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Judge Sends Kelly Thomas Murder Case to Trial, While Fullerton Officers Ramos and Cicinelli Remain Free and want to blame the Death on Treating Medics. »

On Wednesday, Judge Walter Schwarm ruled that two Fullerton, California police officers — Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli — will have to stand trial in the death of a schizophrenic, homeless man, Kelly Thomas, after they mercilessly beat him for over nine minutes last year. The ruling followed an emotional three-day hearing where prosecutors showed a video of the beating, and images of Thomas following the incident.
Judge Schwarm ruled there was enough evidence to believe “Mr. Ramos and Mr. Cicinelli are responsible for those felonies as charged.”
The two officers are permitted to remain free on bail but are ordered to report back for a hearing on May 22.
“I’m overwhelmed. In this war we’ve been fighting this is a new battle,” said Thomas’ father, Ron Thomas, a former Orange County Sheriff. “But we got a victory today.”

Last July, six Fullerton officers approached Kelly Thomas at the bus depot in downtown Fullerton while responding to a report of someone trying to break into cars. Witnesses say Thomas ran when the officers attempted to search his bag. Witnesses also say the officers then surrounded and savagely beat unarmed Kelly Thomas, 37. By the time the cops were through, Thomas’ face had been beaten so badly it appeared as if it has been through a meat grinder. Video footage of the incident reveals the cops beating Thomas with a baton and Taser, and kicking his head and face with their boots.

Thomas died five days later, after being removed from life support. Hospital records showed that the immediate cause of death was “brain death” due to “head trauma.” Records also showed that Thomas suffered from broken ribs, a shattered nose, a smashed cheekbone, and severe internal bleeding. They also showed that Thomas was shocked with a stun gun several times, including around his heart.
Following the horrific incident, members of the community, including Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson and Fullerton City Councilman Bruce Whitaker, held a vigil for Thomas, and called for a thorough investigation of the event.
Protesters continue to hold weekly protests outside of the police station, and are leading a recall campaign against three City Council members.
One year later, after careful review of over 150 witness statements, videos of the beating, medical reports, and police statements, Police Officer Manuel Ramos is being charged with second degree murder, and Corporal Jay Cicinelli is being charged with involuntary manslaughter in the brutal death of Kelly Thomas. Both officers have pleaded not guilty.
While the entire incident was captured on video, the officers’ defense attorney is challenging a trauma surgeon to review the brutal video and pinpoint the moment when a police officer may have delivered a fatal blow. The defense attorneys hope to make the case that it was in fact the medics who treated Thomas that caused his death.
The video of the incident was shown in the courtroom during the preliminary hearing.MORE
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