ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Life is a Message - Kelly Thomas

Updated on August 16, 2014
Father and Son - Ron and Kelly Thomas
Father and Son - Ron and Kelly Thomas | Source

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

Forgiveness is the Key


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      3 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you kalinin1158 for taking the time to read and for commenting. I do see where you are coming from and appreciate how difficult it is to forgive especially when it is close to you but feel that manatita44 has put it very well in his comment. Justice is subjective and depends on the perceiver, forgiveness is independent of the perceiver and its effects are universal.

    • manatita44 profile image


      3 years ago from london

      I support Spirit Whisperer and like his angle, Kalinini. Peter Tosh's angle may be good for him, but will keep him earthbound. We all have to see it in which ever way is best for us, but for me justice as we know it, relates to an outer law, and Forgiveness is a profound inner quality. It is infinitely higher. Of course there is divine justice also, but that is for another time.

      Spirit Whisperer, Kalinini and others here, have a Happy Christmas, and wishing you the continuous presence of God's peace for now, 2015 and beyond. In Love and Light. Manatita

    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana Adler 

      3 years ago from California

      An interesting (and surprising!) hub. I did think that your purpose was to incite an emotional reaction, calling for police officers' accountability. But it was about love and forgiveness. I'm happy to be forgiving after justice has taken place. In this and so many other similar police brutality cases, however, we see no justice.

      Perhaps I'm not that enlightened, but forgiveness without justice is meaningless to me. We need justice to begin healing, not forgiveness. Like Peter Tosh once said, "I don't want no peace. I want human rights and justice."

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      4 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you Mr Happy.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      This is a difficult topic to discuss. Especially since not long ago, police in Toronto shot a kid on a street car ( countless times then, tazered him, handcuffed him, etc. The kid died and all he had on him was a little knife, which he was waving in the air aimlessly.

      I could have disarmed the kid myself if I was there, with no weapons but a dozen cops surrounding him like hyenas, with batons, pepper-spray, police training (including de-escalation) and so on, could not disarm him and had to kill him.

      You see these incidents as acts of Love - You are a good Being.

      I wish You well. : )

      P.S. Will share.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      4 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you manatita44

    • manatita44 profile image


      4 years ago from london

      Beautifully written and well handled sensitive subject. So many injustices in life! I like the way that you seem to be using the story to heal. Very prudent way and one which I perceive as the right thing to do. May the Supreme artist bless your heart of empathy and concern. Much Peace.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      5 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you mizjo for your comment. It is indeed very difficult sometimes to find forgiveness in our hearts and if this were to happen to any of my children I am not sure if I could find it in my heart to forgive. If we learn to forgive the small things however someday perhaps we can forgive the big ones. Forgiveness needs to become a habit as natural as breathing for us to progress the next level therein lies the motivation to try.

    • mizjo profile image


      5 years ago from New York City, NY

      It's an indictment of our justice system that people wearing badges, sworn to protect the public, can with impunity pound an unarmed, unprotected harmless person to a pulp. And doing it in a pack, no less! Cowardly brutes! They should be punished to the full extent of the law, like any other person would be.

      Forgiveness is all very well, but with the many instances of police brutality being swept under the carpet by the law, and the perpetrators getting off scot free almost every time, we are losing faith in both our police and the law, both of which are SWORN to protect the innocent.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a wonderful message of love based on such a senseless act of inhumanity! I applaud your spirit my friend and am proud to call you a friend as we walk similar paths.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      SW - I can't watch the video or see the photo - images like that stay in my head. I can't stand the sound or thought of someone beating on another human being. Why I don't think boxing should be a legal sport. What do we teach our kids with that?

      I'm glad you honored this man...there are plenty of rogue officers out there and anyone should be allowed to video tape anything they do in public! It's our tax dollars that pay their salaries and if they have nothing to hide, like you said, it shouldn't be an issue! Way UP!

    • phoenixarizona profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      Spirit Whisperer, it's because of you that I will never for get Kelly Thomas or his message.

      For that I thank you.

    • MosLadder profile image

      Chris Montgomery 

      6 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Wow, that was an eye-opener. I am surprised they want taping police activity banned. That is a very un-American concept, and like the man in the video says, a dangerous idea. Thanks for posting this.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Spirit Whisperer - I am crying as I sit here typing, but still I want to thank you for sharing this horrifying story with us and recasting it, retelling it in such a way that some measure of meaning and redemption can be found in this man's terrible and tragic death. As you said getting angry is not the solution, resolving to live better lives, be more cognizant of those in need, create better safety nets for troubled individuals...those are appropriate and life-affirming responses.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      It is a good thing he wasn't black or we would have riots for days.

      Beyond that, the video and the photographs are pitiful and so sad. Poor man. Like you, I cannot imagine how I would feel if something like this happened to my only son.

      Thank you for a sobering tale.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      6 years ago from Southern Clime

      I once heard a police officer tell a man, after a chase, "If I did not have witnesses, you would be picking up your teeth off the ground." The guy deserved to be jailed, but not beaten until his teeth were knocked out. Criminals lurking the communities is bad enough. Now, we have to fear police, too. Still, I believe that most police officers are good. I have been helped by many. I could never forget the old police officer who found my lost two-year old many years ago in Racine, Wisconsin. It was during a time a child killer was on the loose.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you to all of you for your heart felt and thoughtful comments. I have since added a video titled "Recording The Police is a Dangerous but Necessary Thing to Do) If You See Something, Film it!" that encourages people to film police so as to ensure that they behave in an acceptable way toward the citizens they are sworn to protect.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I can not see how anyone could beat another, how very heartless. I watched the video and went to the site and saw his face. It caused me to tear up, It caused anger, It caused fear. I thought of my Son. I think what bothers me the most is that he was mentally ill and on the streets. When are we as a nation going to help these people? Thank you for this hub. It frightens me but needs to be told...

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Yea they're calling for a ban so citizens can't expose their crimes and bad judgement calls. Don't know about titles and phrases in England but what ever happened to 'To protect and serve' and Peace Officer? There are so many fine people in those official services its a cryin shame the bad apples have to taint the fruit tree and humanity in general since we're all one like you say Dixie.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      6 years ago from Southern Clime

      This is anothr of the many cases of police brutality. I think that some people do not need to be able to wield a pistol and authority over others. I wish I had an answer. So many have gotten away with this kind of behavior when unimportant people were the victims that they feel that they can manage justification for killing someone. A retired policeman's son. That must be extremely hard for the father and all who loved him. I feel helpless as I hurt for the family.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      A sad indictment of US law enforcement, but just a single example of what is happening all across the planet as thousands of dissidents are being shot or beaten into submission by security forces working for some special interest or another.

      The thing that did stand out for me is the fact that police are trying to get it made illegal for private citizens to record these happenings on cell phones.

      This should be fought tooth and nail, not that a law like this could be enforced...they would be filmed trying to enforce it!

      Sad story well written



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)