One of the most heart-wrenching and terrifying videos on the Netz lately features two Orange County cops beating a homeless, mentally handicapped man named Kelly Thomas to death in the streets of Fullerton, Ca. last year. They got the whole thing on video...Which is terrible, and heart-breaking, and pitiful, and infuriating, and depressing all at the same time. It'll break your heart.
The Fullerton, CA, cops just plainly beat the shit out of the guy, and bragged about it.
Yet they got away with it: Acquitted on all counts.
How, the horrified observers want to know, could a jury look at that video and NOT convict the killer cops?
It's not easy, but here's how I think it went own:
The cops who beat Kelly Thomas to death were, in their own eyes, just "doin' The Job."
It's dirty, they'll tell ya, but SOMEBODY'S gotta do it. Besides they're just following orders, even if the orders are mainly implicit and tacit. They believe themselves to be doing only what the people who pay their salaries want and demand of them.
And what the people there in Orange Country, but anywhere where poor and homeless congregate, want is to have the cops keep the rabble moving.
Cops in such circumstances are under instructions to make it "unpleasant" for "undesirables." You got a NICE little town and nobody wants "THEM" hanging around; it spoils the ambience. They're bad for business, they beg, they stink, and piss in the street. The good burghers, their wives and children, and their patrons, don't want to be made uncomfortable by the piteous plight of the poor; don't want to SEE 'em... So the cops roust 'em, don't let 'em get too comfortable, keep 'em moving, give 'em reasons NOT to stop in Fullerton, or Orange or Garden Grove or Westminster...
I expect it's working.
Especially now, in Fullerton...The poor, the homeless, the beggars and street people avoid Fullerton, like the plague, these days, just keep stumbling down the tracks.
Cops KNOW they have support in their community and at least tacit aspproval of their harrassing tactics. It's rciprocal: The same community also supplied the jury that, later, acquitted the killer cops. That's like the ultimate in "home field advantage."
Now, the process is not over; the FBI has already said it would launch an investigation based on the video of the incident.
Anything for "Safe Streets," you know?
Keep yer heads down, hippies, and I'll see ya at the beach...
From Albuquerque, this is Dr Woody, John Konopak. Paz, chers...