UPDATED, JULY 25, 8:42 A.M.: Now comes the first video of police arresting Kelly Thomas, posted on Youtube and available through Fullertonsfuture.org. You can't see much besides onlookers milling around on the sidewalk, mostly blocking the view of a few police officers who appear to be crouching down in front of a cruiser. The onlookers discuss how the cops apparently have tased Thomas five times while he was already down on the ground. Disturbingly, you can hear someone, presumably Thomas, sobbing “Dad, dad, dad….” over and over.
PREVIOUSLY UPDATED, JULY 22, 4 P.M.: The Fullerton news blog Fullertonsfuture.org has posted a graphic hospital photo of Kelly Thomas that website administrator Tony Bushala tells the Weekly was taken by the victim's father, Ron Thomas, who gave it to him with permission to publish. You can read various reactions to Bushala's decision to post the photo online on his website, but needless to say, the majority of the comments express shock and outrage over the extent of the injuries visible in the photo.
Photo and rest of story after the jump…
ORIGINAL POST, July 22, 2:00 P.M.: Bruce Whitaker, a member of the Fullerton City Council, is calling for the Orange County District Attorney to release a police video showing half a dozen officers beating up Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old schizophrenic homeless man who police apprehended downtown on the evening of July 5.
The cops were in the process of investigating a rash of car burglaries
when they attempted to arrest Thomas, who allegedly resisted. He went
into a coma and died five days later when his family allowed doctors to
remove him from life support.
Whitaker made his feelings known in a July 17 “Open Letter to Fullerton Residents” that was written on city stationery and which has been posted online by the local news blog Fullerton Stories. In it, he states that he and his wife Linda attended Thomas' memorial service and that he spoke with Ron Thomas, the man's father, who is a former deputy with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
“We…extended our heartfelt condolences to his family for their loss and our sincere sympathies for their sorrow,” Whitaker wrote. “A tragic event resulting in a loss of life can generate extreme grief and intense pain for loved ones, and even more so when circumstances and even a cause of death are not clearly understood or explained. I fully support and urge any efforts which will result in a clear and complete explanation of events which led to the death of Kelly J. Thomas and insist that related evidence, including video and audio recordings be made public.”
Mayor Richard M. Jones doesn't agree and was quick to tell Fullerton Stories that Whitaker wasn't speaking on behalf of anyone but himself. “He is exercising his right to free speech as a private citizen,” Jones said. “It's just not good to speculate on things until we know all the facts.”
Award-winning investigative journalist Nick Schou is managing editor of OC Weekly. He is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (Nation Books 2006), which provided the basis for the 2014 Focus Features release starring Jeremy Renner and the L.A. Times-bestseller Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World, (Thomas Dunne 2009). He is also the author of The Weed Runners (2013) and Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood (2016).