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Letter to the editor: National news hits home for local family

In light of all of the darkness lately, my heart has been angry, sad and heavy because my family lived through horrific tragedy 12 years ago.

When you remember and say the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others, please say the name Guy Cameron Thomas.

With everything going on, while he is always on the back of our minds, the recent killings have reminded us all of his death, being drug under a police car at least nine blocks.

Let me set the scene for you. Guy, always a character, had been out for the evening.

Had he been drinking (since that’s all Randy Yohe and others were concerned with)?” Yes, and that was not illegal since he was walking home.

He had purchased a couple of beers, they were in his pocket unopened. He passed Richard Fouts, who was getting ready to go on duty.

According to Fouts, Guy smarted off to him. We will never know, as my brother-in-law died that night due to Richard Fouts’ negligence.

It was a snowy night, ice covered and Fouts scraped a small section of an Ironton Police Department car front window.

What happened to Guy happened around 10:30 p.m. Had no one called us, who knows how long it would’ve taken the police to get the information to us.

As soon as I was called, because his brother Juan was out of town, I called the police department. Jim Carey spoke with me and, thankfully, our son was staying with me, with his family. JD and I met Jim Carey and walked through most of what happened.

As Guy was walking down Ninth Street on the sidewalk, we believe he had started into a seizure because the steps in the snow were very irregular. He must have fallen into the street and Fouts either hit him or rolled over him, hanging him up by his jacket under the car.

He knew something was wrong because he pulled over onto Washington Street.

Remember it had snowed — all of this was clear and we had the police chief walking with us. As he pulled away from the side of the street, he tried to “fishtail” off the bottom of his car.

Guy’s left shoe was found on the right side of the street, the right or the left. His hat was found on one side of the street and his wallet elsewhere between Seventh and Eighth streets, nearly shredded in two from the dragging.

Fouts proceeded to the alley between Third and Fourth streets on Washington, which at the time had a big dip in it.

We were told when he hit that dip, it crushed Guy’s chest. Fouts pulled into the IPD parking lot and had to walk over two trails of blood into the station.

What happened at that time I do not know, but Chief Carey did not seem happy about it. He was very forthcoming with us and we greatly appreciated it.
A couple of days later, a person working with the Ironton Fire Department visited us and let us know that when the car was lifted from Guy, he took a couple of breaths before he stopped altogether, he also informed us there was not an ambulance there, only the coroner.

The days and weeks that followed were unbelievably difficult and, instead of immediately firing Fouts, he was given the opportunity to resign, creating more hurt and anger. We were hopeful because it was taken to grand jury which failed to indict him because the charge was something other than what it should’ve been negligent homicide.

More anger and, believe me, we all felt it. Fouts was able to walk away and have no repercussions.

Now you can imagine why I feel these families’ pain,

So it had me searching this weekend to see what Richard Fouts was up to, because all I really wanted was to be sure he never forgot.

I found out he goes by “Rich” now and imagine my complete horror at finding out he is now the police chief of Port William, Ohio.

I have no clue if the citizens of that village or the mayor know what kind of policeman he is, but, when and if they do find out, I pray they all say “Guy Cameron Thomas.”

Fouts should no longer be part of law enforcement.

Loretta “Lori” Thomas
Ironton