Kelly Thomas Supporters Hold Candlelight Vigil, March on City Hall

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Photo by Charles Lam
A supporter writes a message in front of the vigil

Over 100 supporters flocked to Kelly's Corner, the make-shift memorial at the Fullerton Train Station where Thomas was brutally attacked two and a half years ago, yesterday following the reading of the "not guilty" verdict.

Jason, also known as "Shortdog," stood on the same slab of pavement from where, he said, he watched a group of Fullerton police officers brutally beat a man on the night of July 5, 2011.

"I don't believe it, dog," he said. "I didn't believe it then, and I don't believe it now."

kelly_thomas_vigil_2.jpg
Photo by Charles Lam
Supporters prepare to march towards Fullerton City Hall

Shock, tempered by equal parts sadness and anger, was the prevailing sentiment at Kelly's Corner. At least until sundown, when the mood noticeably shifted to basic anger.

"Fucking unbelievable," said one longtime Fullerton resident who did not want her name used. "I guess any of us could be beaten at any time for anything. But people here have a mindset. They feel that because they're of means, or whatever, that nothing will ever happen to them, or to someone to love. Tell that to (Thomas' family)."

Shortly after 4 p.m., the memorial site was bare, but in the minutes that followed, more people began arriving, many of them intimately involved in the grassroots to effort to bring the case to trial. By 7 p.m., when Ron Thomas, Kelly Thomas' father appeared, some 100 people had converged.

"This jury is guilty of one thing, and that is following instructions," said Stephan Baxter, a Fullerton resident who has tried in public forums and art exhibitions to keep his fight for justice for Thomas alive. "As long as police officers can operate under a different code of conduct than everybody else....that's the real problem here.

"I had real hope that the city could move on after this and realize that many of us stood up for one of our least."

At 8 p.m., the crowd observed a moment of silence for Kelly Thomas. Fifteen minutes afterwards, a large group began marching towards Fullerton City Hall and Fullerton Police Department Headquarters, finding strength and support in the horns of passing drivers. They arrived at the locked building at roughly 8:30 p.m, rallying there for approximately 20 minutes. Marchers included friends and supporters as well as other victims of police brutality.

"I think this case would've opened the door," said Donna Acevedo, whose son Joel was killed by Anaheim PD in 2012. "I think people aren't aware of how rampant this is. They just think 'it's just a homeless man', and they tend to gloss over these things."

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Photo by Charles Lam
Marchers gather around city hall

By 8:50 p.m., marchers had returned to Kelly's Corner to collect themselves and to organize future actions.

"I hope people don't give up," said Stephanie Bustamante, a student from Riverside who has family members who have schizophrenia. "I'm a mom myself, and something like this could've happened to my children."

One thing's for sure, Thomas' supporters will be back. Saturday, 10 a.m.

Additional reporting by Joel Beers and Thao Ta.

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Email: clam@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @charlesnlam. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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23 comments
ussaisapolicestate
ussaisapolicestate

If you want to gauge a nation's ability to RIOT and RISE UP against a tyrannical government you need look no further than to how their sports fans react to police abuse.

In South America I've seen soccer fans FIGHT BACK (very effectively) against riot police, pummel them and then RESCUE their fellow fans from being arrested. If the cops dared to use their weapons in those situations, they'd be instantly TORN APART by the mobs and they know it. In such places, police have no choice but to RESPECT & FEAR the citizenry.

In the USSA, I've seen just TWO cops wade up into a crowd of HUNDREDS of big, burly football fans in order to pull out and ARREST one unruly fan while NO FELLOW FAN DOES ANYTHING TO HELP HIM. In such places, police have no choice but to LAUGH & ABUSE the citizenry.

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

We the People must stop deifying the police. 


Every police agency should require every officer who has contact with citizens to wear body cameras that record audio/video of every police-citizen contact.

Tom Slick Pearson
Tom Slick Pearson

The only riots I've ever seen whites involved with, were hockey events in Canada, and one or two college town victory/losses here in the States. You show me one riot that whites were involved with that had to do with serious consequence, as the Kelly Thomas case.... Can't argue the facts, as it just doesn't happen.

Niko Babic
Niko Babic

Whites don't riot...anything of importance. We save that for over-privileged teenagers at the US Open!

Brett Voeller
Brett Voeller

I just wish the OC cities would spend a little more money educating the people about the realities of dealing with the police. I mean, maybe this is ridiculous, but would it make sense for them to put on a commercial that essentially says if you react in any way that you could sacrifice your life? It just seems like in Orange County your best chance to stay alive is to go completely limp whenever a police officer comes up on you. It's worked for me so far.

Nick Riviera
Nick Riviera

If I was Kelly Thomas' Dad I would kill the cops who killed my son.

Tom Slick Pearson
Tom Slick Pearson

Jury is to blame, if anyone. If you listen to what Kellys father was saying that the defense attorney was objecting and interrupting the prosecutors, so the jury probably folded, and gave up. Its the smoke and mirror distractions that got the verdict it did. Smart defense lawyer, not so smart jury members.

Chris Roth
Chris Roth

This is just sick that not one officer intervened and not a jury or a judge couldn't convict these PIGS on murder 1 after seeing the torture video

Veronica Malvaez Isaac
Veronica Malvaez Isaac

No rioting, please. Don't use Kelly's death as an excuse to act like a jackass. Don't loot businesses that had literally nothing to do with the verdict.

Tom Slick Pearson
Tom Slick Pearson

Protesting and petitioning is one thing; looting and rioting is another. Please do not embarrass yourself and the caucasian race with ignorant behavior. You'll lose key support and wind up tarnishing Kelly Thomas' memory.

RachelKnott
RachelKnott

No riots will be happening in Fullerton. The people and businesses of Fullerton LIKE having and perhaps even INSIST on having jack-booted thugs as police. I say this as someone who had an uncle and cousin in LAPD and an uncle in the L.A. Sheriffs dept. There is no justice in Fullerton so I will not need to go there ever again.

Bonnie Kennedy
Bonnie Kennedy

Please dont stop protesting. i want to come. ill come wednesday night. i work saturday morning.

Tom Slick Pearson
Tom Slick Pearson

Blame the jury. A 30 minute video is 27 minutes too long to effectively do your job as a law enforcement officer. Riots not going to happen, because the victim was white, and whites don't riot; they petition and appeal.

Chuck Westerlink
Chuck Westerlink

at least people didn't riot,burn,loot and pillage the town after the verdict was read...... ;p

spencerj05
spencerj05

Unless it's the Slide Bar.... they called the cops on Thomas when he wasn't doing anything illegal.


Please feel free to boycott that establishment. 

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