At about the 14:30 mark of the Kelly Thomas murder video something happens. Suddenly the mood of Manny Ramos changes from one of bored hostility to outright aggression. He has just gone to the back of the patrol car and has had a conversation with Joe Wolfe who has been sifting through Thomas’s scant possessions in his backpack.
When Ramos returns to Kelly he immediately dons the latex gloves that a helpful Wolfe had previously given him (“take these you may need them”) and begins to verbally threaten the homeless man. “See these fists? These fists are about to fuck you up…” For his part Thomas seems to sense the ramped up hostility. When Ramos tries to grab his shoulder Kelly brushes away the cop’s hand and stands. Immediately sensing his peril he puts his hands up and begins slowly backing away. It’s too late.
Suddenly Wolfe appears almost on cue; at the top of the frame he emerges from behind the patrol car, where, a mere 15 feet away he must have been perfectly aware of what was going on. As Kelly continues to back away toward the front of the car, Wolfe lunges at him, swinging his baton; immediately he is joined by Ramos who takes a swing to, too. As Kelly begins to flee rightward in front of the car and out of the frame, we can’t see what happens next; but Ramos has evidently managed to grab or tackle Thomas as Wolfe, who has circled counterclockwise around the back of the car, piles on.
So here’s my question: how can Joe Wolfe be exonerated from any wrongdoing by the DA? Barely fifteen feet from the exchange between Ramos and Kelly, he must have known exactly what was going on; he also knew who he was dealing with; and he actually struck the first, illegal blow with his stick. So why was Joe Wolfe never charged with a crime?