Did Huntington Beach Cops Harass Ron Thomas, Father of the Late Kelly Thomas?
The father of the homeless man fatally beaten to death by Fullerton police officers, including two now on trial for the killing, claims cops in Huntington Beach harassed him by issuing him a traffic ticket on Christmas Eve.
But Surf City police Capt. Russell Reinhart said the sergeant who pulled Ron Thomas over did not know who he was when the ticket was issued for failure to yield and having tinted windows.
"He cut off three vehicles," including the sergeant on a motorcycle, Reinhart told City News Service. "The two other vehicles had to stop before crashing into him."
The sergeant's recording of the contact with Thomas revealed he "clearly had no idea who (Thomas) was," according to Reinhart. "It was just an unsafe movement and really had nothing to do with anything else."
While the sergeant supposedly did not know who Thomas was, Reinhart said of his department, "Everybody feels sorry for him. He's going through a lot with his family. We understand that, but this had nothing to do with harassment.''
Thomas countered, "I have no doubt at all this guy's doing one for the blue team," noting his Chevy Tahoe was emblazoned with signs critical of Fullerton police and featuring photos of his son, Kelly, who died five days after a July 5, 2011, struggle with officers who approached him at the Fullerton Transportation Center.
And the retired sheriff's deputy denied having violated any rules of the road, claiming another driver in front of him stopped without signaling, forcing him to switch lanes, but not unsafely.
He vowed to fight the ticket.