Fullerton Officers In Thomas Beating Head Back To Court - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Fullerton Officers In Thomas Beating Head Back To Court

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Santa Ana, CA -

A pretrial hearing and a hearing on a motion to dismiss charges was scheduled for former Fullerton police Officers Manuel Ramos and Joe Wolfe and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, who are all charged in connection with the beating death of schizophrenic transient Kelly Thomas.

Lauren Sivan is in Santa Ana with the details.

Three police officers from the Fullerton Police Department (FPD) are charged for their criminal participation in the beating-death of a homeless man, 37-year-old Kelly Thomas. On July 5, 2011, at 8:23 p.m., FPD Dispatch received a call reporting a "homeless" man looking in car windows and pulling on handles of parked cars in the FTC parking lot. Ramos contacted FPD Dispatch to report that he was in the area and would take the lead for the call. Thomas was detained by the officers but not placed under arrest. Ramos spoke with Thomas, instructed him to sit on the curb, and requested to search a backpack in Thomas' possession.

It was determined some of the contents, specifically, items of mail, belonged to someone other than Thomas. After several minutes of increasingly-aggressive instructions, Ramos and Wolfe are accused of escalating the contact to a physical altercation. It was 16 minutes from the initial time of contact to the beginning of the physical altercation and engagement in unlawful police conduct. The physical altercation lasted nine minutes and 40 seconds until the victim was in handcuffs and no longer moving. Thomas was severely bleeding, but the officers did not reduce their level of force. Throughout the struggle, Thomas' actions were defensive in nature and motivated by pain and fear. Thomas was transported to the hospital never regained consciousness.

FPD investigated the case on the night of the incident. He died at the hospital on July 10, 2011. The OCSD coroner's death certificate lists the manner of death as homicide and the cause of death to be blunt cranial-facial injuries sustained during physical altercation with law enforcement." The toxicology report shows that Thomas had no illicit drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the incident. The overall force applied against Thomas was excessive in its totality based on the fact that Thomas was unarmed and posed a low-level threat, the number of injuries sustained by the victim, location of injuries to the victim's face and head, number of officers involved, and overall number of punches, knees, Tasers, and Taser hits to Thomas.

Due to a lack of evidence, as described below, criminal charges were not filed against the remaining three officers involved in the incident including Officer Kenton Hampton, Sergeant Kevin Craig, and Corporal James Blatney.

(Courtesy: Orange County District Attorney's office)

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