Kelly Thomas, The Drifter

Kelly in downtown Fullerton

About 28 years ago, I had just finished building a 20 unit luxury apartment complex here in Fullerton. Interest rates were around 22.5% and at 23 years old I had more pressure put on me than most 50-year-olds ever have.  After I completed my project I decided to take a vacation.

But it was no ordinary vacation. I decided to go drifting.

I packed a bag and got a ride to the 91 freeway at Beach Blvd. Off I went.

Drifting is a way of life for many who choose to live on the streets. Kelly Thomas was a drifter, even though he had many places that he could stay, he chose to live on the streets. At his funeral, I witnessed his many friends and family that told me he always had a place to stay if he wanted. But he insisted on living outdoors with his own convictions.

I met many drifters during my six month journey around the West Coast, but the one thing I remember enjoying the most was not having any responsibilities and being accountable to no one but myself.

It’s easy for me to relate to Kelly Thomas’ life. I believe he was his own person, and he chose to drift from place to place.

Rest in Peace, Kelly Thomas.

90 Replies to “Kelly Thomas, The Drifter”

  1. Click the photo then click to zoom in. That doesn’t look like the guy from the booking picture. No broken nose, lots of bright red hair.

    1. It could be the same man…his f.b. page picture looks years younger. It’s hard to know how people change when they age. Lifestyle changes have effects also. I see red hair, though.

    2. Kelly’s family said that the 2009 booking photo that was released by the FPD was not Kelly. This photo does look like Kelly. It was nice of the writer to share the photo; hopefully, someone in Kelly’s family will confirm.

  2. Thoughtful words for Fullerton’s lost soul. Thank you. After all the vitriol that has been spewed from both aides, I woke up this morning wondering about our own homeless here in Tustin. I know a few of them but have never really taken the time to say more than a few passing words as money changed hands. Maybe I’ll stoo and chat the next time. You never know who you may find behind uncombed hair.

    1. It’s a lovely thought that some sad and tragic happening can make one stop and re consider one’s own roles in the day to day grind. I’m sensing this was a chosen lifestyle, from what i’ve read..not sure he was vagrant, entirely….not sure, though. Anyone have more commentary on this man’s life?

  3. @Wrong Dude,

    It matters none if you are right or not. The photo either is Kelly Thomas or represents him well, and in good taste.

  4. That is exactly how Kelly lived. He had family across Orange County, and was welcome to stay with all of us. You are so right – he lived the way he wanted, he was his own person.
    I love your story!

  5. I have a friend who was born in a barn.
    He once said He has no place to lay his head.
    He went without food for over a month once.
    Some people thought he was crazy.
    When he died at the hands of authority, He could be heard crying out for His Father.
    I love my Friend.

    1. I’m so moved, that I’m commenting on alot of these posts…but, that truly was lovely. Thanks for sharing that so i could feel the love for your friend.

  6. This whole post smacks of privilege, guy. The difference is that you chose to drift, chose to take a vacation from a clearly upper class life. The people you claim to relate to often don’t make that choice, it’s simply the best they can do. To them, it’s survival, not a vacation.

    Don’t romanticize what is often a scary, violent lifestyle with very few ways out.

    1. @Anon, I agree with you that it is often simply the best they are able to do. When someone is mentally ill and he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, as Kelly did, that person often doesn’t reason clearly. They have delusions and hallucinations that give them a distorted view of reality. They may think that family members, or others, are trying to harm them, poison them, etc.

      From my own personal experience, if my son didn’t want to go to his Dr. appt. or no longer wanted to take his meds, or had the delusion and paranoia that we were trying to hurt him- he would just take off and disappear. They often don’t want to, or can’t, live at home for a variety of reasons. I don’t for even one minute believe that anyone who is mentally ill enjoys living in a field, or under an overpass, or on a park bench, or on a doorstep, etc. I also don’t believe that they enjoy being cold or hungry or sick, not having a comfortable place to relax during the day, or constantly being told by cops to “move along” or even much worse- especially for any length of time.

      Because of severe mental illness and the false reality that they live in and based on their distorted thinking, they falsely believe that living on the streets is the best, or only option open to them at the time. Even when that is not actually reality- that is the reality that they believe.

      The reason I am commenting here on this subject is because of the fact that over the years I have often heard the sentiment voiced by some, (not all), that “homeless and mentally ill people choose to live that way and that they prefer to live that way.” When some people see a homeless person, or a mentally ill person on the street- they rationalize and say to themselves, “Well, why doesn’t that bum get a job!..or, well, I don’t feel sorry for them because they choose that lifestyle!”

      Therefore, the homeless or mentally ill person may get no sympathy or help from others. The mentally ill person is often so confused that they could never even figure out how to read a bus schedule, or follow directions to find an address to a shelter, let alone function in any kind of a job. They have a lot of anxiety and are not able to respond appropriately in social situations. They don’t recognize, or correctly interpret facial expressions, the motives or actions of others, the tone of your voice when you are talking to them, or body language cues, etc. My son often would ask us, “Why are you mad?” when we were not mad at all. That is one reason why their social responses may often seem so inappropriate.

      Most people with schizophrenia smoke constantly. They have an extreme nicotine addiction and they will spend most of their time just looking for cigarrettes. Smoking helps to relieve some of their anxiety- it calms them down and it actually helps improve their cognitive functioning. Their physiological need for cigarettes is much greater than for the average person. There are research studies which show the correlation between nicotine and improved cognitive function in people suffering from schizophrenia.

      For the severely mentally ill- living on the streets is not a choice that they would make if they were in their right minds. I only hope to bring more awareness to the issues of homelessness and severe mental illness. If this is not the place for it then I apologize, but I believe that Kelly would appreciate all efforts to educate and inform concerning schizophrenia.

  7. REALLY? This isn’t exactly where i’d choose to start an argumentative session, you guys….why do people feel the need to get so into their own agendas, that you have to ruin the sharing and caring process for others. Start your own, ‘ Ima badass with an attitude/hater’ page on your own f.b. page, and stop raining on this parade…it’s really in bad taste, and no one wants to read this crappy attitude stuff…just stop

  8. Thank you, ‘admin.’ for sharing with us a little about your own life. I spent several months drifting myself back in the 1960’s, almost half a year in fact. I still remember most of those experiences fondly, even the ones of SoCal. They all contributed greatly to my growing into a man who values highly honor and integrity. Also, thank you for the beautiful photo of a clearly gentle man.

  9. We are living at a very dangerous point in our history. Our social and economic freedoms are being assalted from almost every direction in the name of safety, security or economic fairness.

    The erosions of our freedoms must stop now.

    Never have we as a society faced so many daunting challenges that require…. no demand public involvement.

    It is odd that a mentally ill homeless man probably understood the importance of freedom more than the average citizen.

  10. @Justice for ALL

    Thank you for posting #15 on August 2, 2011. I learned some things reading your words. Hopefully others did as well.

    Again, thank you.

    1. @Xer, you are so welcome. My heart is absolutely broken, stunned, revolted and horrified by what happened to Kelly Thomas; I can’t even adequately put into words just how devastated and angry I feel. Even though I never knew Kelly personally, I mourn him deeply because of this unspeakable injustice. And, I realize, all too well, that it could have just as easily happened to my own son.
      Another thing that horrifies me is the fact that over the years, I have read many reports of instances where law enforcement officers have shot and killed a mentally ill person in the course of their interactions with them. Officers are called by the family, or others, to render help and assistance- and the ill person ends up dead. Instead of being transported to the hospital for a psych evaluation as the family had hoped- the ill person ends up being transported to a morgue. The mentally ill are so vulnerable and law enforcement should particularly protect the weak, sick and vulnerable. In Kelly’s case, they took exactly the opposite approach and they targeted him because of his vulnerability.
      Some cities have PERT teams, (Psychiatric Emergency Response Teams). In some cities, these types of teams, if available, may go by other names. Such a team may consist of an officer and a psychiatric nurse, whose full time job is to evaluate mentally ill people to see if they fit the criteria to be taken to the hospital on a 5150. This team is specially trained in how to evaluate and deal with a person who is severely mentally ill. They speak carefully and slowly to the sick person. They are non-threatening. This type of team is how I was able to get my son to the hospital the first time; however, not many people are aware that these teams may be available in their area. If anyone ever runs into a situation where help is needed; I would suggest that they contact their mental health dept., or local NAMI organization, and ask them for information regarding services that are offered in their city.
      I would not recommend calling the police unless it is was an absolute emergency, and even then, I would do everything I could to avoid it. They usually always seem to show up with four or five police cars, with sirens blasting and lights flashing-(even when I asked them not to), and they park all of their squad cars in front of your house for all the neighbors to start wondering what the heck is going on. All the neighbors come out to gather around and stare at all the flashing lights and commotion. And, your loved one, who is already in crisis, and who is already confused, delusional, hallucinating and frightened because his sense of reality is so distorted- is now also frightened OUT OF HIS MIND (my son was shaking violently with fear) by all of the cop cars, sirens, guns and rifles being pointed at the house, etc. That never helps the person in who is in crisis; in fact, it makes it much worse. The mentally ill person becomes afraid of the police after having a few interactions with them like the one that I just described. It is a nightmare for families and a nightmare for the mentally ill person- who just needed some help in getting to the hospital where he could be treated and stabilized on meds.
      Even though, of course, the mentally ill person does not understand at that time why he needs to go to the hospital, and he absolutely does not want to go. And, my son would never agree to go with us in the car to the hospital. If he thought we were taking him there, he would jump out of the car in the middle of four lanes of traffic, and then disappear. When my son was acutely ill during his first serious psychotic break, he would not leave the house at all, and in fact, he very rarely even left his room. He rarely ate because of his paranoia, and he had lost a tremendous amount of weight. He would only come downstairs to the kitchen and eat in the middle of the night- when no one was around or watching him. I always took food up to his room, and left it sitting outside his door, since he wouldn’t let me inside; he would only open his door just a few inches. I made his favorite foods and continually tried to tempt him to eat, to no avail. The food just sat there uneaten. Even after we did finally manage to get him to the hospital, it took weeks before he started eating regularly again. Even though my son was still extremely ill, I was so relieved when he finally began eating. That was a start in the right direction.
      On the day that the PERT team came to evaluate my son, this is what they saw: My son had not bathed in weeks; his beard was very long-he looked like Osama Bin Laden. His fingernails were about an inch long, he wore mismatched, filthy clothes, and he was wearing an UGG boot on one foot and a Doc Martin shoe on the other foot. My son’s room was filthy and was stacked with piles of trash. The whole house reeked from the smell coming from his room. After my son went to the hospital, we began the job of cleaning out his room; we hauled bags of trash and empty pizza boxes out of his room. We opened the window and aired out his room with fans, painted his room, had the carpet professionally cleaned, and put his bed back together- that he had dismantled. I could go on, but I won’t.
      A loved one will most likely resent you, and not trust you for a very long time afterwards, for forcing him to go to the hospital against his will. He doesn’t understand that he is ill; instead, he believes that everyone else around him is ill. They usually have no insight into their own illness.
      He may have delusions, which are very firmly held false beliefs. Generally, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to convince them that their delusions are not reality. Common delusions are that their minds are being controlled by space aliens, or that others can read and control their minds, or that they are working for the FBI, or perhaps- that the FBI, or other agency, is trying to find them. Another very common delusion is the belief that they are Jesus Christ.
      My son went through a period where he used to look at his baby photos all the time and also constantly stare at himself in the mirror. One day, finally, he said to me, “Mom, don’t you think my baby pictures look like baby Jesus?” I said, “Well, no honey. No one really knows exactly what baby Jesus looked like.” Then he said to me, “But, Mom, don’t you think that I look like Jesus?” I replied, “You mean because you have a beard like the pictures of Jesus?” I continued, “No, those are pictures that people drew, but we don’t know exactly what he looks like.” Then my son insisted again, “No, really Mom. Don’t you think that you look like Mary and dad looks like Joseph?”
      At that point I was very surprised, but I managed to answer my son. I said, “Well, no …I don’t think so. You can’t be Jesus, because there is only ONE Jesus. This idea is only occurring to you because your brain is playing tricks on you, because of the schizophrenia. And, if you were to sit in a room with many people who all have schizophrenia, and you were all sitting together in a circle- probably most, or all, of them would tell you that THEY are Jesus, and there can only be ONE Jesus.” “So, no, I don’t think you are Jesus.” My son listened to what I had said, and seemed to accept my answer. I was surprised because at that time my son didn’t even believe that anything was wrong with him and he certainly didn’t believe that he had schizophrenia. My son never mentioned that particular delusion again and when I asked him about it later on, he denied having that belief. My son doesn’t tell me about very many of his delusions anymore; I think this is because after many years he has realized that people may think he is “crazy,” so he keeps them to himself.
      Schizophrenia is an issue that is very close to my heart; there are so many people, including my son, whose lives have been completely turned upside down by schizophrenia. Unfortunately, most people do not understand it at all. In fact, most people seem to believe that schizophrenia is a “split personality.” That is a misnomer; schizophrenia is NOT a split personality at all. They do not have two different personalities; rather, they have a “split with reality.” They can not differentiate between what is real in their world, and what is imaginary. Our ignorance of schizophrenia only magnifies the suffering of the mentally ill. One out of every 100 people nationwide, and worldwide, suffers from schizophrenia. Not to mention all of their brothers and sisters, moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and sometimes the ill person is even married and has children.
      Schizophrenia usually begins in the late teens and early 20’s (called “gradual onset” schizophrenia) because the symptoms begin so gradually- that for a long time, even for a couple of years, you really may not realize, and certainly don’t understand what is happening to your loved one/child. You most likely won’t recognize the symptoms at all if you are not familiar with schizophrenia-I myself had no clue. I thought my teenage son was just “going through a phase, etc.” whenever his behavior seemed out of character for him. They are just very small changes at first, but after the small changes add up and become cumulative- you finally begin to realize that something is terribly, terribly wrong. For women, schizophrenia typically begins in the late 20’s. It can also strike very suddenly in later years, (called adult onset schizophrenia) as it did to my neighbors son, who was in his 30’s and he had a wife and children. It is rare, but it is possible, for young children to have schizophrenia.
      About a week ago, I wrote a couple of posts about schizophrenia over at Fullerton Stories, as comments under an editorial written by the publisher Davis Barber, titled: Opinion: When Worlds Collide.
      I desperately wish that I could undo what has happened to Kelly; but, I can’t. So, the next best thing that I can do is to try to help inform others about schizophrenia whenever I have the opportunity. And, also try to make a difference in my community to support the needs of the mentally ill. I have done volunteer work with the mentally ill through the Dept. of Mental Health Club House program. It is the least I can do for Kelly Thomas. May Kelly rest in peace and may his memory live within us forever and inspire us all to care for “the least of these.” May God bless Kelly’s family and comfort them.

      1. @Justice for ALL on August 3, 2011

        That’s a lot to chew, and will take some time to digest it all. I also intend to find and read your posts about schizophrenia at Fullerton Stories.

        Thank you, not only for these educative posts, but for your volunteerism as well.

        Wish more people knew about Psychiatric Emergency Response Teams. A couple weeks ago I was checking in at an Extended Stay Hotel. The clerk was on the phone describing one of her long term guests as possibly having “dementia,” becoming more and more forgetful, losing things–like her car, and having just called the front desk complaining of depression and asking for help. The clerk called the city police requesting an officer come out. As someone who many years ago worked a crisis phone line as a volunteer, I was appalled. From the clerk’s responses it was clear the dispatcher was concerned about potential violence from a ‘depressed person.’ When asked why she didn’t call the Crisis Hotline instead of the police, the clerk replied she didn’t know what was the right thing to do, so automatically called the police. When I tried to explain to her that police are trained to deal with violent situations not psychological counseling she became impatient and defensive, so I dropped it and went quietly to my room to avoid having the police called on me too!

        On the way to my room I observed an officer arrive and enter one of the units with her hand resting on her holstered firearm. Happily no shots ensued. Perhaps the officer knew the PERT phone number? Or, she may have just called the Crisis Hotline like the clerk should have done initially.

        The more we learn the more complicated life becomes and some people are simply too lazy to try and understand anyone else’s problems.

        Thanks to people like you, some of us are still learning though.

        ” May Kelly rest in peace and may his memory live within us forever and inspire us all to care for ‘the least of these.’”


        1. As an old cop, I gotta tell ya, cops use their guns for a place to rest their hands far more often than they pull them to shoot people. Don’t make it out for more than it was.

          Today, OC law enforcement has plenty of opportunity to receive mental health training. Unfortunately, all the 1 & 2 day courses in the world will not make you an expert.

          Today’s cops have plenty of opportunity to obtain training dealing with the

          1. NAMI (National Alliance On Mental Illness) offers a free 12 week course to families and friends of those with a mental illness. Each course is 12 weeks long, and each class is usually 2.5 hours long.

            NAMI also has a Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention Team Program in some counties, ie Ventura County.
            Their Objective’s are:
            Train and maintain at least 20% of patrol officers and dispatchers in a 40-hour mental health training.
            Increase the percentage of individuals linked with treatment through interagency meetings.
            Conduct ongoing update trainings.
            Conduct ongoing CIT stakeholder/advisory meetings.
            Conduct 8 hour “Police Response to People with Mental Illness or Developmental Disability” trainings to all non-CIT officers.

            Their Goals are to:
            Reduce the necessity for the use-of-force
            De-escalate crisis situations
            Reduce the use of jail
            Decrease recidivism
            Increase lawful self-reliance and health enhancing behaviors

            I completely agree that “all the 1 & 2 day courses in the world will not make you an expert.” However, they need to start somewhere. And, especially considering the fact that 1.5 percent of the population suffers from schizophrenia, and one in five Americans experience a mental disorder in a given year (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1999), and about 2.8% of the U.S. adult population have severe mental illness, most commonly schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder.

            Orange County, CA also has a C.A.T. team. This is “The Centralized Assessment Team” It is a program of Orange County Health Care Agency-Behavioral Health Services and it is funded through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). The psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) providing collaboration with law enforcement to conduct mental health evaluations 24 hours a day/7 days a week. I quote the following from their website: “They are available to assist police, fire and social service agencies in response to psychiatric emergencies. They can respond to private residences, police stations, health clinics, private doctors’ and therapists’ offices, and in the field. This mental health response team will be available to both law enforcement and hospital emergency rooms for intervention with the seriously mentally ill.”
            This C.A.T. (Centralized Assessment Team) is a resource that the officer’s have at their disposal. The C.A.T. team responds to psychiatric emergency calls throughout Orange County, CA.

            So, considering the prevalence of severe mental illness, and the fact that the officers are constantly in direct contact with the public and very often come into contact with people suffering from severe mental illness-I believe that it should be an absolute requirement that officers ALL receive extensive training in the subject of severe mental illness. They need much more than just an couple of days of training.

            Mental health training courses-(preferably through NAMI)- education regarding severe mental illness should be a prerequisite requirement- in order to even apply for a job in law enforcement. And, there should be mandatory review courses each year.

          2. Justice for All

            How can I disagree with you? I work week with the CAT and their counterpart, CEGU in the institutions. We do call them as soon as we have a situation. But, sometimes things go down so fast and so wrong, it is up to the officer to be the “mental health” professional. And, at the same time, you have to restrain the individual to keep them from hurting themselves.

            I am all for training. But training in our department, like others, is severely limited to just 24 hours for institutional officers and 40 hours for field officers. Last year, I was fortunate enough to receive an extra 16 hours of training. How did I use it? in NAMI training when they offered the course here.

            There has been a lot of good information posted here in spite of the ones who don’t understand what the original post was about. Thanks.

        2. Dear Xer, thank you for your kind words, and for actually taking the time to wade through this comment that I somehow managed to post without proper paragraph formatting. I apologize for that; I know it made it extremely difficult to read. Thank you also so much for sharing your personal experience- which, unfortunately, is all too typical. Thank you for reading and learning, and please keep trying to help spread the truth about severe mental illness- which can include severe depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, and others. Most of these illness share many of the same overlapping symptoms, since they are all brain disorders.

      2. Justice For All, very well written. You managed to describe a life that has no realty with clarity. I know how challenging that can be as I have been engulfed in schizophrenic behavior and the social misconceptions that go along with it since my brothers onset over 30 years ago. Your story reads like a mirror to mine.

        My brother has had many encounters with the police, some handled with sensitivity and correctly transported to the mental health facility and one horror of 3 direct tasers, resulting to an arrest. Spending 3 days in jail untreated (further pushing him to a deeply dark psychotic place), refusing to consume any food or water before a judge ordered him to a mental health facility. My brother is not homeless and the taser experience happened in his own home. I have read of numerous mishandling of of the mentally ill by the police that result in tragedy. I thank my lucky stars that my brother has nine life’s.

        Keep writing for all the Kelly Thomas out there.

        1. my brothers keeper, thank you so much for adding your comments and perspective. I really appreciate people, such as yourself, who have first hand experience with mental illness and who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge. Please don’t ever lose hope; I know that I never will. There are answers to be found.

          Something that I found that I believe truly helps are the essential fatty acids DHA, EPA, and ALA. Avocados (decrease cholesterol and triglycerides, decrease LDL and increase HDL), walnuts and hemp oil (wonderful sources of ALA), wild fresh or frozen wild salmon, (and most canned salmon is great because it is usually wild), tuna, and sardines. I would not recommend farm raised fish as they usually contain more pollutants from runoff, fertilizers, etc. and farm raised fish are often fed with fish feed made from petroleum based products such as artifical astaxanthin- which is used to improve the color of the fish and used to turn flamingos into the pink color, etc.

          DHA has been proven to improve memory. In research studies on DHA, EPA and ALA, people suffering from schizophrenia were given 10 grams per day- for six weeks of MaxEPA (a prescription of concentrated fish oil). The study results revealed that participants showed “significant improvement” in their negative symptoms.

          This is great news since medications help to reduce the positive symptoms (which are hallucinations and delusions); however, medications usually have no effect on the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, such as the lack of motivation, the inability to take pleasure or interest in activities, etc. The MaxEPA,(concentrated fish oil prescription) had no effect on the positive symptoms of schizophrenia; however, it DID significantly lessen the negative symptoms.

          You can google DHA, schizophrenia and Harvard research studies for more info. I prefer the Algal-900 DHA from CVS and I order it online when it’s on sale. If your brother can not take the rather large gel capsules, you can clip the end with scissors and then squeeze the oil into some tuna fish in a bowl and mix it in. Also, you might try mixing the tuna with avocado, instead of mayo. Try to reduce the amount of omega 6 and omega 9s in the diet, and try to greatly increase the ratio of omega 3s. It can take at least 6 weeks, or more, to improve the brain’s functioning, neurotransmitter communications, and to correct the essential fatty acid ratio in the brain cell walls, but I feel it is well worth the effort.

          Remember that after a stroke or other brain injury, it can take a long time, 6 months or more, for the brain to “re-wire” itself, but it can be done.

          Also, I recommend probiotics, since I believe that people with schizophrenia are perhaps not able to digest proteins properly, and those proteins may end up in the brain as tangled up amyloid protein plaques-very similar to the brains of people who suffer from alzheimers. (Probiotics capsules can be opened up and the contents can be mixed into a tuna fish sandwich).

          Also, I believe that nicotinic acid, which is niacin, and other b vitamins are very crucial. I found a product called Wheat Grass Boost, by Agro Labs. It contains B3, B6, and B12. (I buy it when it’s on sale at Costco.) My son doesn’t like to take large pills, but he will drink this juice. It is only 3oz of juice in each little bottle/once a day.

          Also, if your brother is very thin, (even though he may eat enough-he may not be able to absorb the nutrients and his metabolism may be impaired)- he may possibly have a wasting disease called cachexia, which is also common in AIDs and cancer patients. I give my son a capsule of vitamin E three or four times a week, and I think it helps with the cachexia and has helped my son to finally put on a little weight.

          You can also squeeze the vitamin E onto the tuna fish if he won’t take capsules well. I am not a doctor, so I recommend that everyone does their own research. However, these are some of the things that I believe are helping my son. Most psychiatrists only prescribe pharmaceuticals and are not very well educated at all in nutrition.

          I believe that food can be excellent medicine. I am constantly researching for the latest studies on schizophrenia to learn what might be helpful. Avocados are amazing for the brain and also for fighting cancer; you may want to research them. I give them to my son all the time and he loves them-thank heavens! Also, brocolli sprouts are packed with nutrients!! I put them on my son’s sandwiches also.

          I do the above things in addition to my son’s medications. There was a long period of time when my son did not believe that he was sick and he absolutely refused to take his medications; he would literally throw it across the street. He thought it was “poisoning his brain.” He truly believed that everyone else around him was sick, not him.

          During that time, we actually had to secretly put his meds into his juice or soda, etc. in order to get him to take it. I would put a pen mark on the side of the can of soda, or bottle, or cup-so that I would know which container had the meds in it. (For a long time his meds were pills and it was almost impossible to get him to take them. Finally, his meds became available in a liquid form and then it was much easier to give to him in soda, etc.)

          It is very important for them to take their meds since every time that they have another psychotic break- it does more and more damage and it takes longer and longer for them to recover each time.

  11. It is important to remember that people recover from mental illness and homelessness. Kelly was not a “schizophrenic,” he was an individual
    suffering from “schizophrenia.” My wife works with that population and people recover and rebuild their lives. Kelly never got the chance because some thug officers decided he did not deserve it. The city officials reflect that sentiment as well.

    1. You are so right. To describe someone as “schizophrenic” is very dehumanizing and extremely insensitive. It gives the impression that that is the only thing worth mentioning about the life of that person. It also gives the false impression that they somehow have control over their devastating illness or that they are inately bad people. All people are much more than the sum total of their diseases. My son has a name, and I always appreciate when others recognize and value him as a person, and not judge him by the disease that he suffers from.

    2. RE: #25. Thanks @Josh for reiterating some pertinent points. You folks are helpful at disabusing us our ignorance.

  12. To All Cop Apologists on This Site –

    I was a deputy and police officer for a total of 10 years in a major urban County/City. I served on two SOT teams and was also a defensive tactics instructor. I am now in the Army (8 proud unblemished years in the Infantry) and have served in combat.
    IOW, I am no stranger to violence, dynamic situations, the fishbowl policeman live in, or being on the recieving end of Monday morning quarterbacking.
    Or any of the other thousands of excuses policemen have for behavior that would land a private citizen in prison.
    As a Defensive Tactics instructor, I have studied use of force videos and am fully aware that what may appear shocking on videotape to the untrained and inexperienced eye is sometimes fully justified when explained and viewed through the lens of the Use of Force Continuum.
    For those reasons I am going to grant you that you are right about this – I wasn’t there. There might be justificaton for six armored and armed policemen beating a 135lb unarmed homeless man into a coma while he screams for his dad to save him.
    There might be a fucking Bigfoot, too.
    I always chuckle at tose who refer to “damaged combat vets who come home unhinged.” I came home praying I would never have to lift my hand to another human being so long as I live. But I am a soldier, and I dont believe that prayer will be granted.
    I always feel uncomfortable when people thank me so profusely for my service. I appreciate it, really. But I volunteered. I wasn’t a babe in the woods. Its what I do, because someone needed to do it. And if not me, who? If I didn’t believe the American public was worth doing it for, I’d do something else.
    So, back to our selfless heroes on the Fullerton PD -whats their story? If the awesome burden of their service is too much for their sensitive souls, get another job. But don’t expect us to fellate you for your sacrifice -you weren’t drafted and any thanks I owe you comes in the form of pay and benefits. Not happy with those? See “get another job” above.
    And if you beat some poor guy to death and your department (to include your supposedly “good” comrades who object, but not so strenously they will speak out like men of honor) covers it up, there is not a prison too dark or tree to hang you from too high to suit me. Warriors defend the defenseless from Thugs like you.
    I have more respect for the Taliban. At least they don’t expect sympathy from their victims.
    My oath was to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign AND DOMESTIC.
    I am really beginning to think our rifles are pointed the wrong way.

    1. Though you may feel uncomfortable hearing it; Thank you for your service, for protecting those who are weak, and for speaking for those who have no voice.

    2. @Ex-Cop now soldier Mike, please accept my heartfelt THANK YOU for ALL of your honorable service- in so many capacities. Not the least of which is posting on this site to help educate citizens about the wonderful, caring and honorable people that are serving in our military. God bless you and yours always as you defend the defenseless and our constitution. I salute you sir.

  13. I found out over the weekend that I was a little more behind the times on mental health matters than I thought: I learned that many psychologists will not start or attempt conventional therapy if the proposed patient can be diagnosed as having an emergent psychiatric disorder. The logic of course is that all of the psychological counseling could become a waste. At any rate, I had no idea that psychiatrists can now diagnose “pre-Schizophrenia”, where the patient has not yet begun to have short term memory losses, delusions or any breaks from reality, but is already having other symptoms of psychological distress that is predictive of schizophrenia that is “on its way”. WSH

    1. @ Snow Hume, emergent, or prodromal symptoms (very early symptoms of schizophrenia before the first psychotic break occurs) can be very difficult to detect and diagnose accurately. These symptoms are very easily confused with “behavioral problems,” “teenage angst,” or “going through a phase,” etc.

      Unfortunately, so few educators, physicians, or families, or the individuals themselves who are at risk, are able recognize these symptoms for what they are. Ideally, if more people understood what to look for and understood this devastating disease, and understood how common it really is- perhaps we could get people in treatment much sooner, before the first complete psychotic break occurred. It is true that if early treatment is received in time-it can lessen the symptoms and the severity of the illness and greatly improve the chances for a better long term outcome and recovery.

      Early treatment (medication) may even be able to prevent an acute psychotic break. There are many research studies being done on this. More public education is the answer, especially educators and counselors who work with the youth who are so at risk- since schizophrenia usually raises its ugly head in the late teen years, 17, 18, 19,.. If anyone even suspects mental illness, please get your loved one evaluated by a psychiatrist who specializes in severe mental illness. It could make all the difference in the world for your loved one’s life. You must be the advocate for your loved one or for your friend-most likely, no one knows him better than you do.
      If anyone needs help or information, please contact your local NAMI organization, or call the mental health department, or call a hospital that specializes in treating schizophrenia, such as UCLA, or UCSD. They have ongoing research studies and they are very knowledgeable, caring and interested in helping. But, do something immediately, don’t wait.

  14. I have written to the city council and to my congressperson (In DC). If the city council will not release the video, then we should push for a federal investigation and the council should be seen as accomplices to the crime/murder. Those who protect the criminals are aiding and abetting which is still a crime.

  15. Very nice send off, good words, Admin.

    As for Kelly, I can only hope that those people who see the homeless as a scourge on the neighborhood, will take time to see the humanity behind each person. The person on the street is drifting, though many suffer from unimaginable amounts of emotional pain.

    Everyone on the street has a family member who has probably tried for years to help. For them, it’s been an exercise in frustration, hope, and having your heart broken over and over again. Those parents, sisters, brothers and friends have spent countless hours trying to assist, sleepless nights, and have thought of the possibility of awful scenarios like the one that played out with Kelly Thomas.

    My condolences to the Thomas family, and my deepest wishes to all families who grow ever more battle weary with each passing year.

  16. Soldier Mike – “…fully aware that what may appear shocking on videotape to the untrained and inexperienced eye is sometimes fully justified when explained and viewed through the lens of the Use of Force Continuum.” So as a Defensive Tactics instructor, you are making a judgement call based only on the video? And add sarcasm by calling the officers “selfless heroes,” you’re ready to hang them from the highest tree, call them “thugs” and rate them worse than the Taliban. You are so full of yourself. Go away. Just simply go away.

    1. @ paulm5545, no, Kelly’s murder can not “be fully justified when explained and viewed through the lens of the Use of Force Continuum” in Kelly’s case.

      No one is making a judgement call based solely on the video- since the FPD won’t release the video to us. What is the FPD trying to hide? Obvious answer: the truth.

      Therefore, we base our judgements on many eye witness accounts, insider information, Kelly’s history of mental illness, a horrific photo taken of Kelly in the hospital showing the extent of the brutality used against Kelly, etc., and not least- the fact that Kelly was so brutally and mercilessly deprived of his right to life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness without due process of law.

      You have a lot of nerve and false bravado to dare to come on this site and try to justify Kelly’s murder. A mentally ill, paranoid, frightened, unarmed, defenseless, homeless man dared to try to take a few steps in the wrong direction to get away from “peace officers.” Kelly, a vulnerable man, not able to defend himself against the rage and force of six armed officers, dared to move around in pain and in an attempt at the self preservation of his very life; he dared to cry out for help while being tazed and beaten- so the officers decided that under the color of authority they were justified in continuing the beating- long after Kelly was face down on the ground, incapacitated and controlled by six officers, and no longer conscious. There was no need to murder Kelly. The officers could have just held his arms and legs down with their hands until Kelly had worn himself out. Or, perhaps even called for someone to administer a tranquilizer as a last resort. That’s what they do to bears or lions that are far more dangerous- for heaven’s sake. Stop with the rationalizations of the murder of a helpless man.

      You should realize by now that your attempt to justify Kelly’s brutal and vicious murder is an attempt to justify the unjustifiable- by any human standards. Except, for perhaps in the minds of the guilty officers and others who were on their power trips and involved in the policies, training, hiring and coverups.

    2. @# 31 paulm 5545.If you truly are a “Defensive

      Tactics instructor” what defense did a 130lb mentally

      ill homeless man have against 6 heavily armed police

      thugs reminds me of the film “Clock Work Orange.I

      think low life’s like you who are willing to defend

      this conduct should have a full psychiatric

      evaluation.Further more not only was there video but

      numerous “EYE WITNESSES” who seen every thing right

      from it’s onslaught. i like the way you describe

      this beat down “may appear shocking on video tape”

      yea it was extremely more shocking to the eye witness

      who had to be subject to this beat down.Next you will

      tell me that Jesus Christ Himself blood dripping down
      his body nailed to the cross Hey don’t worry my

      fellow Christians it only looks shocking! the

      roman(FPD) pigs were justified HE HAD THE audacity to

      askus “what did i do wrong: i hope every one who

      partook this assault on a man who did nothing but be

      at the wrong place at the wrong time



      1. I am not a police officer or a defensive tactics officer and never wrote, “it may appear shocking on video tape.” It appears you may have my post confused with someone else.

        1. I was not and I am not trying to justify the death of Mr. Thomas, but it has not (yet) been proven to be murder. Please read my 2nd response to ex-cop now soldier Mike.

  17. @paulm5150 yes 5150

    you are a dick
    the after picture of kelly thomas says it all.

  18. Thank you all for standing so strong for Kelly Thomas. His poor lifeless body struck a horrific feeling inside me when I read, saw and heard all of the news on this case. I’m sure the ‘dirty six’ doesn’t reflect the entire Fullerton Police Department but then be men and stand up for those who you are to protect. I know that homeless people aren’t the easiest people to deal with but then put in place the mental health professionals to deal with them when getting a call like this….this was an unnecessary taking of someone’s life. Some coward too tough to show a little compassion and make that extra call. Is that going beyond the call of duty or is it just easier to kick the living crap out of someone until he dies? It breaks my heart for the Kelly Thomas Family and for all who knew this lost and sick soul. Clean this Fullerton station house, city council and all those who have covered up this unspeakable crime. We’ve got the power now and this story will not disappear. As a non-Fullerton citizen, I will continue to watch for any demonstrational support for this case and participate in any way to keep this in the news. These officers should be ashamed of themselves and don’t deserve to be walking the streets or have administrative leave with pay. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Kelly Thomas Family and to the citizens of Fullerton.

  19. Paulm 5545,
    Making a judgment call based only on the video, am I? Well, no. I’m not. I’m making the judgment call based on two videos, one of which contained spontaneous utterances by eyewitnesses. I am making a judgment call based on what appears to be credible testimony from an anonymous insider. Those facts would only take me to the level of Reasonable Suspicion by themselves. I might say wait if that was all we had. But throw in the actions of a department that apparently won’t even be bothered to try to avoid the appearance of impropriety in their response to this incident and finally, in the common sense reflection that had this involved private citizens (whatever the justification ultimately turned out to be) those private citizens would have already been arrested and charged – well, “Probable Cause” has been achieved.
    Oops. And lets not forget “The Dead Guy.” Thats pretty compelling too.
    You understand that probable cause is the legal requirement for a police officer to deprive a person of life, liberty and property, don’t you? In fact, “Reasonable Suspicion” under Terry v. Ohio (defined as “articulable facts) is the only requirement for deprivation of liberty for “stop and frisk.” “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” is only required for a conviction in a court of law. So if we have met the standard for a policeman to arrest and charge a person (and use any force necessary up to and including deadly force to effect the arrest), or at the very least stop and frisk that person, we have more than met the standard for Mike to say “This Smells A Whole Lot Like Bullshit. Bullshit I Have Smelled (and your allusion to my background should have hipped you to) Seen Before.”
    Particularly when no legal standard exists which attaches a requirement for me to form an opinion in the first place. I have gone above and beyond what the law requires of me by keeping my silence this long.
    Simply Go Away? No, I won’t. But I am sure you would like me too -and take all the rest of these snivelling, scumbag loving, cop hating, probably-voted-for-Obama-and-support-gay marriage-Dope-smoking-liberal-crybabies with me while I am at it too. I see that all over this site on this issue. And you just can’t see it, can you? That description may fit some of these people (and so what if it does – that doesn’t mean they can’t be right about this), but it certainly doesn’t fit everyone who is outraged about this. Not from what I’ve read. It certainly doesn’t fit me. People from all walks of life are outraged, and regardless of what the final outcome of this investigation is (I can’t wait myself -Men From Mars, lightning bolts out of his ass, laser beams frm his eyes, I am really waiting to see somebody explain this), they should be. When a citizen dies at the hands of the government that we employ to serve us, I damn well hope somebody is paying attention and cares enough to say -“You need to explain this.” When one dies under these circumstances, decent people are justified in being outraged and to demand answers from their public servants NOW – I really don’t care to live in a world where that doesn’t happen.
    Remember, like the suspect in the interrogation room, the FPD is the one really in control of this situation. The sooner they come clean with all the evidence, with the TRUTH – the sooner this is over. Then, if there is nothing untoward here – we will all “simply go away.”
    I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard a cop say “an honest citizen shouldn’t mind us searching his car. If he isn’t doing anything wrong, he has nothing to worry about.” But when the shoe is on the other foot, my but ya’ll do get butthurt, dontcha? “How dare these sheeple get all uppity and demand that we, their masters, explain our actions! Who do these….citizens….. THINK THEY ARE!
    Try this attitude on for size and see if it doesn’t work better for you – If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. You would welcome scrutiny, as the only possible outcome of that scrutiny would be credit for your honest, straightforward efforts on behalf of law, order and all that is decent. Remember, unlike that citizen that so many cops seem to think should be just tickled shitless to let cops paw through his vehicle on the roadside while his wife watches, you OWE the public that attitude. You are asking that citizen to surrender his rights to allow you to do that.
    “Simply Go Away.” Yes, now we arrive at the crux of the problem, of which this tragic incident is only a symptom. The sneering, “how dare you question your betters,” “We don’t need no stinking badges” attitude that fairly oozes from US law enforcement not just all over these pages in this forum but into so tediously many encounters with your employers (thats the citizens, FYI) on the streets of this country.
    And by the way, yes. I have damn sure been guilty of it myself. I know what Im talking about.
    Some may fancy it enlightened and less – how shall I say it – “Full of one’s self” to scold us into looking at thse cops and saying “there but for the grace of God go I.” Maybe that is your attitude. I look at Kelly Thomas, think of my son, imagine myself watching a video and hearing him scream for me to save him with his last conscious breath – then I think of Kelly Thomas’ father who doesn’t have to imagine it – and along with a lot of other people say “there but for the grace of God go I.” Try it some time. It doesn’t make me feel “full of myself.”
    In closing, I want to point out what is very possibly the defining deifference between myself (and I suspect many others on this site) and you and the other FPD supporters – I hope we are wrong. I pray we are wrong. I hope that when all the evidence finally comes to light there is a perfectly rational explanation for this tragedy and I wind up eating every word I have posted on it. I hope when this is over, I will have no honest intellectual option but to come on this site and say “I am sorry. I was wrong.” Because if we aren’t wrong, I have to wonder if we are living and I am defending the United States of Dystopia – and whether this man’s blood is a drop in the bucket compared to what is to come before things are right again.

    1. Mike, since you are a former cop maybe you can answer this:

      Do police officers get trained to recognize signs of mental illness? Shouldn’t they treat mentally ill suspects in a different manner, perhaps call for more experienced cop for backup? And since Kelly Thomas was a fixture in Fullerton for some time, shouldn’t the cops have been aware of his schizophrenia?

    2. I am defending absolutely nobody…not the Chief, not the officers and not Fullerton PD. The only thing I know for sure is that the death of Mr. Kelly was horrendously tragic and needs to be thoroughly investigated. I am glad the FBI is involved. That will answer the question, “Someone died at the hands of the government. You need to explain this.” Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I suppose, as I read your post, I expected more from you. I do not know you, but believing what your wrote, with your training and experience, I expected you to be the voice of reason, one who remains calm under fire, to hold the line when everyone else wants to rush forward without knowing all the facts, to provide a little leadership when everyone else wants to act on emotion – to hold off on judgement and name calling until the investigation was complete. I was wrong.

      1. @paulm5545, If we all held off on judgement, as you suggest, this whole sordid affair would have never seen the light of day. It would have been swept under the rug and never investigated. Considering the facts that we have before us, I don’t believe that Ex-Cop now soldier Mike is being unreasonable at all. Mike opposes and speaks out against this horrific police brutality and he so very clearly has elucidated his reasoning in condemning the murder of a defenseless man. This is not being unreasonable at all; In fact, his willingness to stand up for the oppressed and the defenseless is nothing less than honorable. However, I do believe that you “protesteth too loudly.”

        “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke

        1. Judgement comes after the investigation, not before. Holding off on judgement does not mean sweep it under the rug.

          1. The FPD judgement was that they could
            sweep this under the rug and they hoped that it would “just go away.” No one was paying any attention to this story until FFFF and other citizens took action.

            My judgement is that no one is above the law; especially not those who wear badges of authoritity, and who hold the lives of the public in their hands.

            My considered judgement is that a grave injustice has been done to Kelly Thomas and his family, and that officers are guilty of murder. I am more than entitled to my opinion as I see the facts at this time. I don’t believe there are any possible extenuating circumstances that could ever excuse this murder. Beating someone to death after they have been face down on the ground for 15 minutes, tased 6 times, kicked in the head, drop kneed twice, beaten with a baton, and then the final coup de grace of the blow with the butt end of the taser/flashlight.

            Listen to the horror expressed by the witnesses as they got on the bus. Listen to the horror of the other witnesses as they stood helplessly watching the murder. Listen to Kelly begging for his life. Look at the photo of Kelly on life support in the hospital. Look at all the silence and cover up of this murder. Look at the false statements and the photograph of a completely different man’s booking photo (purported to be a photo of Kelly Thomas) that was released by the FPD in an effort to minimize and cover up this murder. Learn about the threats to Kelly’s family and the FPD offer of a $900,000 settlement- even before “all the facts are known.” Listen to the insider who has given information about what happened that night. Talk to Kelly’s dad, (as I have, by the way). Learn a TON about schizophrenia, (as I have, by the way- from many years of personal experience with a son who has schizophrenia). Talk to a witness who was there, (as I have, by the way).

            What exactly is there about this murder that you don’t understand? What else is there that you need to know before you can form a reasoned opinion?

            Do you think it is all of a sudden going to be revealed that the officers thought that Kelly Thomas had a candy bar in his pocket, and so they were afraid, and they thought that Kelly might have had a weapon? And, they were afraid that Kelly might somehow free himself from being hog tied and beaten by six men and then, while he was unconscous, Kelly might reach for his candy bar and shoot one of the officers? I can’t even imagine what the six officers thought that Kelly was going to do to them- that could possibly have threatened the officers’ lives to the point that they needed to kill him. They had Kelly hog tied and incapacitated. Three officers were on top of him as he was being tased, kicked and beaten beyond recognition.

            I don’t need too many questions answered about this murder in order to see the facts that are already in plain view. No, I wasn’t there, but plenty of other people were. I don’t think they are ALL lying.

            A couple of the obvious questions that I DO want answered are: How can the men wearing badges, whom we trust with our lives, and who are sworn to “Serve and Protect” do this to another human being- let alone to a helpless, mentally ill person? What are we going to do about this to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Would the officers have done the same thing to me, a 55 year old woman, if I had been sitting on that bench on July 5th, instead of Kelly Thomas? If I had tried to run away-would the officers have killed me too? Would they have beaten me until I died because I was writhing in pain and screaming for help? Or because I was struggling in an effort to preserve my life?

            I will say it again. There is no excuse possible for this brutal murder. There were so many other options available to the officers. This was not a situation where the officers’ lives were seriously threatened and they can claim self defense, nor even an accident where Kelly accidentally got shot in the darkness, or was killed by crossfire. I have not heard any type of defense for this murder that can be substantiated or defended. No, this was a deliberate brutal, beat down- murder. The FPD will have to present very strong evidence indeed to convince me otherwise; until then, my opinion stands. And, I’m entitled to my opinion.

  20. It’s a free country, if you want to be a drifter you can……to survive on the street though, I think you’d need to be of a stable mind to be able to care for yourself. Unfortunately Kelly Thomas suffered from schizophrenia, so i’m not sure if he even intended to be a drifter.

  21. fuck the videos

  22. Unless the laws are vastly different between California and Michigan, this sure lands on the side of murder. Doesn’t matter who’s wearing the badges, other than it seems more shocking when the murderers are. Sympathy to the family; outrage at the “peace” officers.

  23. Warren,

    When I was on the job, the State required Mental Health In-Service Training annually. Its been awhile, I can’t remember if it was 40 hours annually or 16. Further, county DHS had a mental health crisis response team that we could call 24-7 if we were deaing with a mental health issue. They were like a gift from heaven.

  24. So many good things have been said here in defense of Kelly Thomas and in enligtening everyone on the mental illness which fosters human beings to homelessness.This is a deep subject and a deeper heartache for families whose loved ones are mentally ill. I speak from experience,lost my 33 year old daughter in a heartbreaking death. The wounds stay forever at the loss.Even a mother’s love cannot protect an adult child who is living in a tortured mind. Even a father’s protection couldn’t save Kelly Thomas. Hearing him calling out for his Dad awakens the consciousness of the most primal human instinct and from the parent of an offspring. A lion will devour and shred apart any threatening to her cub. The cub knows the security of the mother lion. Kelly Thomas is now the poster child for homeless mentally ill adults.He hasn’t yet become the poster person for “homelessness”.
    After following the things that are still unfolding as far as witnesses and video, I don’t need a trial or jury to tell me what happened. Of course there’s the “rest of the story” but the heart (or heartlessness) of this is in my opinion that the first cop at the scene saw first of all- a homeless man. A second rate person(or non person to him). Nothing new. Had it been a prominent “citizen”,sitting on a bench not commiting any offense in a public place,different story altogether.YOU CAN BOOK IT! Cops kiss up to power. I know there are good people in uniform as well,but I am not speaking of those.

    From witness accounts Kelly Thomas was just sitting when the cops confronted him. He didn’t want the confrontation and was afraid of being arrested.He either got up and moved away or walked or possibly began to run.That is not yet known. The cop was angry that his authority was defied. Who was this “bum” to challenge his authority,he’ll show him..He slammed him to the pavement and for good measure started the beating. There was a scuffle which instantly became a beating and the other cop joined in.

    Now at this point I want to stop…
    The anonymous caller who has called the radio station,in my opinion is either one of the dispatchers who witnessed this on video while it occurred or was friends with the dispatchers and saw it right away. This is a person of conscience who has a heart and calls it for what it is..a murder by cops(bad cops) The radio announcer asks him a question that is crucial here- Did he know it the cops knew ahead of arriving at the scene the name of the suspect being Kelly Thomas? The answer was “NO”. So, if that was the case, it could have been anybody. To the knowledge of these two cops,they saw a man,a homeless,unkept looking man and they targeted in on him. HE DIDN”T GET A CHANCE TO engage in a conversation where they would know he was mentally ill BECAUSE he had instantly been SLAMMED to the pavement. Now, this is important because it further shows the brutality of this psycho cop who was a self appointed killing machine. Now the other brothers who flocked to the kill,what was their part? Just felt like a good fight to work off some anxiety, just felt like kicking a little…? Part of a modes Operandi to cover up the fact that Kelly Thomas was defenseless already with just two cops and tasering repeatedly? Make it look like Kelly Thomas was this bad,wild man with super human strength that took 6 cops and at least 6 tasering to “restrain” him?

    Now, if what the anonymous caller has revealed is so, the “cover up” began immediately in falsifying the reports of the “incident” MURDER. This he stated came from the top guys. So now this is a whole new ball of wax. Covering up murder would that be an accomplice to murder charges? As well as malfeasance of duty,and other civil rights violations.

    If the town of Fullerton,California lets this go without full scope of the law being administered they are asking for big trouble.
    I don’t even live in California and have nothing invested in that town,but this is America’s child who was murdered. Kelly Thomas, God rest his soul has been a sacrificial lamb,may his death not be in vain.(I weep with everyone )

    1. Dear Ripplewine,
      Thank you for your insightful comments. I want to tell you how truly sorry I am for the loss of your daughter. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

      I am fortunate that my 28 year old son is alive and doing fairly well right now. But, the brutal and horrific murder of Kelly Thomas has taken all of my deepest, darkest nightmares and turned them into a terrifying reality- once again.

      Law enforcement murders during contact with the mentally ill occur far too often. There is no excuse for these murders; however, that is what they do best. They use the excuse of “self defense” when a sick person so much as waves a stick at them, or a garden nozzle.

      In Kelly’s case, the officers may, or may not, have known exactly who the person was that they were threatening and beating. If they did not know who he was- then all homeless, or scruffy looking individuals are at risk of receiving the same treatment. Or, perhaps, just anyone who tries to run in fear for their life.

      Kelly, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia,(already suffering from paranoia and frightened out of his mind), was guilty only of trying to run away from the officers, after they terrorized him with their threats. Apparently, the officer’s threats were recorded by the voice recorder that they all wear on their uniforms. One of the first officers that approached Kelly (Kelly was sitting on a bench after he had just finished eating dinner), brandished his club/stick and then threatened Kelly and said something to the effect that he was the one who was going to kick or beat Kelly’s @ss. That’s why Kelly ran.

      The officer provoked and terrified Kelly and the officers greatly escalated the situation with a mentally ill person- instead of trying to de-escalate and defuse it. In my opinion, the officer should be in jail just for making those threats against Kelly!! And, of course, they committed murder. And, I believe it was murder in the first degree. I believe it was premeditated; however, it might be difficult to prove.

      The officers had no intention of doing a rational investigation, nor of being sensitive to the needs of the people they serve. I believe they were out for blood from the get go. I believe they had a mission and an agenda-to send a message to homeless/transients/mentally ill that they were not welcome in Fullerton. I believe that this attitude was condoned by the Chief of Police, the city manager, the Mayor and by the city council members. I believe there is a lot of blame to go around, and all involved must be held accountable to the fullest extent possible.

      I am so sickened and horrified by this murder that it is very difficult for me to think of anything else. I was away for the past week on a family vacation, and I just wanted to cry whenever I thought of Kelly and what he and his family have suffered.

      Thank you for speaking out against this latest murder. Kelly IS a hero and hopefully, by his death, he will educate millions about mental illness and homelessness.

  25. BTW,

    Through Different Eyes, Justice For All and others, my thanks and prayers back at you.

  26. Change or not that is not Kelly Thomas. He still is a young guy. And one thing in him he always had his hair neatly done, loose or a pony tail.

  27. A tragic event. Yet, police officers were injured and suffered broken bones during the fight with Thomas. Stop using Thomas’s unfortunate events cause your a cop hater due to the ticket you got or because you partyed like a rock star and got a DUI. WHEN A COP TELLS YOU STOP YOU STOP. WHEN YOU FIGHT YOUR LUCKY TO COME OUT WALKING…YOU BREAK A COPS BONE…well…enough said.

    1. @Zoe and @o no…more of them. You two obviously do not know any of the facts of this case. Do your homework, watch the videos, listen to the insider information, etc. and then come back and join the converstation. Begin by reading all of the comments from the very beginning of this thread and other threads as well. I’ll give you a hint to get started on…NO BONES WERE BROKEN. That was a lie and it was disinformation that was put out by the FPD in order to try to minimize and to try to justify the horror of what they did to Kelly. You don’t have any idea what you are talking about and you don’t deserve to have anyone waste their time trying to explain it all to you. Please do some research.

    2. #60 by zoe on August 3, 2011
      A tragic event. Yet, police officers were injured and suffered broken bones during the fight with Thomas. Stop using Thomas’s unfortunate events cause your a cop hater due to the ticket you got or because you partyed like a rock star and got a DUI. WHEN A COP TELLS YOU STOP YOU STOP. WHEN YOU FIGHT YOUR LUCKY TO COME OUT WALKING…YOU BREAK A COPS BONE…well…enough said.

      Dear Zoe,

      It’s fantastic to see someone is bringing fresh information here. Have X-rays showing broken bones of police officers been released? Or original Un-‘doctored’ hospital reports? Can you post them here for us? If not, please post a link. Some sort of actual proof of your claims would be appreciated … and may save you from being sued by Kelly Thomas’ family for libel and defamation of character, since the only evidence, I’ve heard of, available (video), besides the corroborating eye witness statements that is, indicate Kelly Thomas was non-violent until physically attacked, and then he only tried to survive. (Hope that sentence wasn’t to long for you to finish.) The only ones fighting, if you call beating to death a diminutive, helpless, mentally ill, unarmed man ‘fighting,’ (I call it cowardice) were the police officers. ALL Kelly Thomas was Guilty of was attempting to continue living, oh and begging for his father’s help—now that is certainly a capital offense, no? Where in the US Constitution or Laws of California, or Fullerton is resisting lethal force to simply stay LIVING illegal? If so there is something seriously awry in America.

      That asked, even if Kelly HAD broken any police officer’s bone (an accusation completely unsupported by ANY tangible evidence produced so far), is THAT a capital offense? And, does the attacking officer have justification to carry out the execution immediately himself? At least, in your unbiased educated opinion? Why do we even bother electing judges, subjecting citizens to weeks of waiting to find if they are on juries, and hiring court officials, prison guards, not to mention building multimillion dollar prisons? You’re right. No wonder America is going broke! What a waste of tax dollars when any and every cop can just play Judge Dread on the spot! I’ll bet the Chinese we owe so much money don’t bother going to such lengths to protect their citizens Rights. Yep, that’s what America needs, less peace officers and more executioners. THAT’S the ticket!

      Now perhaps we can address your blatant delusion:

      “[your] a cop hater due to the ticket you got or because you [partyed] like a rock star and got a DUI. WHEN A COP TELLS YOU STOP YOU STOP.”

      To begin with, when ANYONE with a gun tells me to do anything I comply whether they display a badge or not, but then I don’t suffer from mental illness. As for hating “COPS:” My uncle was a cop in Central and Southern California for over twenty-five years. These days he prefers the company of more gentle animals than humans, but I wouldn’t be caught dead walking on four legs, or swimming with fins when he is around. He can still be positively lethal. 😉 Perhaps, if some of Fullerton’s ‘Finest’ took up fishing or game hunting they would feel less need to kill two legged creatures? And, Kelly Thomas would still be alive to scrounge cigarette butts in downtown Fullerton to his schizophrenic little heart’s content, and to go visit with his family.

      I still remember when approaching my teens and my uncle taught me to make my own arrowheads from flint rocks. Though we’ve not spent time together in years, I will always love my retired ‘cop’ uncle. Was proud of him then and proud of him still. I love people in general, and the older I get the more I seem to find to love, regardless their chosen occupation. I’ve enjoyed meeting several police officers over the years, even ones issuing me citations. One New Year’s Eve on my way home from visiting a brother, I had a white-haired, bright red-nosed police officer who had caught me in a radar trap, issue me a speeding citation. He said, and I quote, “ you are the most polite person I have ever issued a ticket in my career. When I asked if he would then consider making the citation a warning he only chuckled, tore the ticket from it’s pad and handed it to me. I did not hate him, but wished him a safe night and Happy New Year! You’ve got a lot of damned gall assuming I hate cops just because I hold them to no less standard than I do any other American citizen. Anyone guilty of murder should be tried and convicted by a jury, EVEN cops. The difference between my uncle and the Fullerton 6 is my uncle upheld the Law instead of thinking he was the Law. By the way, another ex-cop I greatly admire is ‘Now Soldier Mike, who once upheld the US Constitution on American soil and now battles overseas to defend it. He seems like a stand up guy. Wonder how many of the Fullerton 6 have even read the Constitution and Bill Of Rights, much less grasp it?

      Have you read the Constitution Zoe? The Bill Of Rights? Do you understand what purpose policemen serve in American society? Can you wrap your head around the concept their sworn duty is to protect ALL citizens, not just to cover their buddies behinds?

      Next time, if you can’t produce some proof to back up your wild claims, at least try and bring SOMETHING to the table in order to be less a waste of internet bandwidth, perhaps some thought? Thanks.

  28. zoe, i believe u do have some truth to that. most people that deal with an officers its usually for a negative reason..either u have been a victim or u have done something wrong and got in trouble…thus most people never see anything positive….. not justifing what these officers did, but as the da said, review tapes, interview witnnesses and then a descion can be made….

    our legal system may not be the the best but its certainly alot better then other places……

    1. #66 by o no…more of them on August 3, 2011
      zoe, i believe u do have some truth to that. most people that deal with an officers its usually for a negative reason..either u have been a victim or u have done something wrong and got in trouble…thus most people never see anything positive….. not justifing what these officers did, but as the da said, review tapes, interview witnnesses and then a descion can be made….

      our legal system may not be the the best but its certainly alot better then [some] other places……

      In that case, what has the FPD to fear from a complete (bottom to top) independent external investigation into the death of Kelly Thomas? Does that question make me a ‘cop hater’ too in your mind(?), because I believe any honest investigation is going to result in the trial of the Fullerton 6 for murder and conspiracy to cover it up. And, probably eventually another trial for depriving Kelly Thomas his Constitutionally guaranteed Rights. Oh, and actually where I live, several times a year I see some officer assisting a stranded older or female motorist, and I think to myself, “good for you, son,” cause I’m too old and infirm to stop and help people anymore, though I have many times in the past. Once, an officer gave me and my 90+ year-old mother a ride to a pay phone when my car blew it’s timing belt! That was a pretty “positive” experience, wouldn’t you say?

      All the best,

  29. @ Zoe – The man had SCHIZOPHRENIA you moron! Thanks to the AMAZING level of care the mentally ill get in this country, the poor man was left to the streets… So these cops, who hate their life, go home to a fat and miserable wife every night, they took one look at this dude and knew they could get their ass slapped in the locker room the next morning if they beat him to a pulp. The enforcement of laws should never be trusted to a human… its a damn shame we live in such a country where the most ignorant type of person is given a low paying job, a uniform, badge, and a gun and told to enforce the law of the land… I hope they ALL rot in HELL for what they have done.

  30. I have known a few Fullerton Cops over the years and I have also known a few transients. It seems in both there are good one’s and other’s who’s behavior is a little un-becoming. Kelly was one of the good guys. Unfortunetey, many of the cops that patrol our downtown on weekend nights are so amped up from all the bars and drinkers they are policing, they are ready to jump on anyone that looks or acts differently. I have to think this group of cops were so pumped up and ready to kick someone’s Ass they saw Kelly and jumped him the minute he failed to respond to their orders. I think the system failed to .1) keep thug cops off the police force and 2.) teach them how to identify the mentally ill. I also think the primary breakdown occured when these cops murdered Kelly because they lacked the virtues and self restraint necessary to be professional law enforcement officers. All three of these failures originate at the top.

  31. “Sgt. Goodrich confirmed on July 20th that none of the officer’s bones had been broken in the dispute. They did however receive soft tissue damage.”

    well, of course you might bruise your hands when you beat someone to death

  32. Exactly right. Murderers often sustain injuries to themselves. So, when we find out which officers have the most self inflicted injuries, we may then also know the ones who delivered the most blows to Kelly.

  33. @ Justice for ALL #73 Checking their hands is a great idea. Pity it’s been so long that their hands have had plenty of time to heal. I deal with the homeless and schizophrenic in a treatment setting and my heart goes out to all the family members involved in this case. What a useless, tragic death.

    What I simply cannot understand is how the victim came to be beaten into such a pulp. Excessive force is one thing, happens all the time in a police pile up but a ten minute beating in public involving six officers? What in the world was going on that night?

  34. @ Justice for ALL #73 Checking their hands is a great idea. Pity it’s been so long that their hands have had plenty of time to heal. I deal with the homeless and schizophrenic in a treatment setting and my heart goes out to all the family members involved in this case. What a useless, tragic death.

    What I simply cannot understand is how the victim came to be beaten into such a pulp. Excessive force is one thing, happens all the time in a police pile up but a ten minute beating in public involving six officers? What in the world was going on that night?

  35. Not to mention the blood/tissue/fiber evidence on their boots and batons…will corroborate what is on the video that they haven’t released yet.

    1. The video evidence yes. I’m sure a group of cops know how clean their equipment and uniforms though. They have had a month to do it in.

  36. Instinct tells me they won’t want a trial. There is too much evidence already not in their favor. They’ve tried the coverup and are not succeeding,and anymore BS is only making them look worse and worse. They should all be hanging their heads in shame and preparing for their pay back which will come one way or another.If they think they can lose the video of the street camera,it’s too late, there have already been too many people who have seen it. There are overwhelming witnesses who saw what happened,and all the spin they try to spit out is just plain not believable to anyone with half a brain. Maybe some of these brute cops will consider putting their guns to their own heads rather than face prison. The city council also has had a wake up call. Times up for playing stupid and selective hearing from the whole bunch involved in city government who compromised their integrity.
    Without knowing, Kelly Thomas comes out the hero here because he died for the light to shine on this travesty of bad and corrupt government. His torment of the mental deterioration he lived daily is over. He’s been taken out of that by a higher power,sadly the way it came down,but his tragic death has touched nerves and hearts in a powerful way. For that Kelly is a hero and that is worth far more than any career he would have had fighting fires. His life which seemed meaningless became rich and historical in death. I hope that a placque will be placed at the battlefield where his life ended on that street in Fullerton.

    1. Behind the Back Alley Bar in Fullerton hangs a Plaque for another ex-Fullerton Homeless man – Johnnie ?. I can’t recall his last name. It shows a sillouette of a man kicking kung fu style as Johnie used to do around town – he used to fight invisible advesarys. John died in the bathroom at Starbucs about 6 years ago. I was at his benediction. I would really like to see a plaque or even a statue for Kelly at the transportation center where he was killed. It would be fitting as its right next to the bus terminal and the train station. Perhaps it would serve as a reminder to all of us that we are sourjourners in this life – drifters on our way to something better. I know Kelly is somewhere better and it’s awesome considering that he may indeed be remembered as Hero. How ironic and cool would that be? Indeed his death may not have been in vain. I for one would contribute to his fund to procure a plaque. Anyone else?

  37. ex-cop Mike, you are very intelligent and right on the money. I have nothing to add to your comments but would like to say that you have seem to have a lot of integrity and are not afraid to state the truth. Wish there were more of you around.


    On a different note, I would like to add that regardless of the fact that Kelly was a drifter or had mental illness, this tragedy could or may happen to any one of us.

    As far as videos, witness’ or any other evidence, they are great for trials, but we all know that Kelly Thomas was murdered. No civilized nation trains their police force to bash a person on the face, head and neck into compliance. As they say, a picture if worth a thousand words. Those savages viciously beat Kelly to death. This was plain and simple a murder. You do not restrain a person by bashing their skull in.

    Kelly was a defenseless person whose life had value to the rest of us. As much as we tear up, we can never feel the terror and suffering he felt that awful night, a day after 4th of July. Freedom?

    Kelly has been described as a quite man so for him to scream for his father, God to come and resuce him must of taken a tremendous amount of effort. Kelly was pleading for his life and so many people were too paralyzed with fear to come near to help him.

    Well now we need to stand up and be his voice and others voice who we never hear of. Who knows, our call for Justice today may one day save our own live in the future.

    The people that were there were witnesses to his death and must have the moral strength to help him now.

    Kelly must never be forgotten. His death should not be in vain.

    Kelly is at peace now and no one can hurt him anymore; he’s with our Lord, Jesus Christ.

  38. I’m very thrilled about becoming a drifter. Married like sucks and I’m tired of always being laid off or fired from work. The system really stinks. There are people living out of their cars and holding very well paid jobs and beating the system, but I’d rather get out and walk—-explore the entire USA. Check out every stadium, museum, state, city, etc. Maybe work on and off every other year or so. It only costs about $5 a day to survive, so a thousand bucks can get me around for a few months.

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