Now, You See My Fists?

Falling through the universe at the speed of life
Kelly Thomas

By David Glenn Cox

{Note} This is a re-posting of an article from 2013. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder it came flooding back to me.

It was just a simple police stop. I was walking back home from the store penny food under my arm when I saw him. A police cruiser parked crookedly on the side road, red and blue lights flashing wildly. Two uniformed police officers held a wallet and stood over a subject sitting in the grass. He laid one arm across a raised knee his other propping him up. The man in the grass appeared casual, more relaxed about the situation than the police officers. Or maybe he was just tired; maybe just another soldier of the road another veteran of our harsh times.

It brought back memories of an E-mail and a link to a video sent to me. In it, a young man was stopped by police in Fullerton, California; he is lucid, conversational and was in no ways threatening or potentially violent. I watched this first video lasting only eight or
nine minutes but after watching I went searching for a longer version. I wanted to understand how this could happen. The complete video was shocking and not for the faint of heart. The confrontation leading to a young man being tasered half a dozen times and beaten to a bloody pulp is over thirty minutes long.

As the video opens a cop waves his baton assertively, like a peacock preening or a wild bull rutting in the ground. It is a full fifteen minutes after police begin their interrogation of this young man, before things start going terribly wrong. The young man is obviously
becoming tired of the police interrogation tactics. Questions asked with a snarl and filled with condescension, asked with intent to aggravate trying to get a rise out of the citizen.

“Seems like every day we gotta talk to you about something,” – Officer Manuel Ramos

“Two days in a row,”- Corporal Jay Cicinelli

As Ramos interrogates, Cicinelli calls out potential charges they could potentially use to run this young man in.

“So, I’m thinking of a 496?” – Corporal Jay Cicinelli

Ostensibly, police were investigating auto burglaries; it is unclear whether these burglaries took place that night, that week or last month. In any case, a quick inspection of this young man, finds him not in possession of any property you might expect to be found on someone involved in auto burglaries.

“Hey, what is your name? Hey, what is your name? – Officer Manuel Ramos

“I think its Kelly or something,”- Corporal Jay Cicinelli

“Gonna take you to jail on suspicion of burglary”- Officer Manuel Ramos

There were no outstanding wants or warrants for the man. The man was Kelly Thomas, the reason he didn’t give his name was because the cops already knew his name. This wasn’t a bust or an investigation this was just a roust, let’s go f*ck with the homeless guy. So, after fifteen minutes of abusive interrogation after quarter hour of being detained and threatened with arrest, treated with contempt and scorn. He is treated as untermunchin; because of his appearance and because of his poverty.

“Sit down, sit down, sit down!”- Officer Manuel Ramos

“Put your feet out in front of you get your hands out from behind you.

Put your feet out in front of you get your hands out from behind you.

Put your feet out in front of you get your hands out from behind you!

Put your feet out in front of you get your hands out from behind you!

Put your feet out in front of you.” – Officer Manuel Ramos

“Which one is it dude?” — Kelly Thomas

“Both!” – Officer Manuel Ramos

“So, should we take you for having someone else’s mail? – Corporal Jay Cicinelli

“Put your hands on your knees; put your feet out in front of you.” – Officer Manuel Ramos

“I can’t do both!”- Kelly Thomas

“Your gonna have to, real quick!”- Officer Manuel Ramos

“What’s wrong with you?” — Kelly Thomas

“Put your hands on your fucking knees” – Officer Manuel Ramos

“Hey, I’m sick of playing games, which is it?” — Kelly Thomas

“Now, you see my fists, they’re getting ready to fuck you up.” – Officer Manuel Ramos

“Start punching dude,” — Kelly Thomas

“I’m tired of fucking around with you, get on the ground!” – Officer Manuel Ramos

“Get on the ground, on the ground!” – Corporal Jay Cicinelli

Then for the crime of talking back of not tipping his hat or not cringing or saying yes sir. This American is beaten to death by police on the streets Fullerton, California. Tasered repeatedly, tasered until their guns run out of juice. These uniformed state thugs after
emptying the high voltage from their tasers into the body of a defenseless young man. Then used the butt of their empty tasers to pistol whip this young man’s face beyond a mother’s recognition all for the crime of talking back.

“Okay, I’m sorry dude,” – Kelly Thomas

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry.”- Kelly Thomas

“Put your hands behind your back!” – Officer Manuel Ramos

By this time, the two officers have struck Thomas countless times with nightsticks, tackling him to the ground. They demand he put his hands behind his back, but by now Thomas is simply too terrified to comply. As these two officers with weighted clubs are still beating him  demanding he give up all defense of his own body from their assault. It is better known on the street as resisting assault protecting yourself from the blows while the police beat you with clubs.

“Okay, hang on a second” – Kelly Thomas

“Okay, I can’t breathe dude” – Kelly Thomas

“Please, I can’t breathe!”- Kelly Thomas

Meanwhile, Corporal Jay Cicinelli is on top of Thomas kneeing him in the ribs while Ramos has him in a choke hold, demanding he put his hands behind his back.

“Help, help, I can’t breathe!” — Kelly Thomas

“Lay on your fucking stomach” – Corporal Jay Cicinelli

“Relax dude,”- Officer Manuel Ramos

“I can’t,” – Kelly Thomas

“Relax,”- Officer Manuel Ramos

“Okay please, I can’t fucking breathe!”- Kelly Thomas

The officers then taser Thomas, two more times as more officers arrive. Before the night is over six Fullerton officers will participate in the beating death of Kelly Thomas. Tasered two more times as Thomas answers, “Okay, okay, please sir.” The police response to his plea is to hold the trigger while applying the taser to Thomas once more. Clearly, he is frantic and in fear for his life. A wounded captured animal instinctively seeking escape.

“No, no, oh no!” — Kelly Thomas

Unidentified policeman, to two new arriving policemen, “help us!”

Five policemen are now on top of Kelly Thomas; they have choked him, tackled him and beat him all while repeatedly applying high voltage to him. An officer says, “He must be on something.” This is the first justification, a young man minding his own business is somehow responsible for his own beating death. He must be on something, he says,
as five, two hundred-pound policemen are on top Kelly Thomas, suffocating the life out of him.

Thomas cries out, “Dad, Dad! Daddy, Oh Dad, dad help me! Oh dad,
dad, dad my legs are broken. Dad, help me, dad, dad, dad help me dad.”

“There’s fucking blood everywhere” – unknown Fullerton Police officer.

“I can’t breathe, oh help me dad, help me,”- Kelly Thomas

“Dad they’re killing me, dad,” – Kelly Thomas

Thomas is losing strength now, the tone and intensity of his voice begins to diminish while still crying, “daddy, daddy, daddy.” By the reflection of the police lights, you can see a pool of body fluids puddling around Kelly Thomas on the sidewalk. His last words were “Help me, help me, help me.”


“You did pretty good,” – Corporal Jay Cicinelli to Officer Ramos

“Hey, what is your name? Hey, what is your name?” – unidentified police officer addressing the limp, unconscious and bleeding body of Kelly Thomas.

“Well, his chest is still going up and down,” — unidentified Fullerton Police officer

“I got out my taser and I just sort of smashed his face to hell.” — Fullerton Policeman

After being beaten into an unconscious bloody pulp, police relent as the young man has entered into an unconsciousness from which he would never return. There’s no apparent sense of urgency about getting this unconscious, bleeding young man any sort of medical attention. Instead, he lays unconscious on the cold pavement in a puddle of his own blood and urine

We watch film clips from the History channel of brutal Nazis in black uniforms beating down innocents and making us reevaluate just what it all means to be a human being. We think, what sort of mind could create such depravity? Yet, this happened on the streets of an American city, quite recently. So, how is this any different? one group of
lawless, black shirted goons versus any another gang of lawless black shirted goons?

Ostensibly, the officers simply wanted to know his name. Only they already know him, he’s a homeless guy who stays close to the bus station. Crazy huh, think about time the next time you see a “No Public Restroom” sign. Without money in your pocket, you can’t to use the restroom in this country making the bus station possibly the only
restroom for miles.

Kelly Thomas was a diagnosed schizophrenic, but on the night of his murder he was the sanest man involved in the confrontation. His death is a warning to us. A clarion call, the living proof of the Stanford experiment. Proof that while history doesn’t always
repeat it does rhyme. A Brave New World class structure, it’s okay to kill Gammas, because there’s so many of them. Murdered by the state without judge or jury just because they wanted to and because they could and because there was no one to stop them.

“He’s looks cyanotic now,” – Paramedic

“Yeah, he’s pretty cyanotic. — Other Paramedic

Definition: Cyanosis is a physical sign causing bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes. Cyanosis is caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood. Cyanosis is associated with cold temperatures, heart failure, lung diseases, and smothering. It is seen in infants at birth as a result of heart defects, respiratory distress syndrome, or lung and breathing problems.

“He ain’t dead, he ain’t half dead,” — unidentified Fullerton Police Officer

“Your DAR (Taser) is on the back of the trunk, it’s got blood all over it.”- Unidentified Fullerton Police Officer

“I got out my taser and sort of smashed his face to hell.” – Unidentified Fullerton Police Officer

Official cause of death; mechanical compression of the thorax

Kelly Thomas (April 5, 1974 — July 10, 2011)

Officer Manuel Ramos – charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Corporal Jay Cicinelli – charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony use of excessive force.

VERDICT: Ramos not guilty on all charges. Corporal Jay Cicinelli, all charges dropped.

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