LAPD Officer Weighs In On Kelly Thomas Beating Video On Reddit: "It Made Me Upset"
This week a graphic video of showing police officers in Fullerton beating, kicking and Tasering Kelly Thomas was shown in court. A user named LAPD_Redditor logged on to Reddit to share his thoughts on the video from the perspective of a police officer. What followed was a surprisingly civil debate on a hot-button issue with Redditors about how much force is too much in this situation.
Although the LAPD_Redditor says that he understands how hard it is for a police officer to subdue someone resisting arrest, he believes that after watching the video that the officers in this situation used too much.
Next to LAPD_Redditor's name was the phrase "verified LAPD officer," although we have no confirmation that the Redditor is a sworn officer. This wasn't LAPD_Redditor's only post—periodically he would answer local questions in threads about minor law enforcement issues. But shortly after he posted the following thread, his account was deleted and other Redditors apologized in case he had gotten in trouble.
Here's the thread he started titled "The Kelly Thomas beating. One cop's perspective:"
I'm a cop. I just got a chance to watch the Kelly Thomas video. It made me upset.
One of the things I try not to do is second-guess other police officers. In any given situation, I wasn't there, so it's hard for me to judge. But in this case, the whole encounter was on video.
Let me just preface by saying that I've been in the situation these officers were in many times. I can tell you from firsthand experience that if someone doesn't want to get put into handcuffs, it is EXTREMELY difficult to do it. It may seem like a simple thing, but I weigh nearly 200 pounds and am trained in self-defense and Arrest & Control techniques, and my partner and I once struggled for upwards of two minutes to get cuffs on a 140 pound woman who didn't want to go with the program. So the whole act of getting someone into handcuffs is hard. Unless you've been in that situation, I really can't describe it.
That being said, I have dealt with many, many, many uncooperative suspects. I've been in situations where it took 6 or 7 of us to get someone into custody. And I'll tell you something. None of the people I've taken into custody has ever died. None of them has ever had their face bloodied to a pulp.
I don't enjoy the part of my job where I have to fight people. It's sometimes necessary, and I'll do it if I have to, but it's something I always try to avoid.
I don't think these officers set out to kill Kelly Thomas. I don't think they killed him "for sport" as I heard John & Ken say. But I do think they went too far. Obviously they did, because this guy ended up dead, and that's not something that usually happens in situations like this.
All I know for sure is that this is a goddamn tragedy all around.