Life is a Message - Kelly Thomas
Beaten to Death for "Resisting Arrest"
Kelly Thomas, was 37 years old when he passed from this world. The body of Kelly Thomas lying in that hospital bed in July 2010 was unrecognisable. He had been brutally beaten to death by members of the Fullerton Police Department who claimed that he was resisting arrest.
The police involved had responded to a call reporting that someone had been vandalising cars near the bus depot in Fullerton. During their investigation the police came across Kelly Thomas, a harmless vagrant who was also known to the police involved. Kelly was wearing only a pair of shorts and looked, as he always did ,physically fragile and incoherent.
Power Drunk Police
Nobody really knows why one of the police officers then decided to pick on this helpless homeless man who also suffered from schizophrenia. The actions of Officer Ramos and his colleagues are meticulously described by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas in his report which you can see in the video below.
The Orange County Coroner put the cause of death down as asphyxia caused by the weight of the police officers on his chest. This ultimately prevented him from breathing, causing him to go unconscious and slip into a coma. Kelly died five days later in hospital never regaining consciousness.
The report also said that the injuries Kelly sustained to his head and face were definite contributing factors to his death. Bones in Kelly's face were broken and the photograph taken of how he looked is so disturbing that I have not shown it here but have provide a link to it here for those with the stomach to do so. Photo of Kelly in Hospital.
Throughout the 10 minute ordeal and even when he screamed for his father who is himself a retired police officer the police involved were relentless.
The Blood report also showed that Kelly had no illicit drugs or alcohol in his bloodstream.
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas Reports
The Value of Cell Phones with Camera
I am not sure if this incident would ever have come to light had it not been for onlookers who recorded what went on and you can see this recording in the video below.
The police are calling for a ban on people recording incidents like this and this incident clearly shows why. When people in authority behave responsibly and with honour they have nothing to hide but there are those who would abuse their position of authority and seek to conceal their actions behind the law they are sworn to serve.
Cell Phone Recording of the Beating of Kelly Thomas
Sadness or Anger
Everyone who watches the recording of Kelly's last conscious minutes and the condition of his face and body after the beating will have different reactions. For some the images will evoke anger and for others it will well up feelings of sadness. There are of course those who would feel indifferent to what happened and perhaps that is because they are so numb to horror due to their own experiences that what happened to this young man means nothing to them.
For me the cries of Kelly calling his father sent chills down my spine and I felt very sad. I thought about my own son and how I would feel hearing him calling for me to help him. During those moments I remembered my son as a boy running to me when he needed me and I felt sick for Kelly's father who will have also heard the recording of his son calling for him and I can't imagine what he and Kelly's mother must have felt.
Kelly Thomas's Life Message - It's Up to You!
I have written this hub not to incite people to hate the police but to draw people's attention to a very important message. We are all born and we must all die. We come into this world alone and we will leave it alone. What happens in between is what we call our life. Our life is our message! Kelly Thomas lived his life making choices that would ultimately end in him being set upon by a group of police officers whose sole intent was to obliterate Kelly's physical presence from this world. By giving these men our attention and focussing our anger at them we miss the point and Kelly Thomas's life and message will go unheard as it did when he roamed the streets of Fullerton.
We are all One, regardless of the clothes we wear or the fancy cars we drive or the possessions we accrue. What if Kelly lived his life in order to die the way he did so that we would pay attention to the message? What if Kelly's message is the same message a man was crucified for in Israel during the Roman occupation of that land. He too was a homeless man who they beat to a pulp before nailing him to a cross. Yes, of course we could hate the Jewish people for condemning him to such a fate and we could hate the Italian people for what they did but that would be missing the point.
Why not let Kelly's death stand for more that just another excuse to blame authority for the injustices in the world. Why not give this man's life a loftier and more noble purpose? It matters little what anyone else thinks. It is what we choose to think that affects how we feel and this ultimately creates the reality we call life. We can choose how to remember someone and in so doing we we use memory to heal the human condition.
I ask that you join with me in choosing to see Kelly's life and death as an act of love and send love and gratitude to him opening our eyes to the truth about who we are and why we are in this world.
“Love all and serve all. This is the best way to God.” Sathya Sai Baba