted injuries savagely killed Thomas.

You might be able to ignore (though I wouldn't) the Register's cop-friendly descriptions of the killing prior to Sept. 21, but not afterwards.

Get a load of this steaming factoid: Even the cops involved don't deny they killed Thomas. They claim they were justified in killing him because--please note the uniformity between the Register and the cops--of an "altercation" in which all six, heavily-armed cops were--cough, cough--terribly frightened for their lives by the scrawny, 130-pound Thomas and needed to--cough,cough--inflict fatal damage to protect themselves.
Indeed, the cops haven't denied they killed Thomas for the most of the last three months. I point this out because just yesterday the Register referred to the killing this way:

"The mother of a homeless man who died after a confrontation with Fullerton police has sued the Orange County district attorney for access to records of her son's death."

This is a compilation of how the Register news department has referred to the killing since the DA called it a murder: ". . . in the wake of the death of Kelly Thomas" (Dec. 8); ". . . . city has been mired in conflict since the death of Kelly Thomas, who was approached by six officers" (Dec. 7); ". . . the council members have put the security of officers involved in the confrontation with Kelly Thomas along with the police union ahead of the security of residents" (Nov. 9); ". . . a pretrial hearing for the two Fullerton officers charged in connection with the death" (Nov. 5); ". . . for the confrontation with a mentally ill homeless man" (Oct. 25); ". . . members of the Fullerton City Council have declined to join those who continue to spew vitriol over the police-related death of a homeless man" (Oct. 21); ". . . John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou blasted Mayor F. Richard Jones and councilmen Pat McKinley and Don Blankhead for not demanding that the six officers involved in the physical altercation with Thomas" (Oct. 20); ". . . Radio personalities John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have been critical of the three officials in the wake of the death of Kelly Thomas" (Oct. 16); ". . . her son had been in a confrontation with the Fullerton police" (Oct. 11);" . . . Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, who are accused in the Kelly Thomas beating case, will go on unpaid leave" (Oct. 8); ". . . None of the officers is part of the case involving Kelly Thomas, who died after a confrontation with Fullerton police (Oct. 1); ". . . Fullerton's acting police chief plans to put the defendants in the death of Kelly Thomas on unpaid leave" (Sept. 30);" . . . Father of homeless man who died after beating" (Sept. 28); ". . . the National Alliance on Mental Illness hopes the death of Kelly Thomas will raise awareness" (Sept. 26); ". . . Orange County residents are indigent over the death of this mentally ill homeless man" (Sept. 25); ". . . Fullerton police chief who hired Thomas beating defendants is 'just sick' over events" (Sept. 23); ". . . the mentally ill homeless man who died this summer after an altercation with Fullerton police" (Sept. 22).

I'm not the only one to question the Register's coverage. The Friends For Fullerton's Future blog has blasted the paper.

Go HERE to read previous criticism of the Register's David Whiting.

--R. Scott Moxley / OCWeekly

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >