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The Story Of Kelly Thomas

Kelly Thomas was a schizophrenic beaten to death by no less than six police officers in a savage and brutal fashion. Kelly Thomas could be somebody you love. 

Dark evil photoHere is the harsh video if you can stomach it.  

Before this court video the police spend a while talking to Kelly Thomas trying to figure out who he is and what he is doing. The video begins with the police officer putting on latex gloves.

Police officer “You see my fists?”

Kelly Thomas “Yeah, what about them?”

Police Officer “They’re getting ready to fuck you up.”

The police go on and begin to try to ‘arrest’ Kelly Thomas. What this results in is a savage beating where a total of six police officers beat Kelly Thomas so badly that he died five days after the beating. During the attack by the police Kelly was crying out “I can’t breathe,” “Sorry” and “Help me dad”. Poor Kelly Thomas had the mind of child and suffered a torturous death by brutal police officers. Again the video is the best teller of the story.

Two of the police officers were charged. One with second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter the second with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force. Like so many other times, those charged to ‘protect and serve’ were allowed to get away with murder.

Eventually the city of Fullerton, California would pay 4.9 million dollars in a wrongful death lawsuit.

It is important that we never forget what happened to Kelly Thomas. We in the mentally ill community are especially vulnerable for at times we might act erratic. These police officers should have went to jail.

I wrote a poem for Kelly Thomas that appears in my book ‘Poet To The Poor, Poems Of Hope For The Bottom One Percent’.

A Kid’s Face

by John Kaniecki

Kelly Thomas had a kid’s face
Showed up at the wrong place
Kelly Thomas had a kid’s mind
Society had left him behind
Schizophrenia is a harsh disease
But Kelly Thomas was at ease
Until the big man in blue
Said what he intended to do
Police wanted him to move
Police had something to prove
It was plain for all to see
Police brutality
Kelly Thomas had a kid’s face
Angelic and pure
Kelly Thomas had a kid’s face
But not any more

They say that this is a civilization of law
But America has a tragic flaw
Cause dogs in blue with authority
Have their own brutal reality
Beating a man with no worry
Crying as he’s dying
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry
Gasping in desperate despair
That he can’t get any air
Finally crying for his dad
They knew Kelly Thomas was crazy mad
But they didn’t care at all
Then they lied about it all

Well Kelly Thomas had his day in court
And I am so sad to report
The jury said there was no wrong done
The jury said there was no wrong done
It’s easy when it ain’t your son

Kelly Thomas had a kid’s face
Angelic in it’s glow
Kelly Thomas had a kid’s face
But now it ain’t so

The Story Of Kelly Thomas

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2017). The Story Of Kelly Thomas. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2018, from


Last updated: 27 Dec 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Dec 2017
Published on All rights reserved.