As I’ve shared many times on this blog, I have had the honor of shadowing some amazing police officers and learning about the risks they face and the split-second decisions they must make all the time. I have the highest respect for the men and women who determine law enforcement to be their professional calling. So, when two men appear to degrade the uniform through excessive, deadly force, I get angered on behalf of all the great cops out there.
Many of you will recall the videotaped beating death of homeless schizophrenic man Kelly Thomas last summer in California. Officer Manual Ramos and Corporal Jay Cicinelli, along with four other officers who have not been criminally charged, allegedly hit Thomas, exhausted a taser on him, and eventually beat him unconscious. Thomas died five days after the incident. This week, a preliminary hearing is taking place in Orange County to determine if the officers will stand trial.
Kelly Thomas met his violent fate after not cooperating fully with the officers when they responded to reports of a homeless man peering into car windows. On the videotape, Thomas screamed that he couldn’t breathe and that he was being killed. He cried out for his father, who was present in the courtroom to watch the tape of the beating. Both officers have pleaded not guilty to the charges they face.
How do you react when you see stories like that of Kelly Thomas? Do you see such incidents as isolated examples that don’t reflect on a police force as a whole? Or, do you worry that there are more events like this that take place and we just never hear about them?
Of course, these two men are innocent until proven guilty and the justice system will run its course. I’m just wondering what gut reactions are in this instance.
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