A jury has acquitted two officers on trial for the beating and death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man with schizophrenia, as Scott Shackford notes below.
Reason TV has covered the case extensively for years, not only because of the brutal, horrific nature of Thomas's death, but also because of the integral role that new media and the democratizing effect of technology has played in the perception, coverage, and visibility of the incident.
A picture snapped on a cell phone and surveillance footage uploaded to Youtube both fueled and sustained public outrage in a case that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. To many, the picture, the video, and the audio provided incontrovertible evidence of police abuse. The images and sound, accessible to anyone who looked for it, were enough to lead to the first murder trial of a police officer in Orange County history.
In this case, those same images and sound were not enough to convince a jury to convict the officers of 2nd degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, or excessive force.
Regardless of your feelings about the outcome, Reason TV's original documentary, produced only months after the beating occurred, is a must-watch video for anyone interested in this case or in the role technology is playing in the ever-evolving relationship between the police and the citizenry: