By now you have probably heard of the case of Kelly Thomas. If you haven’t, you should.
FULLERTON, CA — On July 5, 2011, a 37 year old ‘schizophrenic’ transient man named Kelly Thomas was confronted by Fullerton police outside a bus depot. Officer Manuel Ramos sat Kelly down, threatened to “fuck [him] up” if he did not cooperate, and pushed him from behind as he was seated. Kelly stood up, startled, and tried to back away from Ramos. That is when they began to beat and taze him.
Six officers were involved in the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas that night. During the videotaped beating, Kelly was yelling that he couldn’t breathe, but the cops continued to beat him. Kelly was in a coma for 5 days before he was taken off life support. An autopsy showed that he died from asphyxiation and other injuries. Kelly was never confrontational during the incident.
On May 12th, we put in a records request with Fullerton’s City Clerk’s Office to gain access to training materials that Fullerton Police receive when learning to handle individuals with mental health concerns, as it is apparent that Fullerton officers did not follow their training on that fateful night. By law, the office should have responded within 10 business days. As of today, it has been 17 days and counting. We are currently in contact with the ACLU and various media outlets.
We’re hoping that this story, taken up and made public by OC Weekly, will spur Fullerton City into action. Because as of May 25th, the City was in violation of Federal law. On top of the controversy already surrounding the Kelly Thomas case, this does not look good for Fullerton.
Read the OC Weekly article here.
However, something good has come out of this lack of action from Fullerton officials. Thanks to them, Mind(ful) Liberation Project has started a subproject called FOIA For Change. Launched officially on May 29, 2012, FOIA For Change is a project to end police brutality against people with ‘mental illness.’
Through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, FOIA For Change advocates for people with mental health concerns that come into contact with the police and the Criminal Justice System, and disseminates police training manuals in ‘handling the mentally ill’ to the public. Check it out! http://foiaforchange.wordpress.com
In memory of Kelly Thomas and all those killed and brutalized by the police.
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