|Monday, 30 July 2012 06:45|
Born: April 5, 1974
Died: July 10, 2011, Fullerton, California, United States
Cause of death: Injuries arising from Police beating.
Notable because: Officer Manuel Ramos and Corporal Jay Cicinelliin, in Police uniform and on duty beat homeless schizophrenic Kelly to a pulp, with a little help from their uniformed friends.
Kelly Thomas was a homeless man with schizophrenia who lived on the streets of Fullerton, California, before he was severely beaten by members of the Fullerton Police Department on July 5, 2011. After paramedics treated the officers first for minor injuries, Thomas was taken to St. Jude Medical Center before being transferred to the UC Irvine Medical Center, where he was comatose on arrival and not expected to recover. He never regained consciousness, and died on July 10, 2011.
Medical records show that bones in his face were broken and he choked on his own blood. The coroner concluded that compression of the thorax made it impossible for Thomas to breathe normally and deprived his brain of oxygen. His parents removed him from life support five days later, and he died from his injuries on July 10, 2011. Officer Manuel Ramos was charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter; Corporal Jay Cicinelli was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of excessive force. Both pleaded not guilty.
Kelly Thomas was born April 5, 1974 to Ron Thomas, a former Orange County Sheriff's deputy, and Cathy Thomas. Thomas, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, was a "fixture" among Fullerton's homeless population. The death of Thomas has sparked debate about systemic reforms in treatment of the mentally ill.
On July 5, 2011, at about 8:30 PM, officers of the Fullerton Police Department responded to a call from the management of the Slidebar that someone was vandalizing cars near the Fullerton Transportation Center. While investigating, they encountered the shirtless and disheveled Thomas and attempted to search him. According to statements given by the officers, Thomas was uncooperative and resisted when they attempted to search him, so backup was called. The officers then repeatedly shocked Thomas with Tasers, beat him with the butts of the Tasers and flashlights, and slammed him into the ground. A video of the event surfaced, and Thomas can be heard repeatedly screaming in pain while officers tasered him (up to five times according to a witness statement) in the video, and screaming "Dad! Dad!". Six officers were involved in subduing Thomas, who was unarmed and had a history of mental illness. Thomas was initially taken to St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton but was transferred immediately to the UC Irvine Medical Center with severe injuries to his head, face, and neck.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas gave a detailed account of the events during a press conference on September 21, 2011. Using digital audio recording devices carried by the officers, surveillance video from a pole camera at the Fullerton Transportation Center, and other evidence, Rackauckas provided evidence that Thomas did comply with orders from Officer Ramos, who had put on latex gloves and asked Thomas "Now see my fists? They are getting ready to fuck you up." Rackauckas went on to describe how Thomas begged for his life, before being beaten to death.
The story of his beating broke shortly before his death. An investigation into the beating was undertaken by the Orange County district attorney starting on July 7, 2011, and later the FBI became involved. The decision to involve the FBI was praised by the American Civil Liberties Union, which claims the Orange County District Attorney has an "abysmal" record when investigating shootings with police involvement.
Kelly Thomas was removed from life support and died on July 10, 2011, five days after the beating. Initial reports claimed that Thomas had been very combative with officers and two had suffered broken bones. Later, the police department confirmed that no officers had suffered any broken bones, and that no one other than Thomas had any significant injuries. By the end of July, several news outlets had picked up the story and it had become international news.
On July 18, 2011, a large protest outside the Fullerton Police Department was organized by several people, including the victim's father Ron Thomas.
On August 2, 2011 many members of the public spoke out about the beating at the biweekly city council meeting at the Fullerton City Hall. Over 70 members of the public spoke to the city council, the vast majority of whom criticized the police. Among the speakers was Ron Thomas, the father of Kelly Thomas, as well as Kelly Thomas's stepmother. The public comment session lasted for approximately three hours. The city attorney emphasized that the city council could not respond to the comments, however following the public comment period discussion was given to provide clarification on the city's policy regarding the mentally ill. In addition, Tony Bushala, a local developer and conservative activist, announced plans to recall three members of the city council thought to have responded insufficiently to the beating. The recall qualified on the ballot in February 2012 with a recall election scheduled for Don Bankhead, F. Dick Jones, and Pat McKinley on June 5, 2012, consolidated with the statewide primary election. On June 5, 2012 all three council members were successfully recalled by Fullerton residents.
On Saturday August 6, 2011, a large street protest was held outside of the Fullerton City Hall. Activists at that protest, which was attended by hundreds of people, called for the release of a surveillance video shot by cameras installed at the bus depot and carried signs with slogans like "Jail All Killer Cops" and "End Police Brutality."
In late September 2011, the officers involved were arrested on murder charges. Local law enforcement personnel showed support by raising money for their bail and criminal defense.
All six officers involved in the beating were placed on administrative leave and several people, including two members of the Fullerton City Council, called for the resignation of police Chief Michael Sellers, who was later placed on medical leave for undisclosed reasons. 19,948 people have signed an online petition calling for the firing of all six police officers that were present during the beating.
Fullerton City Councilman Bruce Whitaker later went on television stating his belief that there was a cover-up of the beating of Thomas within the police department and that the six officers involved in the beating falsified their reports on the incident.
A preliminary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence for a trial was held on May 9, 2012. The court ordered that two of the police officers involved will stand trial. Officer Manuel Ramos is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and Corporal Jay Patrick Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony use of excessive force. Both officers pleaded not guilty at the second arraignment on July 13, 2012.
On 16 May 2012, press reports indicated that the Fullerton City Council had agreed to pay Thomas' mother one million dollars as a settlement of her civil complaints against the city. This did not impact the ongoing civil actions by Thomas' father or the criminal trial.
Slidebar Kitchen involvement
In June 2012 Michael Reeves, a former employee of the Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Kitchen, filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination against Jeremy Popoff related to the beating. The Slidebar, which is owned by Popoff, a former guitarist for Lit, was the source of the call that caused police to report to the area and confront Thomas. Reeves, a bouncer at the establishment, made statements to investigators claiming the Slidebar had a policy to do "anything necessary" to keep loiterers out of the area and that his manager lied about Thomas breaking into cars when calling the police to get them to respond more quickly. He further claims that Thomas was only loitering in the area that night and not causing trouble. Soon after making statements to investigators about what he saw that night he claims his managers were "furious at him for it" and slowly started taking away his responsibilities, culminating with his firing two months later. Reeves also claims that Popoff wanted everyone working at the Slidebar to act as if the "Slidebar had nothing to do" with the beating of Thomas and his refusal to echo these statements is the chief reason why he was fired. Eric Dubin, an attorney representing the Slidebar and Popoff, claims the suit is without merit and that it should be quickly dismissed. Dublin claims that "This whole thing is all copy from blogs and sold to some lawyer" and that, while the call did originate from the Slidebar, "that she [the manager] never used the phrase 'breaking into cars.'" Dubin further claims that "Everything in that lawsuit is 100 percent false" and the real reason Reeve was fired was because of a confrontation with a manager in front of customers. On June 12, 2012, Ron Thomas organized a small gathering outside of the Slidebar to protest the false police report. Thomas and Popoff talked during the event and Thomas later said that if the report was correct, “then I have no beef” but that if there are any inconsistencies then “I have to do what I have to do.”
One day after this statement, on June 13, 2012, after months of denials Slidebar owner Jeremy Popoff stated on KFI's John and Ken Show that one of his employees did, in fact, call police the night Kelly Thomas was beaten. He declined to say what the employee reported, citing the criminal investigation into Thomas' death, but said a recording of the call has been reviewed by the District Attorney's Office and other investigators. Popoff and his lawyer denied the claims of an anti-homeless policy during a press conference.
Cause of death
On September 21, 2011, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas held a press conference to announce the results of the investigation. Rackauckas announced that according to the Orange County Coroner, the cause of death was "asphyxia caused by mechanical chest compression with blunt cranial-facial injuries sustained during physical altercation with law enforcement." Rackauckas said Thomas died because of the force of the officers on his chest, which made it impossible for him to breathe. This caused Thomas to become unconscious. He then slipped into a coma and died when taken off life support five days later.
Rackauckas said the coroner also said the injuries to Thomas' face and his head contributed to his death. Also contributing to his death were brain injuries, facial and rib fractures, and the extensive bruising and abrasions he suffered during the beating, which left him lying in a "growing pool of blood," Rackauckas said. The toxicology report shows that Thomas had no illicit drugs or alcohol in his system. Thomas was severely bleeding and struggled and pleaded, "I can't breathe," "Dad, help me." But the officers did not reduce their level of force during the nearly 10-minute assault, the district attorney said.
Lawsuit by Father
On July 5, 2012, (one year after the beating death), the father of Kelly Thomas filed a lawsuit against the city and six officers, two of whom are facing criminal charges. The lawsuit also names former police chiefs Patrick McKinley and Michael Sellers. The suit alleges the violation of Kelly Thomas' federal and state civil rights; assault and battery; negligence and supervisor liability among others as causes of action. It seeks unspecified damages. As stated above, Thomas' mother, Cathy, who is divorced from Ron Thomas, has already received a $1-million settlement from the city.
In a major landslide victory, city council members Dick Jones, Don Bankhead and Pat McKinley were voted out of office in a June 5, 2012, recall election. Each was voted out by an almost identical majority of nearly 66%. Their replacements are: Travis Kiger, a planning commissioner and blogger for the site Friends for Fullerton's Future, who will fill Jones' term, which expires December 4, 2012; Greg Sebourn, a land surveyor, who will fill Bankhead's term, which also ends December 4th; and attorney Doug Chaffee, who will fill McKinley's term, which ends December 2, 2014. All will be sworn into office in July 2012. Tony Bushala, a leading organizer of the Fullerton recall election, said he was seeking accountability for Kelly Thomas' death. The city's other two council members are not facing a recall.
On July 3, 2012, Officer Ramos's employment was terminated. According to a statement issued by Fullerton Police, Joe Wolfe is no longer employed by the department as of July 16. Corporal Jay Cicinelli is no longer employed as of July 20, 2012.
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Since its first publication in 1941, A Testament of Devotion, by the renowned Quaker teacher Thomas Kelly, has been universally embraced as a truly enduring spiritual classic. Plainspoken and deeply inspirational, it gathers together five compelling essays that urge us to center our lives on God's presence, to find quiet and stillness within modern life, and to discover the deeply satisfying and lasting peace of the inner spiritual journey. As relevant today as it was a half-century ago, A Testament of Devotion is the ideal companion to that highest of all human arts-the lifelong conversation between God and his creatures.
I have in mind something deeper than the simplification of our external programs, our absurdly crowded calendars of appointments through which so many pantingly and frantically gasp. These do become simplified in holy obedience, and the poise and peace we have been missing can really be found. But there is a deeper, an internal simplification of the whole of one's personality, stilled, tranquil, in childlike trust listening ever to Eternity's whisper, walking with a smile into the dark."
Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module (Smithsonian History of Aviation and Spaceflight (Paperback))
Manufacturer: Smithsonian Books
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Editorial Review: Chief engineer Thomas J. Kelly gives a firsthand account of designing, building, testing, and flying the Apollo lunar module. It was, he writes, “an aerospace engineer’s dream job of the century.” Kelly’s account begins with the imaginative process of sketching solutions to a host of technical challenges with an emphasis on safety, reliability, and maintainability. He catalogs numerous test failures, including propulsion-system leaks, ascent-engine instability, stress corrosion of the aluminum alloy parts, and battery problems, as well as their fixes under the ever-present constraints of budget and schedule. He also recaptures the exhilaration of hearing Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong report that “The Eagle has landed,” and the pride of having inadvertently provided a vital “lifeboat” for the crew of the disabled Apollo 13.
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An entertaining history of how musicians learned to record music for all time, filled with art that sings.In today’s digital landscape, we have the luxury of experiencing music anytime, anywhere. But before this instant accessibility and dizzying array of formats―before CDs, the eight-track tape, the radio, and the turntable―there was only one recording technology: music notation. It allowed singers and soloists to travel across great distances and perform their work with stunning fidelity, a feat that we now very much take for granted.
Thomas Forrest Kelly transports us to the lively and complex world of monks and monasteries, of a dove singing holy chants into the ear of a saint, and of bustling activity in the Cathedral of Notre Dame―an era when the only way to share even the simplest song was to learn it by rote, church to church and person to person. With clarity and a sense of wonder, Kelly tells a story that spans five hundred years, leading us on a journey through medieval Europe and showing how we learned to keep track of rhythm, melody, and precise pitch with a degree of accuracy previously unimagined.
Kelly reveals the technological advances that led us to the system of notation we use today, placing each step of its evolution in its cultural and intellectual context. Companion recordings by the renowned Blue Heron ensemble are paired with vibrant illuminated manuscripts, bringing the art to life and allowing readers to experience something of the marvel that medieval writers must have felt when they figured out how to capture music for all time.100 color illustrations and audio CD
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Editorial Review: This edition adds "Have You Ever Seen a Miracle?" and "Children of the Light." In addition, an introduction by Howard Macy and an index of all three of Kelly's works make this edition especially valuable. Sequel to A Testament to Devotion.
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A Novel of High-Stakes Romance and Betrayal, Set During the Race to Finish the World's Tallest Building
In Empire Rising, his extraordinary third book, Thomas Kelly tells a story of love and work, of intrigue and jealousy, with the narrative verve that led the Village Voice's reviewer to dub him "Dostoevsky with a hard hat and lead pipe."
As the novel opens, it is 1930-the Depression-and ground has just been broken for the Empire State Building. One of the thousands of men erecting the building high above the city is Michael Briody, an Irish immigrant torn between his desire to make a new life in America and his pledge to gather money and arms for the Irish republican cause. When he meets Grace Masterson, an alluring artist who is depicting the great skyscraper's ascent from her houseboat on the East River, Briody's life turns exhilarating-and dangerous, for Grace is also a paramour of Johnny Farrell, Mayor Jimmy Walker's liaison with Tammany Hall and the underworld.
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Colin Harrison, in The New York Times Book Review, called Kelly's The Rackets "A well-paced, violent thriller, [and] an elegy for the city's old Irish working class." In Empire Rising, Kelly takes his work to a new level: telling of the story of the people who built the "eighth wonder of the world," he makes old New York the setting for a rich and unforgettable story.
|Last Updated on Monday, 30 July 2012 08:47|