A question of Hispanic abuse or police abuse?

I’d like to rewrite a small tidbit of history and try this alternate reality on for size. See how it fits.


In Fullerton, California, Manuel Ramos, a homeless man from a middle class family and who had a history of mental illness, was detained near a used car lot after police received reports of a man matching his description vandalizing cars in the area. When confronted by responding officers, Ramos became combative and resisted arrest. Back-up units were requested. Six police officers attempted to subdue the uncooperative suspect. Amid a barrage of Taser guns, Ramos continued to resist. Officers pounded Ramos with the butts of their flashlights and threw him to the ground violently. Witnesses report that Ramos could be heard yelling “papa, papa!” for his father in Spanish. Ramos was taken to a local hospital with severe injuries to his head, neck and face. He was removed from life support and died 10 days after the incident. The officers were placed on paid leave while an investigation was launched into their actions. The arresting officer, Kelly Thomas, was the first officer at the scene and allegedly told Ramos, “See my fists? They are getting ready to fuck you up.”

Investigators concluded that Thomas’ actions were within acceptable Fullerton police department procedures and allowed him to resume duty. Ramos was buried a few days later.

This story is fictitious in that the names of the characters have been switched. This story is a mirror image of the real incident. The events are true, but Kelly Thomas was the homeless man living in Fullerton, California, a White Republican oasis, and Manny Ramos was the Fullerton police officer who is the first to ever be charged with murder while on duty. Quite a feat for a police officer in Orange County!

When I first heard of Kelly Thomas’ tragic death at the hands of the Fullerton police, I found it intriguing that the mentally ill son of a former Orange County policeman was the fatal victim of what appeared to be flagrant police abuse. Now, I thought, the harsh hands of overzealous policing methods are openly visited upon a specific demographic that never knows police abuse and probably lauds it secretly whenever the police beat down the Rodney Kings of the world. Yes, now let’s see what those Republican law and order NRA types say. Well, the other day, I was a bit dismayed to learn that the police officer facing the steepest penalty for Kelly Thomas’ murder is Hispanic. His name is Manny Ramos, the Hispanic police officer who killed a connected White civilian in the conservative bastion of Orange County, California. It all falls into place now.

Manny Ramos, courtesy OC DA

Let me tell you why I’m “dismayed.”

What I thought might be a wake-up call for the Republican defend-police-actions-at-all-costs segment of society instead has become nothing but an opportunity to blame the Hispanic for killing an innocent White man. This will do nothing at all to wake up White Orange County Republicans to the impending paramilitary antics of police departments across the nation as stability and trust in government and oligarchical institutions slowly ebbs. There is an extra sublayer of significance at play here. Though this incident may continue to unravel into a less than ideal examination of police brutality, I suspect it will carry greater significance as an untold tale of Anglo vengeance against the Hispanic cop.

I want to stress: I am not one of those shrill morons who cries racism everytime someone looks at me wrong. I’ve experienced racism enough times and in fact, most racists don’t bug me. I think people, despite having strong beliefs about groups, are able to treat individuals with a sufficiently nuanced perspective so as to treat the objects of their prejudice relatively fairly. People who cry “racism” continuously are pussies. Get over it and be better. However, I firmly believe that because a Hispanic officer is being held accountable for Kelly Thomas’ death, the dynamics of this story are changed dramatically in this otherwise blatant display of egregious police force. It’s a dog whistle event. This is about a Hispanic officer who abused his police powers and now the Republicans of the OC will find it in themselves to swallow their archetypal law and order conservatism to convict a cop of murder. Ramos hasn’t been convicted yet, but mark my word. If he was “Kelly Thomas” and not “Manny Ramos,” he would not be in this predicament.

I had hoped this incident might rouse an important group of sociocultural sycophants. Anglo Orange County conservatives are the most apt to defend the status quo and side with society’s managerial elite, right or wrong. But instead of experiencing the menace of police brutality, they will now experience the menace of Hispanic brutality and the real significance of this event is diluted by…racism.