Officer Manuel Ramos and fellow officer Jay Cicinelli have been charged in the brutal beating death of a homeless man in Fullerton, California announced Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas today.
Ramos, says the district attorney set in motion a chain of events that escalated into a physical altercation on July 5th that lead to the death of Kelly Thomas. Ramos is charged with one count of second-degree murder and one charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of the 37-year-old mentally challenged homeless man.
Cicinelli is charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of using excessive force. The four other Fullerton police officers that watched, Ramos using a stun gun repeatedly and the beating while Thomas cried out for his father, were not charged.
The incident started when the officers were investigating numerous vehicle break-ins and approached Thomas whom they knew to be schizophrenic and living on the street. According to the District Attorney: “Ramos had to know that he was creating a situation where Kelly Thomas feared for his life and was struggling to get away from an armed police officer who was going to ‘F him up’. Ramos had to know other officers would come to his aid and Kelly Thomas was going to get hurt – badly hurt.”
Thomas suffered broken bones and choked on his own blood causing him to put on life support, dying five days later.