A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It's hard for me to teach my children that police officers are the good guys and can be trusted

I can't help but recognize, resist, and bring attention to injustice in the world. I can't stay quiet about it.

I'm incredibly upset about news coming out of my home state this morning. Kelly Thomas was my age two and a half years ago when was brutally beaten and murdered by police officers. They were accused of second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. They were also placed on administrative leave with pay and benefits intact.  And yesterday, they were acquitted of all charges. Something unique about this case? It was ALL caught on tape. A security camera recorded the tasers, the batons, even one of the cops, Manuel Ramos, putting gloves on and threatening, "see these fists? they're getting ready to fuck you up." He was right. They did fuck him up. Bones in Thomas's face were broken and he choked on his own blood as the compression of his thorax robbed his brain of oxygen. Yes, that was all on tape. 

How does that happen? How does someone go from training for the police academy, wanting to bring criminals to justice to, "I just smashed his face to hell," which Ramos was also caught on tape saying (or maybe bragging). It's hard for me to teach my children that police officers are the good guys and can be trusted. These guys give a bad name to every single cop out there. 

A big part of the story is that Kelly Thomas was schizophrenic. So here we go again, America. Mental illness is back in our faces. Just as we keep waiting for more and more school shootings before we discuss real gun control policies, we continuously dance around the fact that there are millions of Americans living with mental illness who aren't receiving the help and treatment they desperately need. By the way, apparently less than an hour ago, a 12 year old walked into a middle school in New Mexico with a gun and shot two people. He was seeking revenge from the debate teacher for dropping him from the team. This is not shocking. This is the new normal

As he was being beaten TO DEATH by the very people whose job it is "to protect and serve", he cried out for his father. He'd been heard on the tapes shouting, "I'm sorry. I'm trying." And he was. But he never stood a chance.

It's incredibly frightening to think how they'd react to people like my own child whose inability to understand/communicate effectively may look like noncompliance. Would she be beaten, tased, and had her face "smashed to hell" because she can't follow directions? Would your child? These cops are off the hook. They get to go home or to the bar to celebrate with their fellow boys in blue. 

I implore you. Do not accept this as something that just happens. Do not become complacent. Do not become desensitized. Do not forget Kelly Thomas. 

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