I recently wrote of the need to focus on reform in the wake of the Kelly Thomas verdict. There, I argued that police spending should be diverted away from wasteful high-tech gear and towards practical stress training. Responding to the piece, a local policy maker messaged me with the following point:
Regardless of how one feels about whether police brutality occurred here or not, funding and mental energy should be spent on getting the homeless population permanently housed and providing them the supportive services they require. If Kelly Thomas [homeless at the time of his murder] had been in permanent supportive housing, he’d still be alive. Case closed.
A powerful argument that further reveals the wide-range of reform efforts that should be on the table as we reflect on the legacy of Kelly Thomas. Moving forward, Orange County must accomplish its stated goal of opening OC’s first year-around homeless shelter. Further, leaders should be critical of laws that “criminalize” and stigmatize the homeless population.