A new petition has surfaced on the White House's "We The People" website asking for federal charges to be filed against the officers who beat Kelly Thomas to death.
The Kelly Thomas case has been very controversial from the start. On July 5th, 2011, Thomas was brutally beaten to the point of losing consciousness by officers from the Fullerton Police Department. According to medical records, Thomas suffered from several broken bones in the face, was unable to breathe normally, and choked on his own blood. Several days after the incident, Thomas' family took him off of life support as he was in very poor condition, unresponsive, and not expected to recover.
As a result of the brutal beating and Thomas' subsequent death, manslaughter and 2nd degree murder charges were filed against the officers involved. Several days ago, on January 13, however, two of the officers (Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli) were acquitted of all charges and the case was dropped.
Kelly Thomas in 2002 (left) and after being brutally beaten by Fullerton, California police officers in July 2011.
Following the dismissal of the case and the acquittal of the two officers, there has been an out-pour of rage from people who believe the beating was unjustified and cruel. Just earlier today, protesters shut down traffic in front of the Fullerton Police Department headquarters, holding up signs that read "We demand justice" and "Justice for Kelly Thomas." One day after the trial police even announced that they were monitoring social media for potential death threats against the acquitted officers; although some have been critical of this, calling it an invasion of privacy and pointing out the fact that no actual case of a death threat against the two officers has been confirmed.
One thing many activists are doing in an effort to raise awareness about the verdict and get justice for Thomas is petitioning. A new petition on the White House's We The People website asks for federal charges to be filed against the officers. "There was obviously excessive use of force here and these murderers deserve to pay for the inhumane crime they have committed," reads the petition. "We the people demand justice for Kelly Thomas."
The petition had well over 11,000 digital signatures as of 9:00 Central Time on January 18th. In order for the petition to be reviewed by White House staff and receive a response, it must reach at least 100,000 signatures by February 13, 2014 per the petition website's official rules.
With permission by Reuters / Mindy Schauer
Ex-Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli (on photo) were acquitted in the 2011 beating and stun-gun death of a mentally ill California homeless man that touched off street protests and political upheaval in the Los Angeles suburb of Fullerton
With permission by Reuters / Alex Gallardo
A makeshift memorial for Kelly Thomas, at the site where he was killed in 2011 after a beating by Fullerton police officers, in Fullerton, California January 14, 2014