While many of us are still savoring the memories of 4th of July weekend–barbecuing, downing beers, chasing tail, and lighting Roman Candles in the streets, now might be an opportune time to rewind back to a sobering moment you may have missed. It was four years ago on July 5, 2011 that Kelly Thomas suffered a beating at the hands of several Fullerton police officers who approached the homeless schizophrenic 37 year-old near the downtown Fullerton bus station following reports that a man fitting Thomas' description was seen breaking into cars in a nearby parking lot. What happened next would leave a scar on the city for years to come. The savage beating, caught on camera led to Thomas' death, a trial for the officers, and a "not guilty" verdict that left many people angry, heart broken his family, and utterly confused.
Today, Thomas' death still inspires people all over the world to speak out against unnecessary use of excessive and deadly force by police officers. And of course that means protest songs. Enter: Capitol Kill. You may have heard the name of the recently formed hip-hop/punk outfit formed by rapper Nu3tron, who we spoke to in our recent cover story with Kelly's father, Ron Thomas. The day we spoke to Nu3tron and his crew, they were busy finishing up this video for their lead single, simply titled "Kelly Thomas," a song that goes into all sorts of gory detail about what happened to Kelly in his final hours of consciousness before succumbing to his injuries on July 10. It was released last Sunday, on the anniversary of the beating. If the song itself doesn't illustrate how seriously people in the streets of OC and beyond view this offense committed by a few bad cops shielded by the law, then the video certainly will.
Spliced with sweaty, live footage of the band and images of them protesting with Ron Thomas and Kelly's Army in the area where Kelly was beaten, we also see spliced footage of enough police brutality to make your blood run hot. That's not to say the band are interested in inciting violence against all cops, just those who take advantage of the law and their position in society to act as judge, jury and executioner. In Ron Thomas' case, the wake of his son's death and the acquittal of officers Manuel Ramos, Jay Cicinelli and Joseph Wolfe has also led to years of court battling and protesting, as well as a civil trial set for August.
The video is the latest in a number of tributes to Kelly by musicians from all genres and backgrounds. And while these types of songs and images aren't something you wanted to hear on your holiday, it's not too late to take a look and remember the brutality one man suffered that wound up bringing the nations attention yet again to how out of control things can get when power corrupts authority figures sworn to protect and serve. See the full video below.