An inside look at the Kelly Thomas verdict protests. While the mainstream media reports that the protests "turned violent", the truth is more interesting. (photos by Ed Carrasco)
The not-guilty verdict in the Kelly Thomas trial wraps up the first phase for those seeking justice in the case of the fatal police beating in the middle if the Fullerton Transportation Center.
Up until now the protests have been markedly different than those seen in other cities. While windows were broken in nearby Anaheim protests and the police came out in riot gear, the Fullerton protests received almost no police presence.
That changed yesterday. The results of the court case in Santa Ana, the not guilty verdict on all counts, and especially the fact that the police were found not guilty even of using excessive force in a ten minute beating in which the victim was killed, brought a renewed vigor to the general distrust Fullerton residents have been expressing towards the police department and city government.
The renewed protests also brought another element into the midst. Professional activists from other areas brought their bull-horns and crowd instigation tactics to the otherwise peaceful protests. The police station was tagged with spray-paint and a CBS2 reporter was slapped. Posters on the "Kelly Thomas Murder Trial" Facebook page shot back with admonitions such as, "Getting in trouble and being arrested is not going to solve anything" and, "If the vandals and agitators make a mockery of this, all respect will have been lost...” Some of the fringe protesters were carrying signs that said, “Greed kills” and were complaining about the banks and calling for a boycott of Fullerton businesses, causing one popular comment that said, “We should be coming down on those that changed what this was about instead of caring if they got arrested for what was clearly not Ron’s or his families wishes.”
The core of the protests were still the same: that those who are charged with protecting citizens have instead violated the rights of a citizen, and the laws and courts have aided them.
Ron Thomas spoke to the crowd and said the next stage for those seeking justice in this case and in justice in city government is to change the Police Officers' Bill of Rights, and vowed to show up to the next City Council meeting. He will also be following up with a civil trial, and following the possible FBI investigation.