BAX BAXTER on the Kelly Thomas murder and settlement with Ron Thomas



By Bax Baxter

“Forgive me the length of this post, but I plan to make these my last comments on FB ever regarding Kelly Thomas. It’s over.

A great many people have asked me today how I feel about Ron Thomas accepting a $4.9 million dollar settlement from the city of Fullerton for the loss of his son at the hands of Fullerton Police Officers. I answered with whatever came to mind without really thinking, because in truth I did not know how I felt. These were some of my initial responses:

1. If the city of Fullerton thinks the life of a homeless man is worth 4.9 million dollars why the fuck can’t we build a public restroom for the dozens of homeless that call the transportation center home?
2. How much do you think his life would have been worth had we never held a protest?
3. Innocent parties do not hand out 4.9 million dollars.
4. Too bad the executives at the insurance company, who made this recommendation, were not on the jury at criminal trial, because they sure as hell think these cops are guilty of murder.
5. Two words: Citizens oversight

I’ve now had all day to think about this, and the truth is I feel really fucking strange knowing that it’s all over. Knowing that regardless of the pay out today, Kelly Thomas, a man I once knew and spent time with, will never see justice in the true sense of that word and I find this nothing other than sad. Today does not change that. A guilty verdict in a civil trial is not justice; it’s too fucking late for justice. That opportunity was lost in the criminal trial, and no amount of money will change the fact that the man who played the biggest role in his murder still walks the streets of Fullerton, hangs out a Joe’s just blocks from the murder scene, and even has the obscene arrogance to coach little league. Any establishment in Fullerton that welcomes Manny Ramos is welcoming a murderer.

Despite all the attention, and all the protests, the fact remains that three of the six officers who beat Kelly that night, are still employed by the City of Fullerton. Andrew Goodrich, the former police spokesperson who slandered Kelly’s name and called him a criminal, who said that his men had been in the fight of their life, who claimed that some of his officers had broken bones, all of which was later admitted to be untrue, is still employed by the city of Fullerton. In fact he has since been promoted. Dan Hughes, who at the time of Kelly’s murder, was in charge of these men as the Patrol Captain, and he is also the captain who allowed these officers to watch the video of the altercation with Kelly Thomas, before writing their report, as if they were scoring a soundtrack to a movie. He too has been promoted and is now our Chief of Police. (he now turns his back on me when I speak at city council. A $292,000 per year man baby) If these guys were anything other than cops they would have been fired four years ago. If these guys were anything other than cops, knowing that they cost the city 5.9 million dollars (1 million was already paid out to Kathy Thomas, the victim’s mother), it would have driven them to resign. If they have a shred of human decency the three officers involved in this murder, Andrew Goodrich and Dan Hughes will turn in their resignation papers by morning. We know that is not going to happen because the fact is that cops are not held to a higher standard, they are in fact allowed to exist at a lower standard than almost any other profession.

In great part at least, I lost my job as an executive at a large medical company, because I was distracted by this case and my fight to get Kelly Thomas justice. It seems bloody unfair that some of those who fought just as hard to obstruct justice were allowed to keep theirs.

Here is my final reaction to the 4.9 million dollar settlement. When one of the most brilliant attorneys in the country, someone I have spent some time with, and someone I have the utmost respect for, believes that taking a settlement is a better option than putting the outcome into the hands of a Orange County Jury, and a legal system which already failed us in the criminal case, the acceptance of the settlement by Ron and his attorney is the best condemnation of our justice systems. Despite an unarmed victim, who was slight in stature, the video, the audio, the witnesses, the fact that the victim was well known to the downtown community and public interest, Ron and his attorney know that may have not been enough. And if that’s not enough, what the fuck is? You see, time and time again OC juries have favored the police over the victims of their violence. Ron and Garo knew that if they did not take this last offer, there may never have been anything. The city knows his son was murdered. The public knows his son was murdered. The insurance company knows his son was murdered, you know his son was murdered … and yet the jury may not have known once the system washed it of its moral compass like it has so many others.. Do you want things to change? Then demand Citizens Oversight on the local level and on the end of the so called “Peace Officers Bill of Rights” POBAR at the state level. Until we have those things nothing much changes. Cops go free, families suffer, more people die. That’s the fact. Live with it or do something about it.

• Do I wish this would have gone to trial and the public would been allowed to learn more about the actions of all involved on July 5th, 2011? Yes.
• Can I blame Ron Thomas for accepting a settlement rather than putting his trust in a system that failed him, and us, before? Fuck No. Let’s remember that Kelly cried out for his father that night, not any of us. Ron Thomas lost a son; he gets to decide and I will not judge the victim.

My fight for the many other families of the innocent, who are unjustly killed or injured at the hands of the police, is not over, neither is my fight to give our local homeless a chance to live dignified lives. But my fight for Kelly Thomas is over. And the truth is I’m feeling pretty fucking beat up. It’s time I moved on.

Love and condolences to Ron, Kathy, Tina and the entire Thomas family. Mass respect to my friends Jesse LaTour and Andy Anderson. Jesse was the first to speak up at a council meeting and ask that they look into the death of this man at the transportation center. Thousands more would soon speak on this topic after Jesse did. Andy was the first to organize a protest outside of the Police station demanding answers and resignations. Thousands more would soon protest at the same location and help start a national movement for police accountability.”

Bax Baxter

(art by John Sollom)

Bax Baxter's photo.
Bax Baxter's photo.
Bax Baxter's photo.
  1. #1 by Anonymous on November 24, 2015 - 5:18 pm

    Damn straight Bax!

  2. #2 by Fullerton Lover on November 25, 2015 - 9:36 am

    If you need to focus your frustrations on what’s happening to Fullerton, I suggest that you ALL do in a positive way by getting out and doing what ever is necessary to defeat the three rotten eggs on the city council that voted for this settlement on behalf of their unholy alliance with the public employee unions here in Fullerton.

    Doug Chaffee, Jan Flory, and Jennifer Fitzgerald.

    These candidates are all sponsored and paid for with tens of thousands in donations, as well as thousands of man hours in convincing Fullerton residents to vote for them by the Fullerton police and fire departments, and Fullerton Chamber of Commerce.

    Do you think that might have influenced Doug Chaffee, Jan Flory, and Jennifer Fitzgerald’s decision to suppress the civil case that would have provide answers from proceeding?

    Those three city council candidates knew that the Fullerton police AND paramedics that showed up on July 5th had NOTHING to be proud of.

    These three re-treads of the bald tires city council candidates that we re-called in 2012 ALL ended up paying HUSH money to save ALL of their political careers.

    Defeat each and every one of these candidates and don’t allow them to trot out replacement horses asses like Larry Bennett or Rick Alvarez.

    IMHO, they ALSO have their snouts firmly implanted on the public employees unions and chamber of commerce’s butt cheeks and that’s where they ALL plan on staying.

    I don’t mean to sound like Nostradamus, but please don’t say I didn’t warn you, if you keep getting nothing but bull shit when you insist that your paying for the truth, if you keep on insisting on voting for these same candidates that are sponsored by either the police, fire, or chamber of commerce here in Fullerton.

    • #3 by Joe Imbriano on November 25, 2015 - 12:50 pm

      Bax’s summation was brilliant here. I could only wish he would have come to the meeting and read this. Those three, during an 8:00 am virtually unannounced meeting of The Fullerton City Council on the day before Thanksgiving, in an empty chambers, attended only by the Keller FPOA posse and the regular reform minded standbys listened as the live feed was purposely turned off so there would be no video record of the 4.9 million dollar broom and dustpan purchase to sweep under the rug the biggest pool of blood, heist, travesty of justice, tragedy and expose of the establishment’s moral compass in Fullerton’s history.

      • #4 by Red on November 26, 2015 - 6:13 am

        The city hall crowd wants nothing to do with truth or people being aware of goings on, only their tax money. This is so tragic on so many levels.

        • #5 by Anonymous on November 26, 2015 - 1:25 pm

          Red it is not only that they only care about the tax money but that they choose to spend so much of it for their special interest friends and associates. Spending for roads, sewers, water pipes, not so much.

    • #6 by Anonymous on November 25, 2015 - 9:38 pm

      Agreed. Bruce is really a good man. I bet they are really worried especially now that Joe is in the ring. Should be very interesting to see pan out. Hope for the best. Get out and support these two.

  3. #7 by Reality Is..... on November 25, 2015 - 11:13 pm

    Well said. Love the swearing too. Shows the emotions.

    Ron is a pussy. They could have taken this to trial, like Ron promised the last 4 years. He promised so much, and did so very little. Just like the Fullerton City Council does right?

    Ron knew that his relationship with his son was an issue. He gave up on him. He knew that a jury may not award him a dollar when it came down to Ron being on the stand, and the future earnings of his son Kelly being put to the test. Garo has massive expenses on this case already, well over a million. Garo had to get money back and he had 40% of Ron’s part on the hook as well. Garo’s pressure finally made sense to Ron, and Ron ran off into the sunset leaving nothing but empty promises to Kelly’s Army and all the other people waiting patiently to see all of the Fullerton Klan testify.

    Everyone expected so much more from Ron. He was a coward after all, just like all the haters had said from Day 1.

  4. #8 by Anonymous on November 26, 2015 - 3:36 pm

    Baxter has a very good and big heart. That is why so many of us think so highly of him. I too do not want to judge Ron Thomas. However, when someone gives their word that they will do something, it would be nice if they kept their word. In settling out of court, Mr. Thomas did not keep his word that there would be a civil trial. In the end Baxter was correct when he said that no one here got justice.

  5. #9 by Toma Todo on November 26, 2015 - 4:30 pm

    You are so right reality. The TV whore. Garo went to the city with his tail between his legs and agreed to settle. I wish the city would of denied the settlement and put Ronnie on the hot seat and watch him squirm like he said he wanted to see the officers squirm. He is full of shit and lies. Garo was in this for to much money. He wasn’t going to be out of all that money he fronted. And after the settlement was done they all continued to talk shit. How the city was showing quilt because the amount they paid out. Ron will continue to say he was an OCSHERIFF and attended UCSD. See how much he donates to his so call cause. Let’s see if we even hear from him again. I’m sure thee officers are glad it is over. Hopefully they will go on and collect what is owed to them and go on with their lives.

    • #10 by Reality Is on November 26, 2015 - 5:30 pm

      So true. Oh so true.

      It’s a loss for everyone.

      Ron on the stand and the facts about his relationship with Kelly was key to settling. Also, Kelly’s earning potential.

      In the end, Ron pussy’d out in a big way.

      Yes, the cops will now get their termination settlements and medical retirements and walk off into the sunset. What people forget is that those cops and the police supporters and families and many in the Fullerton community feel that Kelly brought this all on himself and the cops just responded to that. That’s what is key to everything. Including the not guilty criminal case.

  6. #11 by Anonymous on November 27, 2015 - 10:13 am

    The real trouble with government is that they are not accountable and like in this case, settle horrific law suits with other people’s money. All 6 officers taking part in the death of Kelly Thomas were hired by Pat McKinley, including a one-eyed officer who clearly did not meet even the minimum standards to become a FPD officer. Without the hiring actions of Pat McKinley, Kelly Thomas would not have been beaten to death on the night of July 5, 2011. How much will Pat McKinley have to pay for not even following the minimum requirements for hiring a police officer…..absolutely nothing. Just one of many FPD members who failed to follow FPD policies and procedures. Did Mckinley apologize for his egregious actions? Of course that arrogant man who intentionally hired an unfit officer did not apologize. But God has seen his actions; has noticed his complete lack of remorse and will take the necessary steps to deal with former Police Chief extraordinaire McKinley. There is a special place in hell for those that cause great suffering and show absolutely no remorse for their actions.

    • #12 by crimes against Fullerton's children on November 28, 2015 - 8:26 pm

      “There is a special place in hell for those that cause great suffering and show absolutely no remorse for their actions.”

      Those who will occupy the special place will include: pletka, sugarman, berryman, thompson, thornley, singer, montoya, kilponen, buchi, hathaway

      All are guilty.

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