If Kelly Thomas had lived in Communist North Korea, rather than conservative Orange County, California, he might have survived his encounter with the police.
Two days ago, a jury in Orange County, acquitted the two police officers who led the fatal gang-beating of Thomas, an unarmed, mentally troubled homeless man. The jurors acted on the assumption that the lethal violence was justified because the victim tried to defend himself after the police began their assault.
American police taught to treat any act of non-compliance as “resisting arrest,” a supposed offense that justifies the use of pain compliance and — in cases like that of Kelly Thomas — lethal force, if it is necessary to subdue the victim. In fact, most police who go “hands-on” with a victim will pre-emptively shout “Stop resisting!” even when no resistance is offered. Any incidental contact with the sanctified person of a police officer is…
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