Fullerton Cops Manuel Ramos & Jay Cicinelli Charged with Murder, Manslaughter in Death of Homeless Schizophrenic Kelly Thomas
Two Fullerton, California police officers have been charged with murder and manslaughter for the brutal death of a mentally ill homeless man in July.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli have been charged for the death of Kelly Thomas, who was 37 years old. Ramos has been charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter; Cicinelli stands charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced the charges today, telling the press that the department had reviewed 151 witness statements, video evidence of Thomas’ beating, medical reports and statements from police officers. The Los Angeles Times said that the district attorney’s office had been awaiting a coroner’s report on the cause of Thomas’ death before deciding on what legal action to take against the officers involved.
According to the Orange County Register, Fullerton police were responding to reports of a “homeless-looking man” who may have been attempting to burglarize cars near a bus depot in the southern California city on July 5. Officers spotted Thomas, who fit the description, and attempted to search him. Thomas resisted, and according to witnesses, multiple officers beat him with a baton and repeatedly Tasered him, even after he stopped resisting.
“They kept beating him and Tasering him. I could hear zapping, and he wasn’t even moving,” witness Mark Turgeon told ABC 7. ”He had one arm in front of him like this, he wasn’t resisting. And they kept telling him, ‘He’s resisting, quit resisting,’ and he wasn’t resisting.”
In a video of the incident recorded by a bystander, Thomas can be heard crying for his father while being viciously attacked. He was rushed to the hospital but died five days later after being taken off life support.
Thomas’ father, former Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Thomas, told reporters that after seeing how badly his son was beaten and interviewing witnesses, he concluded that Kelly “was brutally beaten to death.”
“When I first walked into the hospital, I looked at what his mother described as my son… I didn’t recognize him,” he said. “This is cold-blooded, aggravated murder.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Thomas family attorney released hospital records showing Kelly suffered brain injuries, a shattered nose and cheekbone, broken ribs and severe internal bleeding. The records confirmed that Thomas had been repeatedly Tasered, including in the chest by his heart.
Hospital records also show that Thomas tested negative for drugs and alcohol, and that the cause of death was due to brain trauma.
UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times reports that Officer Ramos is heard on a police audio recording telling Thomas “See my fists? They are getting ready to fuck you up.”
Tagged charges in kelly thomas death, cops charged in kelly thomas death, fullerton california, fullerton police, fullerton police charged with murder manslaughter, fullerton police department, fullerton police kelly thomas, jay cicinelli, jay cicinelli manslaughter, justice for kelly thomas, kelly thomas, kelly thomas beating, kelly thomas cause of death, kelly thomas murder, kelly thomas police brutality, kelly thomas taser, manuel ramos, manuel ramos fullerton police, manuel ramos jay cicinelli, manuel ramos jay cicinelli kelly thomas, manuel ramos murder, orange county district attorney, police brutality, ron thomas kelly thomas, tony rackauckas, tony rackauckas kelly thomas