Policemen acquitted in beating death of homeless man

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.”

SOURCE:  Ex-California policemen acquitted in beating death of homeless man – Yahoo News.

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…

2 thoughts on “Policemen acquitted in beating death of homeless man

  1. RJ – thanks for finding this story and sharing it. I live very close to where this event occurred and it is quite a controversial story and does raise the issue of how quickly things can get out of control. Was the victim blameless….no. Did the police over react….many think they did. The result of the jury trial is probably due to many legal details regarding what could be submitted (and what couldn’t) as well as overall public support for police…generally a good perspective to have given their jobs.

    However…. I don’t think justice was done here and hope that it will generate more local discussions about what we’re doing (or not doing) about the homeless tent cities that are springing up along our various “river” beds in the LA area.



    1. Thanks for the comments Mike and further details on the incident. Personally what scares me the most is the lack of training for handling those who might be different. Since many who end up in that occupation are very alpha-male by nature that may be one of the reasons for seemingly taking the most aggressive stands as the first option. Since they are so often in violent/gun environments violence is just a natural response. Probably the same thing applies to the military. I wonder how seriously the authorities take PTSD in both groups?


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