Jury Finds Two Officers Charged In Beating Death Of Homeless Man Not Guilty

from the proving-these-two-cops-can-beat-more-than-transients dept

The verdict has come back on the trial of two officers charged in the beating death of schizophrenic homeless man Kelly Thomas. Not guilty on all charges. The Orange County jury heard three weeks of testimony and returned this verdict in less than a day.

The incident, which began with Officer Ramos putting on gloves and announcing to Thomas that his "fists" were getting ready to "fuck him up," and ended with Thomas in an irreversible coma, was caught on surveillance tape and synched to Ramos' body mic recording. The tortured screams and gasps of the 135-lb. Thomas were unable to convince the jury find one of the cops guilty of lesser charges (Officer Cicinelli -- charged with involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force). Even Cicinelli's own words -- "I ran out of options and just started bashing the hell out of [Thomas'] face [with the butt end of his taser]" -- failed to persuade the jury that the force used was excessive.

But as the Orange County Register presciently noted a couple of weeks ago, juries in Orange County tend to be "law and order" juries.

Orange County juries historically have given police officers carte blanche to use deadly force even against unarmed citizens and to lie in official reports that cover up police corruption.
The defense argued that Thomas died of causes unrelated to the physical force applied by six responding officers. They also argued that any force that might have been "excessive" was demanded by Thomas' supposedly violent resistance. But that seems a little unlikely when you take into account the defense's medical expert, who maintained Thomas died of a "weakened heart" brought on by "years of meth abuse." How does a 135-lb. man with a "weak heart" (who "could have died sitting in a closet" according to the medical expert) put up enough of a struggle that officers (six of them) fear for their safety? It doesn't add up, especially when you consider the fact that Officer Ramos, who initiated the attack and spent most of the incident on top of Kelly Thomas, outweighed the homeless man by at least 100 pounds. Add to that the weight of other officers who responded to calls for backup. Suddenly, this guy with a heart so weak he could have died "at any time" looks almost superhuman.

If there's anything that seriously undercuts the arguments that these officers responded with appropriate force to a threatening situation, it's the comparison of post-altercation photos of Kelly Thomas [warning: photo is extremely gruesome] and Officer Ramos, who sustained the following injury during the "dangerous" struggle.

The jury's verdict sends a message to Orange County law enforcement: you can threaten a person with a beating, follow that threat up with a six-officer beatdown -- including "beat[ing] the hell" out of them with the butt of your Taser -- all while being caught on tape and walk out of the courtroom free men. Kelly Thomas' father rightfully calls this a "miscarriage of justice."

For what it's worth, the federal government seems to find this verdict questionable.

"With the conclusion of the state court trial, investigators will examine the evidence and testimony to determine whether further investigation is warranted at the federal level," FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller in Los Angeles said in a statement.

While it's somewhat encouraging to see that the FBI thinks something is amiss here, there's really no reason for the federal government to step in and find some other way to punish these two cops. The only thing that should be looked for is evidence of misconduct that occurred during the trial which would stipulate throwing the verdict out and retrying the case. Anything else would be the government sending the unwelcome message (one it has sent previously, following the trial of George Zimmerman) that if the administration doesn't like a verdict a jury has reached, it will subvert the judicial system and render one of its own.



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  1.  
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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 10:51am

    Uhm... wow

    Do they temporarily lobotomize the jury in those trials or something? I mean, what the hell. They had goddamn video evidence of the incident. You do not need to beat a man into a coma to "restrain" him. They had a tazer, why weren't they using it to, I dunno, taze him? I mean, yeah it's wrong and excessive, but it's better (and probably much less lethal) then a no-holds-barred, all-out beatdown by SIX cops.

    What the hell is wrong with the people in Orange County?

    Oh, right. It's OC. Nevermind.

     

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  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 10:51am

    THIS is "lack of due process", kids, not that Kim Dotcom doesn't have a US address to be served papers.

    The latter just squanders your outrage, besides makes you silly. Not just look silly, but actually silly.

    And THIS is the kind of "policing" you get when cheer violent video games. Yes, know you won't look at the obvious point in common: violence, or think that your playing Grand Theft Auto could in any way be similar, but it's just the old "no snowflake thinks it's responsible for the avalanche". These attack dogs have been trained in foreign wars and are now turned on people in the US. All violence is bad, even pretend violence, wears away at the always narrow line between civilization and savagery. Civilized people have to oppose violence consistently and continually, not make exceptions for even pretending. Violence in any form can never be good.

    I foudn this weekend some of my young pals noticeably geezering-up and at last beginning to understand why I rail. Won't be long before you kids too look aghast at the younger generation running literally wild -- such as the "knockout game" -- and start thinking how they're going to regard you as targets for their fun. You'd just better hope that we can stop the savages before reach the tipping point. The very least you can do -- the VERY least -- is to quit glorifying violent video games here: let it a dirty little vice you keep secret. If you can't stop society getting worse, at least don't urge on the savages...

    The Rich are not amiable hedonists as you "libertarian" kids are: The Rich are actively IMmoral, schooled in how to steal from the poor, and actually delight in causing suffering. They make sport of the poor in a "game" to be EVIL as possible short of causing a revolt.

    06:51:04[h-602-4]

     

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  3.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 10:53am

    Re: THIS is "lack of due process", kids, not that Kim Dotcom doesn't have a US address to be served papers.

    Walk into traffic and stop in the middle.

     

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  4.  
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    JR Price (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 10:53am

    Absolutely disgraceful. I note that the Exhibit shown in the article shows Officer Ramos' elbow being bloodied. I suppose that's what happens in an all-out curb stomping.

    When Ramos informed Kelly that "[his] fists" were "getting ready to fuck [Kelly] up", does that not show premeditation? Aside from that, how can Kelly be called the aggressor after being faced with such inflammatory language?

    Besides, surely the goal of the police force should be to subdue the suspect, not to turn his face into something resembling a side of raw beef.

    Although I know it would most likely be illegal to answer the question, I would like to know how the jurors justified letting these guys off.

     

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  5.  
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    bshock, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 10:53am

    Orange County's interruption of "law and order"

    I think it's a bit of misinterpretation to say that Orange County has "law and order" juries. Rather, apparently it has "blindly pro-police" juries.

    What these police officers did was clearly not lawful or orderly.

     

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  6.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 10:57am

    Thats why

    if confronted with this kind of aggression you need to fight... literally for your own life. Badge or not, I am going to defend myself with every option available to me. At least If I live, I will have the chance to see a jury.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:00am

    Re: Orange County's interruption of "law and order"

    But doesn't the rule of law not apply to LEOs?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: THIS is "lack of due process", kids, not that Kim Dotcom doesn't have a US address to be served papers.

    Every time i read something of what ootb writes i end up rofl at ootb and NOT laughing at anything of what they write.

     

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  9.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:07am

    I thought the FBI was only concerned with "national security" now? Why are they getting involved in something related to law enforcement?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:08am

    Federal jurisdiction is appropriate

    The article's author misses the mark in one respect.

    The federal government clearly has jurisdiction to prosecute the cops.

    It would not be a retrial for the same offense barred by double jeopardy, because the double jeopardy clause only bars reprosecution by the same sovereign.

    The federal government may prosecute state officials guilty of civil rights violations under the theory that the abuse was under color of law.

    In the Zimmermann case, the federal nexus was lacking because there was no action by state officials.

    The federal government criminally prosecuted the cops who was acquitted of the Rodney King beating.

    There should not be fewer but rather more federal prosecutions of state officials for abusing the civil rights of citizens.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:13am

    Are you serious?

    "While it's somewhat encouraging to see that the FBI thinks something is amiss here, there's really no reason for the federal government to step in and find some other way to punish these two cops."

    You can't be serious. These cops outright murdered an innocent, unarmed person and the writers here think the federal government has no reason to step in and dish out punishment?

    This is something the Fed NEEDS to intervene in. Juries are hand-picked, the lawyers know exactly who they're choosing to get the verdict they want. This verdict was orchestrated and justice was not only not served but trampled on and bloodied.

    How many more innocent people being murdered by LEOs will it take before you think the Feds should intervene?

     

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  12.  
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    Jim, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:14am

    unreal

    Hopefully the federal government steps in, this is such a disgrace. These are the guys that are supposed to serve & protect us. UNREAL

     

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  13.  
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    Rosalinda Hucks, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:18am

    To much force!

    My heart goes out to his family and I don't know what the hell is wrong with the jury, are they taking bribes? A blind person can see that the force they used was over kill!

     

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  14.  
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    James Bundrant, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:20am

    Video Link

    This is an outrage. Incase you missed the video here is a link


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6yaeD-E_MY

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:21am

    Re: Uhm... wow

    What the hell is wrong with the people in Orange County?

    It's jury intimidation by providing proof of what happens when police take a dislike to a person.

     

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  16.  
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    Richard, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:23am

    Re: Thats why

    This kind of aggression? What "kind of aggression" are you talking about??? It's a good thing you DON'T have a badge. How stupid, ridiculous, unethical and to be blunt, IDIOTIC!!!

     

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    ISAF_Kabul, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:23am

    he looks like a maxican mofia

     

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  18.  
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    Anon, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:25am

    Re: Thats why

    If you are fighting back then you are legally justifying the use of force against you. Not saying these officers didn't take it to far but if you fight police, they can legally beat you until the threat is neutralized.

     

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  19.  
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    I C Y, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:25am

    proper context is everything

    From the story... 'was caught on surveillance tape and synched to Ramos' body mic recording.'

    This puts the proper context to the events, and explains the jury's decision. There may be other charges when/if the feds do something about this.

     

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  20.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: Thats why

    I think weneedhelp was referring to the kind of aggression the police showed when they murdered the guy.

     

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  21.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:26am

    Re: THIS is "lack of due process", kids, not that Kim Dotcom doesn't have a US address to be served papers.

    All violence is bad, even pretend violence...


    Once again your inconsistency is showing Blue. Earlier today you cheered for the French taxicab drivers who used violence against a Uber vehicle.

    So basically your message is that violence is bad, unless it's against something you dislike. You are a hypocrite.

     

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  22.  
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    Baron von Robber, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Thats why

    A you fucking kidding me!?

    So your offering the alternative that he should not fight back and just die to the beating Kelly did?!?!

    You should have things shoved into your anus if you don't like it already.

     

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  23.  
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    Paul Martinez, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:34am

    wrong

    These cops are being allowed to kill people without descrection.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:36am

    Fuck the meth head. Ive seen police academy videos. They train them to be that way. Assume everyone is arm and knows martial arts. Assume they are trying to kill you. Make it home to your wives and kids. Blah blah blah. They are like computers. If a, respond with b. If b doesn't work respond with c. P

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:36am

    Re: Are you serious?

    I agree. If the feds don't step in, I'd say it is perfectly reasonable to expect vigilante justice in this case.

     

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  26.  
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    juan rios, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:37am

    police brutality

    So, these officers in Orange County were acting "as they were trained to"? Ok. I'll buy that. Sounds like the Nazi excuse at Nuremberg: " just following orders". Then, the problem lies clearly with their superiors and their "trainers". Yes, there is a war on crime, "war" being the operative word. This schizophrenic homeless man was obviously an "enemy combatant". Ok, then let us try these officers for war crimes, shall we. This kind of conduct is illegal even under international law. Should the feds step in? Of course. The officers' conduct in this case without a doubt violated Mr. Thomas' civil rights. To let these officers walk away from this with clean hands sends the message that not only is there a War on Crime, but a war on all citizens. So who now are the enemy combatants, We the People or the dogs who attack us?

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:38am

    Compare this to the famous Rodney King beating, as King:

    ran from police
    was a big, burly guy
    was not killed

    Kelly Thomas was none of those things. Yet the cops who beat Rodney King were forced to face a federal trial (in a much less cop-friendly district) after their acquittal in state court. By that rationale, it would seen the feds would have even more reason to repeat that kind of double-prosecution here.

    Except for one thing. The victim does not appear to qualify under any of the categories of federally-protected minority status (e.g., race, religion, sexual-orientation, ... ).

    I've got to wonder - all else being equal- when the victim is Caucasian rather than Negro, are the Feds a lot less likely to get involved?

     

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  28.  
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    dparadis (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:38am

    Federal Jurisdiction

    This is definitely a case where the feds should step in. This is no different than a lynching being nullified by an all-white jury.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:38am

    Re: wrong

    It's been going on for hundreds of years, why would it stop now?

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:39am

    I expect that the jurors drove to the court each day where a policeman took a note of their license plates, were screened and had their id checked by more police and were then sat in a courtroom stacked full of police watching their every move. Of course they found them not guilty.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:39am

    Re:

    Then the creators of those videos are complicit in conspiring to commit murder. And a conspiracy falls under federal jurisdiction.

     

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  32.  
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    Deranged Poster (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: Thats why

    Then take em out first

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:42am

    We should stop calling these "miscarriages of justice" and go with "abortion of justice" since they seem to be on purpose.

     

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  34.  
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    William Chunyk, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:44am

    ????

    Un fucking believable!

     

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  35.  
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    artp (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:53am

    Re:

    Millions of innocent music and movie files are going to be abused while the FBI looks into this. Oh, the media!
    /sarcasm

     

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  36.  
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    RyanNerd (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 11:58am

    Re: Are you serious?

    I agree with Tim on this issue. Similar to the paradox of saying: I don't believe in what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!
    If every time there was a miscarriage of justice (particularly when a jury has decided a verdict) the Federal courts swoop in like Deus ex machina; this subverts the judicial system and nullifies "a jury of one's peers".
    Constitutional principles must be maintained and upheld, or we will lose the balance of power and be left with tyranny.

     

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  37.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: THIS is "lack of due process", kids, not that Kim Dotcom doesn't have a US address to be served papers.

    Please don't reply to him. It just feeds his ego.

     

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  38.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 12:08pm

    This is an outright Case of excessive force by Coppers as if we have not seen enough of this in the past Year.This one has full video evidence which I had watched a few times after it was first aired.I was totally disgusted by the actions of these hot shot asshole coppers.
    They murdered this young man and we the people of this Union want to see JUSTICE SERVED.

     

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  39.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: THIS is "lack of due process", kids, not that Kim Dotcom doesn't have a US address to be served papers.

    Please don't reply to him. It just feeds his ego.


    Yes, I know. I gave up on trying to engage Blue in any sort of meaningful conversation awhile ago.

    I usually only reply to point out [his/her/it's] inconsistencies and hypocrisies, so that they are "on record", per se.

    Although occasionally, I just can't seem to resist needling Blue a bit, mainly because [he/she/it] annoys me to no end.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Thats why

    Your scenario (and the responses) certainly illustrate the catch-22 that citizens can be faced with.

    One one hand, if you resist, you give the officers cause to use force. But if you DON'T resist when they take it too far, you end up dead.

    I find it hard to believe that the sorry excuses for "officers" NEEDED to beat this man to death - six against one, with the "one" on the ground under more than one officer, and they STILL needed more force? That doesn't pass the smell test on so many levels, that it suggests the jury MUST be either retarded or fear retribution by this gang.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: THIS is "lack of due process", kids, not that Kim Dotcom doesn't have a US address to be served papers.

    Agreed - it's just the other day that ootb referred to itself as the "most influential commenter on Techdirt."

    It's a legend in it's own "mind"

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 12:28pm

    Re: police brutality

    I thought the same thing.

     

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  43.  
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    Bengie, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Are you serious?

    You assume it's an intelligent unbiased jury that doesn't have its hands tied by the judge.

    One of the explicit powers of a jury is "jury nullification", yet many judges forbid juries from even discussing it.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 12:31pm

    If this is law and order, I prefer anarchy. At least then it would not have been illegal for bystanders to step in and help this guy out.

     

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  45.  
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    Daemon_ZOGG, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 12:32pm

    "..Two Officers Charged In Beating Death Of Homeless Man Not Guilty"

    A crime against humanity. I am offended that these cops are allowed to continue on breathing the same air as the rest of us. I'm sure the 0range county PD are proud to call these underdeveloped neanderthal thugs their own.

     

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  46.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Federal jurisdiction is appropriate

    The federal government clearly has jurisdiction to prosecute the cops.

    IANAL, but I believe, based on previous training I had on the subject, that you are correct. One of a few times when the Federal Government can step in with State matters is when there is a case of depriving someone's civil rights under the color of the law. I believe the reason for the Federal law (a href=http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/crm/242fin.php>18 USC 242 [justice.gov]) was specifically to deal with violations of civil rights cops would kill someone for no reason other than the color of their skin, and then wouldn't be convicted of murder by a jury based solely on the race of the victim (as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.)

    In the Zimmermann case, the federal nexus was lacking because there was no action by state officials.

    I believe that is correct. However, if Zimmermann had an official position within the community (Federal, State, and/or Local,) regardless to whether he was a police officer or not, he would have met the nexus. So long as he was acting (or pretending to act) in an official capacity, which, by all accounts, he wasn't. He was a self-appointed neighborhood watch coordinator, which is not an official position.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:08pm

    Re:

    Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the Americans with Disabilities Act add the disabled to the list of federally-protected minorities?

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:12pm

    Police beatings seem to be very routine these days. Oklahoma Highway Patrol beat the living crap out of a DEAF man for not obeying orders -- despite showing a sign that says he is deaf.

    http://fox4kc.com/2014/01/13/group-cries-foul-after-they-say-police-beat-deaf-man-over-resistan ce/

     

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  49.  
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    krolork (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:14pm

    We need a revolution.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:17pm

    so how did the jury get bribed then? there's no way that any verdict other than guilty could be reached here unless there were something secret that happened to the members sitting on the case. how can a police officer who looks to be built like a brick shit house, think for 1 sec that a 2cm scrape on his elbow is enough to retaliate so hard that a person dies? is he a pussy? you never know, justice can be meted out in mysterious ways.

     

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  51.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Uhm... wow

    > Do they temporarily lobotomize the jury in those trials or something?

    Juries are too often made up of people who cannot get out of jury duty. Sad but true. Too many people who could intelligently serve on a jury do not or cannot.

    I have only ever been called to jury duty twice. First occasion, it never got to the point where they wanted me to come in. Second time (years later) a settlement occurred on the morning of trial. It seems that the man to go on trial (for I forgot what minor offense) had the previous night (right before morning start of trial) had shot another man.

     

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  52.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Uhm... wow

    I've wanted to serve on a jury my entire life. I've never been called. :(

     

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  53.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re: Thats why

    six against one, with the "one" on the ground under more than one officer, and they STILL needed more force?


    Of course, they didn't. It's just that this group of cops really love beating the crap out of people.

    I've seen this exact thing happen first hand. Six cops sending some guy to the hospital. When I spotted the commotion, the guy wasn't moving at all -- but the vicious beating continued literally until the ambulance arrived, which was about 15 minutes.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Are you serious?

    "You can't be serious. These cops outright murdered an innocent, unarmed person and the writers here think the federal government has no reason to step in and dish out punishment?"

    You may have missed the meaning here. Writer means "they have no legal basis to step in and overrule the verdict".

     

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  55.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re:

    It's not that kind of "protection"

     

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  56.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:40pm

    Re:

    No bribery needed. Jury members are carefully selected to try to ensure the outcome. In areas like that one, it's not hard to put together a hanging jury.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:50pm

    must have thought he was STILL a cop ...

    A retired police captain shoots a guy in movie theater for throwing popcorn at him -- and says he was justified under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/14/us-usa-florida-shooting-idUSBREA0D1D820140114

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:51pm

    And now the civil case will go to trial and the father will win millions of dollars and the taxpayers will see their taxes go up.

     

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  59.  
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    ottermaton (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: THIS is "lack of due process", kids, not that Kim Dotcom doesn't have a US address to be served papers.

    What really needs to start happening is reporting everyone who replies to him.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:54pm

    Is everyone here too politically correct to also make the observation that at least one of the police officers is disgustingly overweight for a LEO . Don't US police have any standards now ? Isn't there an annual fitness test ? Or do they just need to shoot/tase people and eat donuts in a cruiser.

    Or maybe unemployment is so low in the USA that these are the fittest applicants they could get for the job...

    In the UK a copper is expected to be able to chase down a villain (as in running, on foot). But then they don't have the option of shooting him and walking free like the US cops.

     

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  61.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Uhm... wow

    in case you don't know, (at least in la florida) you can volunteer for jury duty...

    having served on a couple, and gotten dismissed for a couple more, i can say the whole process is problematic from every angle: ANYONE with two brain cells to rub together can easily figure out how to worm out of jury duty with little effort...

    (personally, i think jury service is a SMALL, TINY price to pay for having a (so-called) small dee democracy, that i was/am proud to do when called...)

    also, UNLESS you are a fire-breathing dragon of a jury member who can rally all the other jurists to go the 'jury nullification' route, you are hard-pressed to avoid the legal conclusion you are funneled into by the judge and persecutors...

    i don't care HOW much you want 'justice' in any case, your hands are bound when it comes to the 'legal' proscriptions that are put on your deciding the case...

     

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  62.  
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    Istar, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 2:00pm

    Re:

    This is truly sad, There literally is no hope for the system at this point, This was the jurors clearly siding with the cops, for either saving themselves from an abusive township or just mindlessly going with whatever was fed them by the law.

    Being an alternate at one point in a case, I came out disgusted with how it was being handled by the other jurors who where to eager to side with the prosecution, even though the inconsistency of what was being said or facts that where being flung around.. But this kinda shows off how bad it is....

     

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  63.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Uhm... wow

    I've wanted to serve on a jury my entire life. I've never been called.

    Move to any major city in Southern California. I can guarantee you'll be called once. Won't be able to get past the Voir Dire process (if you are an engineer or scientist,) but at least you'll get to sit in the Jury box and look goofy until they dismiss you (plenty of experience here with that.)

    I've been called a number of times in my life (at least 19 times.) Only time I got to participate was when they couldn't get rid of me as an alternate (out of preemptive challenges) or when they didn't make any challenges because they were in the process of settling the case (so twice, but never went to deliberations in either.)

     

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  64.  
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    Rich, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Uhm... wow

    I've served three times. It's made me want to NEVER be the defendant in a jury trail. My fellow jurors were more interested in reaching a quick agreement (regardless of what that was), so they could get home and watch NASCAR. We were really pissed off when I and a couple of others dissented.

     

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  65.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Uhm... wow

    The funny thing is that literally every one of my friends has been called up, most several times.

    Your solution would work, but it has the fairly major drawback of requiring me to live in Southern California. I really don't like being in SoCal. I find it depressing.

    But, since I'm an engineer and much of my background is working in hard science research labs, I probably don't have a snowballs chance of actually sitting on a jury regardless.

     

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  66.  
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    Ac, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 2:15pm

    Revolution

    This is just another reason that the good old USA needs a new revolution. Time to take down the system and rebuild it

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Orange County's interruption of "law and order"

    Ideally, it should.
    Realistically, it doesn't.

    Personally, I'm an idealist.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Thats why

    And if you DON'T fight police, they can legally beat you until the lack of threat is neutralized, as Kelly Thomas found out shortly before his death.

    Would you rather be beaten to death, or have a slim chance of surviving?

     

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  69.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Uhm... wow

    The funny thing is that literally every one of my friends has been called up, most several times.

    Maybe your state is smart and they realize you don't have a snowballs chance of actually sitting on a jury? Mine keeps calling despite the fact that I rarely get to do so (and I wish they would automatically remove you from their rolls, at least for a longer period of time, if you get called in a certain number of times and are always dismissed.) At least with California, its one-day, one-trial, so if you get dismissed, you don't have to sit around for the rest of the week waiting.

    Your solution would work, but it has the fairly major drawback of requiring me to live in Southern California.

    There are many days that I wish I could avoid living here.

     

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  70.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Uhm... wow

    We were really pissed off when I and a couple of others dissented.

    I am pretty sure that is why they don't like empaneling engineers/scientists. I certainly wouldn't have a problem sitting and listening to everything before making a judgement as to what I thought the facts of the case were, but I would try to go out of my way, once I determined my opinion to explain it and defend it (though I would be willing to be swayed if someone else came along with a better argument.)

    They want people who make quick gut decisions and agreements, not people who want to examine the problem and come up with logical solutions.

    However, just once I'd love to complete the process.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 3:17pm

    Not gonna lie at the risk of being beat to death by a pack of angry pigs I'd vote note guilty as well.

     

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  72.  
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    Abara, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 3:36pm

    Them injuries

    I hurt myself 5 times more by falling in bicycle. Should I asl for an air strike on the pavement next time ? Wouldn't that be ppropriate?

     

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  73.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 3:53pm

    Re:

    I don't think it's political correctness, I think it's just that out-of-condition cops are so common that they can be considered normal. I's say about 25% of the cops I see are morbidly obese. Don't think that means they don't have standards, though -- probably half of the general population is morbidly obese!

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 3:59pm

    Wait til the people realize they have no recourse but to shoot before being mauled by a pack of hungry pigs.. It's a sad reality but its going to happen in mass proportion ..fear isn't something people like to live under.

     

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  75.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Uhm... wow

    > Juries are too often made up of people who
    > cannot get out of jury duty. Sad but true.
    > Too many people who could intelligently
    > serve on a jury do not or cannot.

    This jury had at least one doctor and one lawyer on it.

    I'd think the lawyer, at a minimum, would know how to get out of jury duty if he wanted to. And it's not like stupid people are known for being able to get through med school.

     

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  76.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Re:

    'Hanged' jury hell, I'm betting the police in that area have made it abundantly clear that casting anything but a 'not guilty' verdict anytime one of the badge wearing thugs reach court is just as suicidal as walking in front of a live firing range. Like another poster mentioned, they probably had officers blatantly watching who pulled in to go into court, visibly writing down their license plate numbers and making sure they were seen doing it.

     

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  77.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 4:26pm

    Re:

    > Although I know it would most likely be
    > illegal to answer the question, I would
    > like to know how the jurors justified
    > letting these guys off.

    Wouldn't be illegal at all. After the trial is over, the jurors are free to talk to anyone they like about the case, including their deliberations.

     

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  78.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Federal jurisdiction is appropriate

    > It would not be a retrial for the same
    > offense barred by double jeopardy, because
    > the double jeopardy clause only bars\
    > reprosecution by the same sovereign.

    Yes, that's how the Supreme Court ruled long ago, but it completely undermines the intent of the double jeopardy clause. The Founders clearly intended for citiznes to not have to worry about being prosecuted twice for the same conduct.

    Playing legal word games about 'different soveriegns' and federal vs. state charges is just an end-run around the 5th Amendment, designed to give the government a second bite at the apple (you being the apple) if they don't like the first jury's decision or they feel publicly embarassed by losing the case against you.

     

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  79.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Re: Federal jurisdiction is appropriate

    > So long as he was acting (or pretending
    > to act) in an official capacity

    No, falsely pretending to be a cop or city official does not confer federal jurisdiction over the case.

     

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  80.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Federal Jurisdiction

    > This is definitely a case where the feds
    > should step in. This is no different than
    > a lynching being nullified by an all-white
    > jury.

    So why bother with a trial at all, then, if only one verdict is acceptable?

    I don't think these cops were in the right, but it seems equally ridiculous to say, "You're entitled to a jury trial but only a guilty verdict will be allowed."

     

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  81.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Re:

    > I don't think it's political correctness,
    > I think it's just that out-of-condition
    > cops are so common that they can be considered
    > normal.

    No, it's the police unions that are the cause. The police unions (especially in Southern California) are very powerful and any attempt by the department to impose post-academy physical fitness standards with any teeth to them is rejected by the unions. None of their members want to get fired for being fat, so the union goes to work and protects them from it.

    It's easy to see the unions' effect on this. Compare the general physical fitness level of cops in union-run departments to law enforcement officers where there are no unions. Federal agents are prohibited by law from unionizing and collective bargaining. How many fat, out of shape Secret Service agents do you see around the president? Not too many, right? That's because there's no union stopping the Secret Service from imposing strict physical fitness requirements on its agents.

     

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  82.  
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    Koby (profile), Jan 14th, 2014 @ 5:51pm

    Called it

    A few weeks ago as the trial was occurring, this story was covered here, and I called it that there was a good chance for the officers to be found not guilty.

    A lot of commenters here are expressing their shock that the jury would acquit, and are trying to offer excuses such as bribery, intimidation, or stupidity. But if check out the audio/video recordings, you can see and hear that the suspect goes absolutely berserk and refuses to cooperate until he's in a coma at the end.

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 7:52pm

    Re: Re: Federal jurisdiction is appropriate

    The federal statute Title 18 242 was, as you correctly points out, enacted in reaction to racially motivated deprivation of Negro civil rights, but it's not so limited to racially motivated violence.

    It has been successfully applied to prosecute state officials or private individuals acting in concert with such where an individual was deprived of rights secured by the United States Constitution.

    Use of excessive and sadistic force is a seizure under the Fourth Amendment regardless of the culpability or prior status of the victim.


    Beating a suspect who has already become incapacitated is likely such a Fourth Amendment violation.

    If a local cop also attempts to cover up his own crime, such an act may be independently prosecuted under the federal obstruction of justice statute -- namely 1001 and 1519.

    I am personally uncomfortable with the reach of some federal obstruction statutes, but cops falsifying or covering up records, are clearly those who ought to be prosecuted under federal law.

    The federal government is also bound by the jury trial guarantee so there is no problem with federal prosecution after acquittal by a state jury.

     

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  84.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Re: Are you serious?

    The federal government lacks criminal jurisdiction over local crimes, but this is not about correction of a jury wrongly applying state law but a question of deprivation of federally protected constitutional rights.

    A law enforcement officer beating or mistreating a citizen or for that matter a noncitizen is acting under color of law and is subject to liability under both federal civil and criminal law.
    The fact that the law enforcement officer has been acquitted in state court does not and should not preclude federal liability even for the same act.

    The reason is that federal and state governments are separate sovereigns.

     

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  85.  
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    tek'a, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 8:17pm

    Re: Called it

    "goes absolutely berserk" = " is beaten with clubs and pinned under a pile of heavy men while crying out apologies and pleas for help until hammered into a coma and braindeath"

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Uhm... wow

    The lawyer makes me suspect deck stacking in the pig's favor. Said lawyer wouldn't happen to be a prosecutor or have aspirations of such would they?

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 9:09pm

    OMG, it's absolute corruption! Everything about this case! My takeaway from all this is, always carry a hand-gun in Florida. If six police officers come at you, it's best to risk fleeing in a shootout with them. Otherwise they might suffocate you to death, and drowning for air is a horrible way to die. I'd rather take a bullet.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 10:01pm

    Double jeopardy


    Yes, that's how the Supreme Court ruled long ago, but it completely undermines the intent of the double jeopardy clause. The Founders clearly intended
    for citiznes to not have to worry about being prosecuted twice for the same conduct.

    Playing legal word games about 'different soveriegns' and federal vs. state charges is just an end-run around the 5th Amendment, designed to give the government
    a second bite at the apple (you being the apple) if they don't like the first jury's decision or they feel publicly embarassed by losing the case against
    you.



    But if so, southern juries could have acquitted all state officers guilty of murdering Blacks with the effect that no Black man would enjoy any protection of life and liberty and neither would the federal government have any power to prosecute the guilty state officials.

    A double jeopardy bar to reprosecution by the federal government would allow a southern state to nullify all federal criminal statutes protecting civil rights even in cases of manifest and clear violations of the Constitution.

    If a southern state wanted, it could impose a symbolic fine for deprivation of civil rights, and thereby displace the federal government's power to act in defense of citizens' civil rights across the board.

    I think this is wrong, not least because Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment empowers Congress to enforce The Bill of Rights against the states by enacting prophylactic legislation.

    The Congress that ratified the civil war amendments also enacted the civil rights statutes imposing criminal punishment for depriving Blacks of civil rights.

    It's also a question of which constitute the same offense.

    Even if the federal government could not prosecute corrupt police officers for murder, use of excessive force and murder are distinct offenses.
    And wholly apart from the reach of the double jeopardy clause, obstruction of justice is a distinct offense for which the federal government may prosecute even where the underlying conduct is not directly within federal power to forbid.

    Under 1519, also known as The Sarbanes Oxley Act, the federal government can prosecute people for certain obstructive acts as long that the defendant did it with the intend to or in contemplation of a federal investigation.

     

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  89.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 3:19am

    Juries today don't really care about thinking things through, analyzing all the evidence.

    It's just typically "Right, all in favor of voting guilty to get out of here quicker?"

     

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  90.  
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    Pragmatic, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 5:40am

    Re:

    @JR PRice, "years of meth addiction." I daresay they'd tell you Kelly brought it on himself.

    It's the old, "First they came for the communists, but I said nothing because I was not a communist..." scenario. It's not their problem, so they don't and won't care till it is their problem, in which case it's too late and you're on your own because it's nobody else's problem.

    The fact is, police brutality to Kelly Thomas could mean brutality to Pragmatic somewhere down the line as this behavior is tolerated to the point where it becomes normal and acceptable.

     

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  91.  
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    Pragmatic, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 5:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Thats why

    Uh, guys, the choice is between "beatdown" and "beatdown plus shooting." Good luck with fighting off a policeman hopped up on righteous aggression, surrounded by his buddies and a pack of K9s. Let us know how you get on... if you survive.

    At no point does a policeman suddenly decide they respect the amount of counter-force being applied by someone they consider a perp. There is no "worthy opponent" to bow to in that scenario. You just get carted away in a body bag.

    If you are arrested, try to cooperate as best you can, stay calm and be polite. Make sure you know your rights. Then you'll be alive to complain about it later.

     

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  92.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 6:08am

    I havent followed the zimmerman case, but i heared that he was clearly not guilty according to everyone involved except the media.

     

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  93.  
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    P.S, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 6:35am

    Re: Are you serious?

    There is no doubt in my mind that these cops should have been convicted. They should be in jail for murdering this guy.
    But, Kelly was not an innocent guy. Their defense team showed much more damning evidence about what Kelly was really like. For years, he terrorized people of Fullerton. He was arrested dozens of times. Cited for a hundred plus things. When he couldn't go inside of downtown businesses, he would pull his pants down and take a dump on their doorstep. He brutally attacked his grandfather with a fireplace poker. He choked his mother,( she then got a restraining order against him(. He was not innocent, but he didn't need to die. His parents should of had him in a mental institution paid for by the state. But no, they ignored him, and all of Fullerton had to be terrorized daily by him. Scaring people. Scaring children. Causing scenes at public parks with kids. It was bad. These cops should be in jail, but he sure wasn't innocent.

     

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  94.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 15th, 2014 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Uhm... wow

    I'd think the lawyer, at a minimum, would know how to get out of jury duty if he wanted to. And it's not like stupid people are known for being able to get through med school.

    A lawyer -- actually, a federal prosecutor -- once told me, "A lawyer on the jury leads to a quick victory or defeat. Two lawyers on the jury leads to a mistrial."

    Whether or not that is true, I don't know, but considering this lawyer had about 35 years of experience as a federal prosecutor, I am willing to believe it. She explained that most jurors will defer to the lawyer's opinion, just because of their experience with the law, and will end up siding with them quickly to get the process over (because hell, a lawyer should know the law.) I am not entirely why two lawyers would lead to a mistrial, but I suspect it had something to do with playing the devil's advocate or the chance that at least one of them would be a defense lawyer.

    Now whether or not that occurred in this case, I have no idea, since I wasn't there.

     

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  95.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 15th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Federal jurisdiction is appropriate

    No, falsely pretending to be a cop or city official does not confer federal jurisdiction over the case.

    I didn't mean that (and the justice.gov website I pointed to pretty much says the same thing that I said.) What I meant was that a cop or city official pretending to act in an official capacity, would meet the nexus. If I, as a government official (if I was one,) knew that I didn't have the authority, but used my position as a government authority to deprive you of your civil rights, I'd be pretending to act in an official capacity. A person off the street pretending to be a cop would not be acting under the color of the law, and would be in serious trouble for impersonating a government official in most jurisdictions.

     

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  96.  
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    JR Price (profile), Jan 15th, 2014 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re:

    Thank you. I plead partial ignorance due to being one of them dumb English-type people.

    Having said that, humanity is/should be universal.

     

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  97.  
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    JR Price (profile), Jan 15th, 2014 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re:

    It's the old "bystander principle" - or, as Douglas Adams so succinctly satirized it, the "Somebody Else's Problem field". What's one more methhead to society?

    After all, some people are irredeemable, aren't they?

    After all, these people aren't exactly useful or wanted, are they?

    After all, noone's gonna care if they get beaten up, are they?

    Better to just stay safe and not get involved. They could be DANGEROUS, for Gawd's sake!

    Thank god the police were on the scene to stop the assault on a homeless man... oh, right.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    DP, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 10:14am

    Re: THIS is "lack of due process", kids, not that Kim Dotcom doesn't have a US address to be served papers.

    There's a bus leaving here shortly.......Be under it.

     

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  99.  
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    G RED, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Thats why

    Fighting back or writhing in pain and trying to protect yourself?? and on someone who they knew was mentally ill...

    This is sickening and I suggest all cops try the STOP RESISTING WHILE WE BEAT YOU TO DEATH CHALLENGE.

     

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  100.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 10:49am

    Good Cop Bad Cop

    This kind of crap makes it harder on good law enforcement efforts.

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 11:07am

    Re: THIS is "lack of due process", kids, not that Kim Dotcom doesn't have a US address to be served papers.

    Do us a favor and travel to Orange County and set up your cardboard box on the front steps of the Police Dept.

     

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  102.  
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    Zonker, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Orange County's interruption of "law and order"

    According to constitutional law, yes it does. According to police unions and most juries, no it doesn't.

    But we don't really have much of a constitution left in the US now do we, so the LEO's win.

     

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  103.  
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    Zonker, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 11:57am

    Re: must have thought he was STILL a cop ...

    Funny thing is that law was clearly written to protect victims of violent crimes ability to defend themselves, not armed murderers looking for an unarmed victim. Unfortunately, the jurors and citizens of Florida seem to think it's the other way around.

    Morale of the story: if you're not a murderer and value your life, avoid Florida.

     

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  104.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 15th, 2014 @ 4:14pm

    Re:

    Good! Maybe that will inspire the taxpayers in the area to get rid of the incompetents whose misbehavior cost them real money.

     

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  105.  
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    robert spano, Jan 15th, 2014 @ 4:19pm

    Re: JR PRice

    Well I imagine that the entire Orange County Police Department threatened the same treatment as Thomas got for the jurors and their families if the officers didn't get acquitted.

     

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  106.  
    icon
    The Wanderer (profile), Feb 1st, 2014 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Thats why

    One one hand, if you resist, you give the officers cause to use force. But if you DON'T resist when they take it too far, you end up dead.

    This is why, as I said here a while ago, I think there's room to argue for the right of anyone to resist any arrest - whether lawful or otherwise.

    I understand why the law classifies "resisting arrest" and the like as crimes. That classification has negative (and hopefully unintended) consequences, however, and I'm not sure those costs don't outweigh the benefits.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  107.  
    identicon
    OC Watch, Mar 16th, 2014 @ 8:25pm

    CORRUPTED

    A lot of legal people and gov people are corrupted in orange county......the county has a 30-40 year history of scandals.......the county people are fucked up people....need I say more ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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