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Vol. 81/No. 1      January 2, 2017


Cop gets jail time for killing of Andrew Thomas in Paradise, Calif.

OROVILLE, Calif. — “Robert Feaster is where he needs to be right now, behind bars,” Brandon Salez told the Militant outside judge James Reilley’s courtroom here Dec. 9. The Superior Court judge had just sentenced Feaster, the former Paradise cop convicted of involuntary manslaughter in October for shooting and killing Andrew Thomas in 2015, to 180 days in county jail, three years of probation and a $10,000 fine.

Reilley rejected arguments by Feaster’s lawyer that he shouldn’t serve any time in jail.

Salez, 29, a childhood friend of Thomas, credited the protests in Paradise last December and January — and protests against cop killings nationally — for Feaster being fired, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to jail.

Feaster shot Thomas as he climbed out unarmed from a friend’s vehicle, which had rolled over. The car hit the median in the road with Feaster chasing it, seeking a DUI arrest. Thomas died some three weeks later.

Paul Goyette, Feaster’s attorney, called the shooting “accidental,” and announced he intends to appeal. Goyette lamented the “current environment” created by protests against killings by cops. “If this had happened five years ago,” he said, “Feaster would never have been sent to jail.”

Victoria Rose Woodward, Thomas’ mother, was one of some three dozen supporters present, most wearing a commemorative T-shirt demanding, “Justice for Andrew Nicholas Thomas; May 17, 1989 - Dec. 19, 2015; Accountability for Police Officers.”

“We are changing the course of history, police officers must face consequences for their actions,” Woodward said. “This is a victory in my eyes.”

During the hearing, Edward Thomas, Andrew’s father, urged the judge to impose “the maximum penalty” for “a life taken in a cowardly act of violence.”

Fran Tzugaris, Thomas’ grandmother, told reporters the family had wished for a longer sentence. Five years is the maximum for felony involuntary manslaughter. “But police usually don’t go to jail,” she said.
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Socialist Workers Party candidate joins protest
Milwaukee cop charged in killing of Sylville Smith
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