Prosecutors had accused the two officers, who approached Thomas near a bus depot in July 2011 to question him about reports of vandalized cars, of turning a routine police encounter into an unnecessary and savage beating that cost the unarmed homeless man his life.
Attorneys for Ramos and Cicinelli argued that Thomas was dangerous and that the officers responded according to their training. Defense lawyers also said Thomas suffered from a weakened heart brought on by drug abuse.
“These peace officers were doing their jobs, operating as they were trained,” said John Barnett, who represented Ramos. “There was no malice in their hearts that night.”
I certainly don’t know all the facts about this incident but I do remember watching a few minutes of the video capturing it. From that it seemed like the police officers were simply stomping and beating on someone who was just lying on the ground screaming for help. Of course this is not the first time officers of the law have killed unarmed men. It seems to happen almost weekly.
For that reason, the first feeling that comes to my mind when I encounter a policeman is trepidation and maybe even fear. The main reason for that is because I can envision a time when I will be stopped by an officer who could shot me because I am deaf and couldn’t hear what he commanded me to do. I can remember another incident where someone was simply reaching in his pocket for a cell phone was shot seven times. These incidents scare me! I even remember an incident several years ago when a deaf man was severely assaulted by a police officer who was unaware of his hearing impairment.
I know a police officer has a right to defend him/herself when they feel they are in danger but I also fully realize that most officers have had very little if any training in encountering someone with hearing loss. I certainly deeply appreciate and respect what they go through on a daily basis to keep our streets safe but unfortunately that does not ameliorate my fear…