The LAPD has a program called “SMART” – Systemwide Mental Assessment Response Team. The teams are billed as “collaborative units dedicated to assist police officers, the mentally ill and their families.” Not all departments have the resources to field such teams. The Fullerton Police Department apparently didn’t. The result is that Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic street person suspected of auto burglary, was beaten to death by Fullerton police officers as he screamed his last words, “Dad, dad, dad!”
Kelly’s father Ron is a former cop whose father and grandfather were also cops. Seeing how bad his son looked as the kid lay dying on life support, Ron Thomas wanted the Fullerton Police to find the thugs who beat his son’s face and head into a misshapen pulp. Then came the truth. It was the Fullerton cops themselves who beat and tazed Kelly to death. The facts as they played out led Ron Thomas to believe the cops murdered Kelly. From the looks of it, Ron might be right. Learn more about this sad story by reading Steve Lopez’ LA Times piece “Kelly Thomas’ Father Fights for Justice” and another LA Times article.
According to this Christian Post article: “We all recognize this as a hate crime against the homeless and the mentally ill. A brutal murder, with special circumstances,” Ron Thomas said during the protest outside the Fullerton police department. “I hope they seek the death penalty.”