The first thing I thought of when I heard about the Kelly Thomas beating was the first cover story I wrote for OC Weekly some 16 years ago. “Fullerton Metal Jacket: When The Police Go Military, The City Goes Vietnam,” was published on March 8, 1996, just months into our paper's existence. It concerned the unsolved murder of Ramon Toro, a Mexican immigrant who was shot while attending a meeting at an alcohol-rehab facility in Fullerton. The bullet had been fired during an altercation on the street outside, and the shooter was never identified.
Yes, the Thomas beating brought back memories, and so did Marisa Gerber's definitive story for us last November, “Bullies In Blue.” But watching the video of the brutal incident–actually I could only make it about a minute into the tape–made me so angry that I finally went down to my basement and dug up the original copy of my story. It's common knowledge now even among the mainstream media that the Fullerton Police Department is, or at least until recently was, an institution completely out of control, but now you can click on this link, read “Fullerton Metal Jacket” in its entirety, and see for yourself where all the craziness started.