‘Justice for Kelly Thomas’ Protests Continue as Surveillance Tape is Kept from the Public’s Eyes


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Community support took to the street corners of Commonwealth and Highland in Fullerton once more on Saturday to demand justice and accountability in the officer involved death of Kelly Thomas. The crowd was noticeably thinned out from last week when media outlets placed the number of demonstrators as high as 500. There has been significant developments, however, in that seven-day span. Fullerton Chief of Police Michael Sellers has taken a medical leave as demands that he resign mount.

Since that time, acting Chief Kevin Hamilton revealed to the Los Angeles Times just two days ago that the officers involved in the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas had the opportunity to review a surveillance tape of the violent incident before they wrote their police reports. The grounds was justified by the notion that they were entitled to ‘refresh’ their memories. The general public, however, has no such privilege as the DA’s office says doing so could ‘taint’ the recollections of witnesses. Talk about outlandish double standards!

Saturday’s protest reiterated the demand that the tape be released. Sidewalk chalk art etched the call for justice as drivers honked horns passing through Commonwealth in support. Julian Porte, singer of The Ballad of Kelly Thomas took to his guitar once more and handed out free CDs of the song to anyone who would have them. Everyday community residents and students joined together in turning out. The mother of Thomas was present with a simple sign asking that justice for her son be done. Councilman Bruce Whitaker made an appearance and a young punk rocker reached out and shook his hand.

If the number of protestors dipped down, they very may well rev back up next weekend when ANSWER-LA is set to stage a march and rally starting at the Fullerton Police Headquarters at 11 a.m. Who knows what will happen between now and then. It must always be remembered, though, that political forces are hedging on community passions and outrage to subside.

For the sake of justice for Kelly Thomas, that must never happen.


About Gabriel San Roman