Police Brutality Strikes Again… So does the bystander effect.
I was listening to WRFG 89.3 around 5 pm when I heard a father, Ron Thomas, speak about his son, Kelly Thomas who was a known homeless man in the community. The interview was brief but powerful. Ron Thomas, a retired Deputy Sheriff, told the story about his son who was beaten into a coma then died shortly after. There was a total of 6 Fullerton police officers who beat and tazed Kelly while he cried out for help. Officers stated that Kelly resisted but bystanders disagreed. A few locals described Kelly as a kind man. The City offered Ron Thomas $900,000 to settle any claims but he rejected the offer. Kelly’s last words were “Dad, Dad, Dad.” Hearing this story was tough. The injustice system is so corrupt. It’s not like I’ve never had this feeling before. But when will it stop.
After listening to the radio interview I looked up an article and a few YouTube videos. Then I had flashbacks of conversations held with friends regarding the bystander effect/Genovese Syndrome. The videos showed a group people who stood around, shared their opinions and filmed as Kelly was beat excessively by the 6 officers. To my recollection, the bystander effect/syndrome usually occurs when people watch others being hurt by someone and are more times than not helpless. People may stand around and watch a horrific event almost in a daze. Somehow the expect another person to do something. It’s a interesting topic to read up on especially when you get into the difference between individuals and groups. When one is alone and the risk is low people are more likely to offer assistance to those in need. Groups of people tend to stand back and wait for someone or something to help. I’d like to charge all of our blog readers to think about this situation the next time you see someone being hurt. I wouldn’t ask you to put yourself in danger. I’m only asking that we become more conscious. Collectively. Re post it on your social networks to remind other people that is it okay to help someone out or speak up about injustice. If I was being mistreated by police or some stranger I certainly hope someone would help me.
*Check out this article about Kelly Thomas.