Nightly News | August 03, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: This next story started out with a video posted on YouTube . It didn't show much, but we later learned it showed the story of how a homeless man apparently died at the hands of police in Fullerton , California . And the incident now has an entire community in an uproar. The report tonight from NBC 's George Lewis .
GEORGE LEWIS reporting: Kelly Thomas was a 37-year-old homeless drifter who liked to hang out around the main bus station . After being beaten by police last month, he died.
Unidentified Man #1: Citizens are being beat to death.
Unidentified Woman #1: It was murder.
LEWIS: At a contentious city council meeting last night, people called for the police involved in the incident to be criminally charged.
Unidentified Man #2: The game's over.
LEWIS: They're riled up over videos of the incident posted on YouTube . On a bus security camera , witnesses can be heard commenting on the six officers hitting Thomas .
Unidentified Woman #2: They're pulling his hair, kicking
the......out of him.
LEWIS: This one shot by a witness is indistinct, but Thomas can be heard calling out for his father.
Mr. RON THOMAS (Kelly Thomas' Father): He's screaming, begging for his life, telling the officers, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry. God, help me, please.' And then, of course, the end of it, last thing in his life were, 'Dad, Dad.'
LEWIS: Kelly Thomas ' father, Ron , a former Los Angeles county sheriff 's deputy, has been an active participant in all the protests over his son's death. This security camera mounted near the bus station could provide the best view of what happened between Kelly Thomas and police. It has a clear perspective of the area where the incident took place. But because the incident is under investigation, neither the district attorney nor the FBI will release the video. The mayor is urging everyone in Fullerton to calm down.
Mayor RICHARD JONES (Fullerton Mayor): It's almost gotten to a lynch type of mob, and you can't do that.
LEWIS: The six officers have been placed on administrative leave. A lawyer hired by them says that Thomas was resisting, and says police were not using excessive force, as the sorrow continues and the anger builds here. George Lewis , NBC News, Fullerton , California.