Social Question

_Whitetigress's avatar

What is your opinion about the Anaheim officers who killed a 37 year old homeless and unarmed man?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4354 points ) October 10th, 2012

The video here has me sickened to my stomach. I mean, I read about this incident, but seeing it is completely mind blowing.

It seems to me the officer instigated the whole thing verbally and physically.

http://rt.com/usa/news/footage-kelly-death-thomas-811/

What is your overall opinion on the matter of officers who resort to physical force?

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30 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

“The cause of death might be the treatment he got [at] the hospital?”
Unbelievable.

rooeytoo's avatar

Of course the initial reaction is horror. But then you have to think it took 4 and they were still having trouble restraining the man, I have read that certain drugs cause one to have superhuman strength. He was told repeatedly to put his hands behind his back and he refused, he acted aggressively. Had I been one of the officers trying to control him, would I have been afraid for my own safety? After I consider all that, I still think more force was used than perhaps was required but I disagree that the cop was the instigator, the man refused to do as he was told, are you saying the cop should have just let him be? Cops have a rough job but I think most of them perform well. As with any other group of people though, there are always some who are borderline. I don’t know the whole story so it is hard to judge what exactly is the situation here.

elbanditoroso's avatar

There is more to the story than that which was written in a Russian newspaper.
I don’t know the facts, and neither do you, so I cannot comment on this particular incident.

However, in general, I would say that policemen do not go out on patrol with the idea of creating fights and killing people. There is some provocation which is responded to.

Sensationalism is fun to get people going, but facts – all the facts – are usually more accurate.

wonderingwhy's avatar

“See my fists?” Ramos says.

“Yeah,” Thomas replies. “What about ‘em?”

“They’re getting ready to fuck you up,” Ramos says while sliding on a pair of latex gloves.

~source

“We ran out of options so I got the end of my Taser and I probably… I just start smashing his face to hell,” Cicinelli said at the end of the July 5 video, according to the transcript provided by prosecutors to the Associated Press. “He was on something. Cause the three of us couldn’t even control him.”

Thomas had no illicit drugs or alcohol in him at the time of the incident, according to the toxicology report.

~source

As far as physical force it’s necessary to do the job but it also entails good judgement and responsibility both of which these officers appear to have forsook. If found guilty I hope Ramos enjoys what should be the maximum sentence, it’s a shame the others won’t be able to join him for just as long.

tom_g's avatar

I don’t get the whole “police have a rough job” thing. So do tons of people. 5th-grade teachers have a rough job. But the day that a teacher beats up a student for being a little shit is the day that the teacher should lose his/her job and be prosecuted. The same should be applied to the police. Looks like Ramos might have crossed that line.

woodcutter's avatar

Cops don’t get paid to loose fights.

Shippy's avatar

I couldn’t watch the video, but I can imagine. I abhor violence.

Where I live it is so common practice, to rough up homeless people or (which may be off topic) perpetrators of petty crime. For example someone tried to grab my friends handbag. He was caught, and beaten so badly he had a broken jaw. I recall one person “walked over this mans face” digging his heels into his face as he went. I do not think this is correct. People standing by cheered them on.

ucme's avatar

Sometimes the psycho bad guys come in uniforms & carry a badge which has “you may behave like a neanderthal dickwad” embossed upon it..

Coloma's avatar

” To protect and serve” seems to be a hollow mantra amongst many in law enforcement. I did not, nor will I, watch the video. I can only imagine. Personally I do not have much faith in law enforcement, it seems big egos with badges of “authority” is a dangerous combo for many cops. I’m not impressed, not in the least.

tinyfaery's avatar

I have been following this story since the beginning. Anaheim is not far from where I live. Kelly Thomas (I think that’s his name.) was schizophrenic. His father had been trying to get him off the street for years. As the cops tried to subdue him, he called out for his dad. Sick.

Schizophrenia is a horrible disease. Police should be trained how to deal with these issues.

Those cops are murderers and they deserve to be tried and convicted as such.

YARNLADY's avatar

I can’t imagine what led up to this horrible event, but I do believe that even police officers have a breaking point. I see so many stories about police getting killed during routine traffic stops, for us to say it’s wrong leaves out a lot of the issues they deal with.

That said, I wish we had a crystal ball that would tell us when an officer is at his breaking point, so we could take him off the street.

rooeytoo's avatar

Comparing what a cop does to a 5th grade teacher’s duties illustrates a complete and total ignorance of what a cop’s life is like. I realize 5th graders do carry knives and guns these days but still as a rule they are smaller and it doesn’t take 4 men to hang onto them.

@YARNLADY – I completely agree. Some of these people should ride with a cop and see what it is like to have your life threatened on a regular basis.

But I agree, it is a shame there is no crystal ball.

tom_g's avatar

@rooeytoo: “Comparing what a cop does to a 5th grade teacher’s duties illustrates a complete and total ignorance of what a cop’s life is like.”

I just sobbed a bit, feeling for the poor cops who killed that guy with mental illness.
Clearly, I was not claiming that the job description of a 5th grade teacher is the same as a police officer. I am claiming, however, that there certain things we should expect from both teachers and cops. These are public positions (in most cases) that should be held to the highest standards. They are both extremely difficult and important jobs. In the case of 5th grade teachers, we’re entrusting them with the task of teaching our children. In the case of cops, we’re entrusting them with not killing our mentally-ill son because they can’t handle being a cop that night.

Because we give so much power to the police, their accountability and performance needs to be near 100%. If you are too weak that night, or you have a headache, or you just got in a fight with your girlfriend so you are pissed off, and then you go beat a guy’s face in – well, you just became the problem. Period. And you should be prosecuted. Nobody is forcing people to become cops, and not everyone can handle it. So, if being a cop is too hard, go be a 5th-grade teacher.

I’ll get a box of tissues and hear more cop sob stories….

Linda_Owl's avatar

You might find this link to be very enlightening about Police Officers

http://ericpetersautos.com/2012/09/29/heroes-not/

It does appear that Police Officers are at least as dangerous as the criminals that they pursue.

wonderingwhy's avatar

They’ll get their day in court to justify themselves. But if they want to stay out of prison they’d better have something a lot more impressive than “you can’t understand the daily pressure we’re under” and “we reached our breaking point” because this hanging in the background while that video plays to the jury is going to require some serious explaining.

You take the position, you accept the circumstances under, and level to, which you’re expected to perform. If you can’t measure up quit, if the stress is getting to you take a break or start looking for a new job. But if beating someone to death is how you react, guess what, you’re going to prison – just like anyone else – which is exactly what you’ve earned and where you belong. They don’t need a crystal ball, just some common sense, basic personal insight, and at a minimum the same, and I would argue more, restraint that is expected of everyone.

And yeah, if someone is slipping on gloves as he’s telling me he’s “getting ready to fuck me up”, you better believe it’s going to take four people to hold me down. That kind of crap isn’t how you diffuse a dangerous situation, it’s how you create one.

tinyfaery's avatar

@all

We people who have seen and known of this since the horrible beating (which my local news aired, often) are appalled by this. There have been protests and rallies. The people aren’t letting these murderers off. They will be tried and convicted

woodcutter's avatar

After all this, there are still millions of people who believe cops are the only ones who should have a monopoly on guns yet, they bitch and moan when they get out of control with us. Sooooo much power ,so little oversight in the moment.

tom_g's avatar

^^ I know! If only Kelly Thomas had a a ton of explosives gun things would have turned out much better.~

El_Cadejo's avatar

Half the time cops are just a legal street gang.

Patton's avatar

In the immortal words of N.W.A., “Fuck tha police!”

Symbeline's avatar

Well that’s sheer police brutality if I ever saw it. No, I don’t know the whole story, but the cop at the beginning was threatening that guy, by telling him he was gonna fuck him up with his fists. What the hell kind of approach is this? Why such intimidation?
The guy talked back and was smarmy, so what? That’s no grounds to rough up the poor dude. So the cops are called on the scene due to someone breaking in cars if I’m correct? Well the way those cops went at it isn’t really protocol, is it? Aren’t they supposed to question the guy, and get his name and shit and look him up in the computer if they suspect he’s the car guy? Maybe take him away in the cruiser for further police work? He just throws him to the ground and starts messing him up. No questioning, no nothing.
I understand cops have a hard job, and must deal with dangerous people. But that guy wasn’t being dangerous and was not being a threat to them. Maybe those fuckers should have been a bit more pragmatic here. Five guys to restrain one dude begging for his life? Why didn’t they just cuff him if they thought he was so dangerous? Even if the guy didn’t comply and didn’t put his hands behind his back, (couldn’t see too well in the vid) I don’t think they would have had any trouble cuffing him.
This is disgusting, and I’ll venture and say that the excuses the cops gave for these actions are complete fucking bullshit. To hell with them and I hope they get what they deserve. The guy wasn’t fighting back, he could barely move, and they start tazing him and everything? Why?? Did they just want to pick on him?

The whole ordeal lasted way too long to say it was professional. Cops are trained to subdue and immobilize people, (usually when they’re violent and fighting back, too, unlike this guy) and unless the criminal is Godzilla, it doesn’t take 20 goddamn minutes to do so, especially with a guy that wasn’t fighting back in any way besides occasionally flailing his legs around. Makes me sick and sad.

woodcutter's avatar

@tom_g I like you ,and you amuse be, not a jab, but you did a stylishly excellent work of taking my comment way out of context. Well played.

tom_g's avatar

sorry

_Whitetigress's avatar

@elbanditoroso I’ve heard about it briefly on the news being in SoCal. Yes of course there is more to it than the news. Facts are good too. @wonderingwhy Puts forth good sources that back up what was literally said.

Really though? This video isn’t sensationalism, it’s more of a wake up call in my opinion.

@rooeytoo You stated ” He was told repeatedly to put his hands behind his back and he refused, he acted aggressively.”
Does this justify 3 cops bashing this mans face into the ground? Common sense should tell us this man was obviously extremely confused and scared for his goddamned then life. I agree I was asking myself why doesn’t he just listen and put his hands behind his back. I’ve been in hand to hand combat, where fights have been taken to the floor. Trust me, we are more than capable of honing in and focusing on grabbing another persons arm and putting it behind their back. And there were 3 officers for crying out loud. At first you see the 3rd cop come in looks like he’s there to asses the situation and calm the other cops down, but nope, he joins in and helps the cops jump Thomas. The beat him to death and who knows what why he didn’t put his arms behind his back. Maybe being on the floor being smashed by someones knees into your back on the pavement at night had something to do with it? Really think about this mans life. Cops came to the area because someone was reportedly sketchy and looking around cars so someone called that in. Cop man came up to this guy who seemed so absent minded he had no clue what was coming. For all he knew this was a dream. But the reality. The “factual” reality as @elbanditoroso is getting to is that his man last 5 minutes of consciousness of life was pure shit and we as citizens need to stand up for Thomas so this kind of crap gets filtered out through training. I believe there are some good cops out there, over time they may fall into the stereo types because it’s their life style, seeing all the bad things and the stereo types played out. But I’ll be goddamned if something like this ever happened in front of me, or happened to a family member. I could never rest until the cops realized they were worst than what they thought they were.

rooeytoo's avatar

@whitetigress, you are sort of making my point, 4 men were having trouble containing the guy, doesn’t that mean something, like that he was fighting them tooth and nail instead of doing what they were telling him to do? Did he have a sign on him that said go easy, I am mentally ill or were the cops to intuitively ascertain that he was ill not drugged?

As I said I am not excusing the cops but if the entire judgement is made on that video then the cops are not all at fault, there are a lot of questions to be asked..

I don’t automatically assume the cop is wrong, that is where I differ from most. I dont’ know how many times before the cops had to deal with this belligerent difficult man. Perhaps they knew he usually carries a knife. The cop is just as innocent until proven guilty as the guy who resisted arrest.

I wouldn’t be a 5th grade teacher unless I could carry a gun!

_Whitetigress's avatar

@rooeytoo I don’t mean this as an insult. But did you even watch the video? They clearly beat the living shit out of him. You can hear the pounding. You can see the cop with the taser being very abusive with the gun. You tell me how you would put your hands behind your back in this situation? This homeless man went from straight up calm state of mind, to threatened, to beat down, to electrocuted. How the hell is he supposed to think straight?!

Do you know his body is literally in fight or flight mode? It’s near impossible to think straight in this situation for any healthy human being let alone this man. He was on pure adrenaline, pure fear. The cops could’ve pinned him down, but didn’t have to beat his face in or ground and pound him. Do you hear the authority in the cops voice when they yell at him? So many punches thrown too as well as what seems to be head beating with a batan around 4:19 mark. So unnecessary because he was clearly a threat to the officers on the ground with them surrounding him. You know what part sickens me the most?! When the cop goes @ 4:30 mark says, “HELP US.” As if to justify his actions to those witnessing this. As if he’s the victim and he needs the help. When clearly they are assaulting this man who seemingly never threw a single punch, had no weapon on him etc. I mean come on man, the intro of the video says the whole thing, cop was looking to beat his ass from the get go. Stop arguing just to argue. You’re using college level debate tactics in spinning the argument around and trying to pin it on me when you say, “you are sort of making my point.” It’s just not going to work for the defense of these coppers.

When I first watched this video, I didn’t assume the cop was wrong, until I heard him threaten the guy. He sounded like a straight up bully in the school yard.

“See my fists?” Ramos said.
“Yeah,” Thomas replied. “What about ‘em?”
“They’re getting ready to fuck you up,” said Ramos

_Whitetigress's avatar

@wonderingwhy

Oh wow, the bloody taser gun tells the whole story

rooeytoo's avatar

@whitetigress – I am not trying to debate, I am giving my opinion. I have never been in that situation but I have numerous friends who ride ambulances and they frequently find themselves in similar situations when attempting to give aide and they have told of their feelings. They fear for their own safety and the safety of the people they are working with. I assume these cops felt the same fear and adrenalin. Long before the taser came out the man refused to comply with their requests. All I am saying is the guy was resisting, refused to put his hands behind his back. I don’t know the history so I am not condemning the cops until I know the background. Maybe he was on drugs and other people had made complaints about him harassing or threatening them as they passed by, who knows??? That video could be telling only one part of the story. And it is sensational, usually the media is lambasted for sensationalism, this time you are buying into the sensationalism instead of criticizing it???

_Whitetigress's avatar

@rooeytoo I agree, “All I am saying is the guy was resisting,” But he was dropped to the floor with batan attacks to his legs. Looks to me like he didn’t have a fair shot at dropping to his knees, putting his hands to his heads, then being locked up behind his back.

I studied journalism before switching to art. This story would be sensationalism if a by stander merely saw this and told it to a reporter and that writer just took it for what was said, barely any fact checking. This video however is definitive. The media aka the press is a tool in American society to debunk false here say and bring truth to the people. And no, I don’t confuse the 1st amendment with MTV Media. Good reporting is good reporting, I don’t see a single problem with it. With all this being said, I appreciate and respect your opinion.

rooeytoo's avatar

@whitetigress- thank you and if you notice I did say each time that I am not excusing the cops, just trying to understand what could have been going on.

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