UPDATES at end of the post: A growing crowd of hundreds of citizens outraged by the recent “not guilty” verdicts for the cops charged by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas in the gruesome beating death of Kelly Thomas have gathered in front of the Fullerton Police Department for a four-hour rally that began at 10 a.m. today.
Musicians are singing anti-establishment songs. Folks using megaphones are leading chants telling police they “will never forget” what they did to an unarmed Thomas in July 2011. Women are wearing “Justice Warrior” t-shirts. One person is mocking cops by swinging a chocolate sprinkles donut from a fishing pole line. Passing motorists are honking their horns in support and many members of a diverse crowd are holding homemade posters.
One person is walking around wearing an ugly pig face mask and a police hat. Several people are holding U.S. flags. Someone used chalk to write in front of the police station, “Pigs live here.” A few, sign-waving protesters occasionally stand in the middle of Commonwealth Avenue and disrupt traffic flow.
Ron Thomas, grieving father of the victim, is present (with Kelly's mother) and said if a police officer tries to beat him in the face with the butt of a Taser gun, he's “gonna kill him.”
“We are not done by any means,” said Thomas, encouraging people to attend next Tuesday's city council meeting. “We're going to raise some hell when all the evidence comes out.”
The victim's sister also thanked the crowd for protesting the killing.
Poster messages include:
–“Police Murder and Lie”
–“Wake Up! Why aren't you angry?”
–“Stop Police Violence!”
–“Mental Illness is not a crime”
–“ACAB” (a.k.a. “All Cops Are Bastards”)
–“Tony R is a boot lickin' Snake”
–“Watch the video and decide for yourself”
–“Dude, I'm sorry. I can't breathe.”
–“How many more will they kill before you stand up?”
–“FTP” (a.k.a. “Fuck The Police”)
–“Justice for Kelly”
–“We won't party with pigs”
–“Enough is enough”
–“Stop police killings”
–“Tony Rack does not respect the people”
–“Honk for Justice”
–“911 = Murderers”
–“We Stop Cops,” by members of the group Anonymous
–“Police protect the innocent; not murder them!”
Just before 11:30 a.m., attendees chanted, “Fuck the police.”
(If officers are present, they are undercover.)
There seems to be a consensus among protesters that Rackauckas, who unquestionably had the inclination to do what no other previous DA was willing to do about outrageous police conduct, botched his prosecution of fired officers Jay Cicinelli and Manuel Ramos.
UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.: Armed riot police with an armored vehicle have gathered on the street in front of FPD headquarters and some of the female protesters are expressing angry frustration at the officers.
“Are you going to attack an unarmed woman, huh?” one woman shouted at a cop, who remained still and non-responsive.
Revealingly, the police complained that protesters were blocking traffic, but–in truth–it was the cops (armed with military-style weapons) who completely shutdown the street.
The police tactic seems to have spurred the remaining energetic protesters to relocate to the spot of the Thomas killing at the Fullerton Transportation Center.
Update, 6:30 p.m.: FPD officials claim they arrested more than seven protesters for not obeying police-state orders.
This could be viewed as substantial progress.
At least, they didn't beat anyone unarmed to death today.
Laughably, Jeff Stuart, the latest Fullerton PD media flack, is claiming the department acted aggressively late in the afternoon because–get a load of this bullshit–a CBS reporter from Los Angeles might have felt threatened while covering the protests.
Update, 9:30 p.m.: We've also received reports that one or more of the good people who used cameras to give the public live Internet broadcasts of the day's protest were arrested by police on unknown charges.
One of those camera persons identified on ustream.tv as PMbeers–by all indications a peaceful, articulate, sweet person–was grabbed by cops for no valid law enforcement reason and taken away while she stood still and filmed officers.
Yo, tough guy Ramos/Cicinelli police-type cowboys: Do we have to remind FPD officers that they should make sure this woman emerges from their ridiculous custody unscratched and also that they'll need to brainstorm hard to figure out ways to justify her arrest?
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; earned six dozen other reporting awards; and been hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.