In a quickly reached verdict, jurors found two former Fullerton police officers accused in the 2011 beating death of a 37-year-old homeless man not guilty on all charges on Monday.
Former Officer Manuel Ramos and ex-Corporal Jay Cicinelli were accused of causing the death of Kelly Thomas in a violent struggle in the Orange County college town, prompting angry protests and closely watched criminal proceedings.
A coroner’s report stated Thomas died of asphyxia due to chest compression and injuries to his head and chest during the struggle on July 5, 2011, at the Fullerton Transportation Center.
“I’m just horrified. They got away with murdering my son,” said Thomas’ mother Cathy Thomas, after the verdict was read. “It’s just not fair. I guess … it’s legal to go out and kill now.”
The prosecution had argued that officers’ beating of Thomas was unwarranted and that Thomas was not a threat to police.
Defense attorneys responded that Thomas struggled back against officers – who called for backup after striking him repeatedly – and that he succumbed to heart problems due in part to drug use.
Opening statements began in the Santa Ana courtroom on Dec. 2, 2013, and the jury was handed the case on Thursday, Jan. 9. No deliberations took place Friday, meaning the jury had not met for a full day before reaching a conclusion.
The verdict was read back just before 4 p.m. Monday, with Cicinelli and Ramos not guilty on all counts. Each man embraced his respective lawyer after learning his fate.
Ramos faced the more serious charge of second-degree murder, along with involuntary manslaughter. Cicinelli was charged with involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force.
File photo of Kelly Thomas.
Ramos could have faced up to 15 years in prison; Cicinelli faced four years.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas made the unusual choice to argue the case himself instead of assigning a deputy prosecutor the task. It was his first jury trial since 1999.
At the center of the trial was a 30-minute black-and-white surveillance video – and audio from officers’ recording devices – that showed a routine patrol stop escalate into a brutally violent confrontation.
An employee of a nearby bar had called police, saying a man was in the parking lot trying to break into cars.
Ramos responded and was the first to make contact with Thomas. His attorney, John Barnett, argued that Ramos had tried to use verbal threats against Thomas to avoid a physical confrontation and had used his police training correctly.
Surveillance video captured the violent confrontation between police and Kelly Thomas on July 5, 2011.
“See my fists? They’re getting ready to [expletive] you up,” Ramos can be heard saying to Thomas in the recording. Ramos made a show of putting on rubber gloves.
Cicinelli arrived when Ramos and another officer were already struggling with Thomas after swinging their batons at him. Cicinelli joined in the fray, pulling out his Taser to stun Thomas, and then bashing him in the face with the butt of the stun gun.
During the fight, Thomas cried out repeatedly for his father, saying he could not breathe.
“Dad, they are killing me,” were among his last words, the recording shows.
The struggle left a pool of blood on the ground after paramedics responded, taking Thomas to a hospital.
After the verdict was read Monday, Thomas’ father, a former sheriff’s deputy, spoke to news media and reacted angrily.
“What was he doing but begging for his life that he deserved to get beat in the face with a deadly weapon?” Ron Thomas said. “They never said, ‘Kelly, have you had enough?’ He would have certainly said ‘yes’ because he was begging for his life.”
Thomas was removed from life support and died five days after the encounter. Seen with a bloodied and battered face in photos from the hospital, Thomas had never regained consciousness.
A chronically homeless man who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, Thomas was seen regularly in the area where he was beaten. He had had multiple previous encounters with Ramos that were detailed by attorneys.
Defense attorneys had described Thomas’ violent encounters with family members and drug use that began when he was a teenager.
There was no evidence of drugs or alcohol in Thomas’ body at the time of his death, a coroner’s report stated.
A third officer, Joseph Wolfe, was indicted in September 2012 on one count each of involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force. He faced a separate trial, but Rackauckas said the charges against Wolfe will be dropped in light on Monday’s verdict.
“I have no reason to believe it was not a fair jury and… frankly, it does not make sense to me to continue to pursue the additional officer who’s out there whose conduct was not as reprehensible as Manuel Ramos’ conduct,” Rackauckas said at a news conference following the verdicts..
In a written statement that noted “significant steps” taken in the Fullerton Police Department since Thomas’ death, Chief Dan Hughes said, ”We respect the jury’s verdict.”
“We understand that there may be a wide variety of reactions to the verdict and encourage anybody who wishes to express their feelings to do so respectfully,” said Hughes, a veteran of the department who took over leadership in 2013.
Read more: http://ktla.com/2014/01/13/verdict-reached-in-trial-of-ex-officers-in-kelly-thomas-death/#ixzz2qMz2NAOk
You judge, did these cops murder Kelly Thomas and get away with it?
22 thoughts on “Ex-Officers Found Not Guilty in Kelly Thomas’ Beating Death”
we know that vigalante justice is in order here.Time to get that judge and those ccops involved in this… see why I absolutely hate cops!!!!!!!!! A PIG IS A PIG AND THATS THAT!!! time to start butchuring a pig
I don’t get it. How do they find brain dead jurists. It makes me weep for this once great country. I wish I could leave.
It is the people to blame for this when the so called people put up with this sh*t. Doesn`t any body know where these cops, DA , and that judge live – get my point/message?!?!?! P.S. @ Farmer Dave I didn`t mean to press your reply button by the way. I am not directing my comment towards you Dave, Just sayin Dave . I guess those cops piss me off and I pressed your reply button, I am sorry Dave, 😐
They don’t have to find them they are everywhere just look back at the jury that gave 3 million to the lady at McDonalds that spilled coffee on her thigh. The car was not moving, she the passenger put the cup between her legs to remove the cap to add cream and sugar. She had no responsibility in that claim? One doesn’t know coffee is hot and you have to be careful. They live!
What about the jury in New York that gave a burgler that came down through a skylight to rob a store and broke his leg. He sued the store owner and won. How clear is that.
No worry there are millions of them.
FarmerDave- they arent brain-dead, they are propagandized almost constantly that all who were a badge are always the “good-guys”. we
know better. these 2 should have been convicted of murder-1. there will come a day soon when even those lame jurists eyes will be opened to the jack-booted tyranny we are all to be faced with. unfortunate , that they could have taken 2 of the jack-boots off the streets before then.
Am I living through a twilight era? I was more than sure these horrible human beings who will now go back to terrorizing people with the knowledge they can literally take their time, on film and beat someone to death and get away with it… How have they just got away with murder? Who was the prosecution? I really do not get the jurys decision! The anger and sadness at this verdict has left me shell shocked. I cannot imagine how Kelly Thomas’s father is feeling right now. God bless us all…
I am completely aghast. How can any human being watch that video and return a not guilty verdict? Sick wackos sitting on that jury no doubt it. They must have selected members of the pig’s family is all I can think.
I watched vids from 4 different blogs. How a jury can say not guilty is beyond understanding. Kelly was compliant with the cops. From the vids I determined he was killed over some mail he had in his back pack with a lawyers name on it not for resisting. He wasn’t resisting, he was fighting for his life, which he lost in the end. From the accounts, Kelly was apparently disabled and could not assume the positions demanded of him. The only way six of these jack booted thugs could make him comply was beat him senseless and kill him. They kept saying he was on something, did anyone do a UA or blood test after the fact? Even if he was, there were other ways to deal with someone without threatening to “Fuc* him up” All those cops involved should have been brought up on charges for being accessory to manslaughter. Would the verdict have been different if a family member of the jury would have been the victim?
The accompanying photo on msnbc’s front page is priceless. Notice the synagogue of satan present to console it’s minions for yet another “victory”. Touching.
And where’s Atouk on here commenting like he did yesterday saying, “Most cops are nice guys just like you or I with kids and a family”. Still think cops are like us and will join us when the SHTF? Idiot.
No doubt NC, believe me, I am waiting for atouk. He must have finished up on his agenda here – heck he even said in more or less words that he was here onsight with a special mission. Yea, he was hear to start trouble.. I just went back over that thread with atouk and this is what he said @ 6:31 yesterday ” I own my own business and talk to a lot of cops who are pretty open about their discust at the way things are going.” He was talking about the 2nd amendment I guess…. Anyway NC, yea he talks to the cops as he admitted on that reply yesterday at 6:31. There was something that just didn`t seem right about atouk
““We understand that there may be a wide variety of reactions to the verdict and encourage anybody who wishes to express their feelings to do so respectfully,” said Hughes, a veteran of the department who took over leadership in 2013.”
Do so respectfully? Perhaps we should show him the same respect he gave that homeless guy. How ’bout it, everyone?
Do I think cops are like us and will join us when the SHTF? Do we dress like jack booted thugs? Are we paranoid of people who are weaker then us? Hell no they won’t be there. I used to think there are good cops and there are bad cops, not anymore. If there are good cops they better step up and do something or the freedom fighters will show them respect with hot lead.
I lived in Ca near Fullerton and 30 years ago Fullerton Cops were pricks then seems they went from bad to worse and the bully mentality has spread across the US like an infectious disease pushed on by DHS, TSA DOJ and psychotic DC.
Hey NC, last night the cops were called to a house and I guess that the people at the house opened fire on the cops. Yes, that was on the local news this morning on WQOW channel 18, Eau Claire Wi. yes, NC people have had it with the cops and atleast around here they are starting to shoot back at them. It has been a long time a comein` and we all have got to be ready as most here are – atleast I hope anyway. 😎
Hey Digger, you live in Eau Claire? My mother’s side of the family is there, Fall Creek.
How about that 🙂 , Eau Claire is going to hell in a hand basket too,it used to be a real nice town up untill the late seventies early eighties.. I did grow up there though. No I do not live in Eau Claire any more but not far from it though. 🙂
With every policy enforcer contact, even just a traffic stop over some arbitrary rule, you have a high probability of getting killed.
I will afford the pigs the same courtesy they would grant me. Shoot first, ask questions later.
Has every one seen the video of the cops beating Mr. Thomas to death? Excuse me while I go puke…
The toxicology report shows that Thomas had no illicit drugs or alcohol in his system.
This reminds me of the 16 year old kid that was tazed 19 times that had a broken back. I guess he was yelling “kill the cops” too. Yeah right..
“……….They got away with murdering my son,” said Thomas’ mother Cathy Thomas, after the verdict was read. “It’s just not fair. I guess … it’s legal to go out and kill now.”
No need to guess. As far as they’re concerned, it is.
“In a written statement that noted “significant steps” taken in the Fullerton Police Department since Thomas’ death, Chief Dan Hughes said, ”We respect the jury’s verdict.”
The most significant step being to make damn sure no cameras are around videotaping their murders from now on.