Two police officers were released without charges on Monday after beating a homeless schizophrenic man to death. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has announced will look into the case to see whether the police violated Kelly Thomas’s civil rights.
Protesters rallied in the Los Angeles area after Monday’s verdict, demanding “Justice for Kelly Thomas.” Thomas’s father, Ron Thomas, pledged that the fight would not end.
“I look at this like a prize fight,” he told the LA Times. “It’s not over, we still have several rounds to go.”
The FBI could bring the justice that Ron Thomas is looking for. An official there confirmed that the bureau had opened up an investigation back in 2011 into the two officers, Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli. Now that the criminal proceedings are finished, the FBI investigation will start in earnest.
“With the conclusion of the state court trial, investigators will examine the evidence and testimony to determine if further investigation is warranted at the federal level,” FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller said.
The final moments of Thomas’s conscious life were captured on video: Surveillance camera footage shows one of the officers donning latex gloves and telling him, “See these fists? They’re getting ready to fuck you up.” The second officer arrived during the beating, tased Thomas, and then struck him across the face with a baton, leaving him unconscious and with several broken bones. He died in a coma, five days later.