A Fullerton police officer was charged with second-degree murder today in connection with the beating death of a schizophrenic homeless man as he was arrested by six officers. According to investigators, Kelly Thomas died from injuries suffered during his July 5 arrest. A second officer involved in the arrest was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
The decision to file criminal charges against the officers sent shockwaves through the community. For months, supporters of the Thomas family have argued that justice could come only through a murder conviction against the officers. On the other hand, supporters of the officers have cautioned that such a prosecution could have a chilling effect on officers’ ability to protect themselves and the community.