It’s a shame how a few crooked cops can tarnish the reputation of an otherwise honorable body of law enforcement officers.
Earlier today, two policemen were charged by the Orange County District with crimes of murder and manslaughter. They were two of the six officers that allegedly crossed the line on July 5th in Fullerton, California. The professed victim was Kelly Thomas, a homeless, 37-year old man with schizophrenia who was suspected of breaking into nearby vehicles. Police Officer Manuel Ramos was specifically charged with involuntary manslaughter and second degree murder; if convicted he could spend 15 years behind bars. Corporal Jay Cincinelli was charged with use of excessive force and involuntary manslaughter and if sentenced could spend four years in prison. Cincinelli entered a plea of not guilty; Ramos did not enter a plea and he will be arraigned on Monday.
Images of Thomas’ face as he lay comatose in intensive care, where he died five days later, are chilling. His face was swollen and filled with contusions, eyelids were blue, blood-drenched gauze stuck out of his nose and covered his forehead – the brutal symptoms of violence purportedly inflicted by local law enforcement.
That July night, when Thomas did not sit down on the curb as ordered, witnesses reported that Ramos swung his baton and punched Thomas in the ribs and that Cincinelli tasered him four times, kneed him twice in the head and hit him with the taser weapon four times in the face. Witnesses also stated that Ramos at some point held Thomas down at the neck; the coroner ruled the cause of death compression on the thorax which would have impeded oxygen from reaching the brain. Before Thomas was unconscious, witnesses heard him scream and shout “Help dad!” and “I can’t breathe.” It is unclear whether the other four officers were directly involved.
The injustice allegedly posed by the two law enforcement officers begs the question, were they never trained to deal with persons with severe mental illness or did they each reach their breaking point incurred by the stress of the job? Perhaps this inspires you to right the wrongs of a few immoral cops or those that have made fatal mistakes. If you are thinking of becoming a police officer, a degree in law enforcement and training at a police academy will lead the way to a righteous career.
Sources: Associated Press and Reuters