We watch videos on the news of a Cruise Missile taking out some bad guys in a far flung place. We watch video of a stealth bomber dropping its payload. But these are events that are happening far away. We know that death is involved, but we don’t see the killing, merely the spectacle of the explosion.

That changed for me today. The case of Kelly Thomas came at me faster than a speeding bullet, and with the power of a 5000lb bunker busting bomb.

The name Kelly Thomas is one that few outside of the Los Angeles area have heard of. He was a homeless man with a mental illness. It is not clear at this stage what, if any trouble he caused in his life. He more than likely had some nuisance value if you became his friend, but other than that, he was just a harmless street person.

Today an Orange County Superior Court judge today ordered two Fullerton police officers to stand trial in the 2011 death of Kelly Thomas. Manuel Ramos is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, 40, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and using excessive force.

Unlike other surveillance camera footage that we are so used to seeing, this one also contains the very chilling audio.

The tape is 20 minutes long, and very disturbing. Watch it at your own peril.


I think that what surprises me most is that only two of the police officers have been charged.

You can read the LA Times article about the case here.

Simon Barrett


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