Homeless Advocates Plan Kelly Thomas Protest On Hollywood And Vine Next Week
A local homeless advocacy group is planning a massive protest in Hollywood on Feb. 8 against police brutality involving the homeless in Los Angeles, using the Kelly Thomas case as a reminder of what needs to be done.
Monday Night Mission, who have been feeding and championing for the homeless for years, are planning to gather 5,000 Angelenos for their protest. Monday Night Mission head Mel Tillekeratne told LAist that the goal of the protest is to highlight the need for the LAPD to properly work with Los Angeles' homeless population.
"Downtown LA is developing rapidly. This means more and more people are moving into downtown and a lot more people venturing closer to skid row," Tillekeratne said. "This will bring about more confrontations with the mentally ill and a lot more interaction between them and the LAPD. Therefore we need to send a message as well as give the LAPD the necessary training to deal with those situations than end up having a thousand more Kelly Thomas incidents."
Kelly Thomas was a mentally-ill homeless man in Fullerton who was beaten to death by two police officers, Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli. Earlier this month, Ramos and Cicinelli were acquitted of second-degree murder and excessive force charges after a lengthy trial. Since then, there have been protests in the streets of Fullerton and Los Angeles highlighting what many believe was justice not being served.
Monday Night Mission's planned protest will be right on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Tillekeratne said that Kelly Thomas' legacy is important, especially in Los Angeles.
"It might have been [in] Fullerton but Kelly was homeless and Kelly was mentally ill. The exact demographic we feed and care for at Monday Night Mission," Tillekeratne said. "If we are silent on things that matter, especially as close to us as Fullerton, then we might as well be deaf and blind morally."
The Hollywood and Vine intersection is the same spot where hundreds of Monday Night Mission supporters turned out to protest City Councilman Tom LaBonge's proposal to ban feeding the homeless outdoors.
A flyer for the event can be found here.