Kelly Thomas trial ends, Tuesday Reviewsday, 'Friday Night Tykes' and more

The Kelly Thomas trial comes to an end

Ed Joyce/KPCC

The front page of the Orange County Register Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, following the acquittal of two officers charged in the beating death of homeless man Kelly Thomas.

Yesterday, a jury in Fullerton found two former Fullerton police officers not guilty of beating homeless man Kelly Thomas to death in 2011.  

RELATED: Dozens gather for Kelly Thomas vigil following officers' acquittal in his death

We'll talk to Thomas's father, Ron, about the trial and the verdict, then we'll hear from John Barnett, attorney who represented one of the officers on trial. 
Interview Highlights:

What went through your head when verdict was read?:
Ron Thomas:
"O.J. Simpson trial. I had thought about it even the night before, all night long, about the possibilities of being found not guilty and being found guilty. The different scenarios and what kept popping in my head was Johnnie Cochran and O.J. Simpson celebrating and that's exactly what I have seen yesterday with Ramos and Cicinelli with their attorneys and it was just, it was horrible. What happened to Kelly shouldn't happen to any person, especially by police officers and then walk away clean. Not even excessive force. It's unbelievable. They beat him to death. Nobody is going to deny that. And you know, their attorney claims that they committed no crime and they did everything by the book."

On Kelly Thomas's violent nature:
"He had once episode where he was violent with his grandfather and it was part of a psychotic episode and weeks after that happened he apologized to his grandfather and his grandfather was fine with it. He acknowledges it sure hurt, but he didn't hold it against him. He knew that was not Kelly because they had a good relationship."

How do you move on from this?:
"It's not easy at all, but I have to. I have to put it in perspective. I'll start working with the FBI and try to get them in that way. There are no guarantees at all and I know that going into it, but it's something else that needs to be done. I need to exhaust all means to at least get some type of justice. Now as far as the civil suit goes, that's something I have to file. You just can't let it a city walk away free. It's not about money. It never has been. But the criminal case is what I have wanted all along."

Does law enforcement need to change the way it uses force?:
"Absolutely. There is a lot of good that has come out of this. I have been a pain in a lot of people's side, making change and changing policies and I'll continue doing so. They just cannot beat people. They don't have to be mentally ill. They just can't beat people because they have a badge." 

One of his favorite memories of his son:
"Well, I took him to a Bob Dylan concert years ago and we really had a good time. Ringo Starr walked by us and Danny DeVito. We just had a great time with all of that. And we had been out at my boat several times and we went all over the place and did so many things together. He was just a real pleasure to be around most of the time, and I say most of the time because, again, when he wasn't on his meds that was a whole different ball game and I had to get him back on his meds and level minded. He was a lot of fun to be with."


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