There’s an age old saying of; “when good cops go bad.” It should be coined more around the fact that bad people become cops and then often abuse their position of authority.
The video below was taken by a cell phone camera on the night of July 5 when Fullerton polices officers literally beat a schizophrenic man Kelly Thomas to death and ended up using a taser on him multiple times.
Kelly Thomas didn’t end up dying that night. Instead he spent five day in a hospital laying comatose from his injuries inflicted upon him from Fullerton Police officers Cpl. Jay Patrick Cicinelli and Manual Anthony Ramos. The two officers have been charged separate charges in the case based on testimony and witness accounts. Cicinelli has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and Ramos has been charged with second-degree murder. Ramos is believed to be the one who inflicted the most damage and did the majority of the beating on Thomas. Ramos could receive anywhere from 15 years to life in prison for his actions on that night. A lesser sentence of 4 years is possible for Cicinelli who is a 12-year veteran on the force in Fullerton.
This is another prime example of those who have been entrusted with the authority to look out for the public good; of abusing their power. This is why people in this day and age have such a disdain for police officers and anyone who would want to go into that field. They see these types of abuses day in and day out from simple traffic violations, to using tasers on individuals who are doing nothing more than arguing with an officer on what the officer wants him or her to do. It’s not that good cops end up going bad. It’s that bad people end up becoming cops.
To become a police officer in a major city is not an easy task. There are a multitude of academic, physical, and psychological tests that someone must go through to be even considered to become a part of the force. Criminal background and credit checks are even preformed to make sure that the individuals becoming officers are well fit to be a part of the department and aren’t some random lunatic joining the force. Unfortunately for those tests, they can’t weigh in the human nature aspect of things, which often times leads to disaster.
A lot of individuals who seek to become officers often seek power. They often seek dominance over others, whether it be on a conscious or subconscious level. The odds that someone is going to become and officer and abuse their power is quite high when you look at the little things that are done each and every day. Things that aren’t necessarily violent, but still put them above everyone else in society. It’s why so many girlfriends and wives of police officers end up being abused. Many find becoming an opportunity to thrive on power. Unfortunately, that leads them to be violent and overaggressive in ways that can lead to injury or death.
The case of Kelly Thomas is just that. It’s a couple of officers who felt that this smaller man, this mentally ill man was nothing to them. They wanted him to stop bothering drivers on the street corner, so they though they’d teachhim a lesson. Unfortunately that lesson ended up being his life. The officers used and abused their power like so many do. We see all the time when there are protest groups, when there are big government functions with large quantities of officers together. There are the ones who do their job and watch the crowd mindfully, but then there are those who grab peaceful protesters out of crowds and throw them to the ground violently to show absolute authority.
There is a growing epidemic and problem with police in this country. We make note of many of those problems in our 2009 article: “Police State: Protesters Voices Going Unheard.” A lot of it is supported by a government who is not willing to truly throw the book at officers who abuse their power. In a case where an officer brutally murders someone within an inch of their life and that person does end up dying, there shouldn’t even be an option for 15 years, it should be automatic death or even capital punishment. After all if a citizen murders a cop, it’s an almost guaranteed death sentence with the exception of a few cases. It’s a discrimination factor in favor of those who hold authority and the wrong message to send to the American populace.
We aren’t saying all cops are bad. There are plenty of good cops out there who do their job day-in and day-out and taking protecting the public very seriously. It’s unfortunate that a few bad seeds out there give cops the ‘PIGS” nickname. It’s the way things are though because little is done to weed out the bad eggs. Many police officers are members of unions who snatch them up as rookies and make it near impossible to get rid of them over minor offenses. The truth of the matter is though, is that all officers should be on a probation period for at least two-years to prove themselves as a public servant and not a public dictator.
The public deserves better officers in their community. Ones who won’t jump on top of them or tase them at the drop of a hat. Officers who are trained better to deal with human emotion when it’s placed right in front of them. Certain situations might warrant an officer using his nightstick or his taser, but there is never a scenario when an officer should ever beat a man to death. That is a power that no officer should have and one that should cost him not only his badge, but also his life outside of prison.