Two cops were found not guilty Monday in the horrific beating death of a homeless man despite a city surveillance video showing they choked, tased, punched, kicked and smothered the man for nearly nine minutes, only pausing when he stopped pleading for help.
Former Fullerton police officers Manny Ramos and Jay Cicinelli are now free to return to a career of law enforcement if they so desire, comfortable in the fact that they can pretty much kill anybody and get away with it as long as they claim they were doing it for their own safety.
In this case, they claimed that 160-pound Kelly Thomas was just way too overpowering for them, even though they outweighed him by at least 60 pounds, forcing the first two officers to have to call for back-up, resulting in four additional cops joining the beating.
But the video shows he never threw one punch.
Former Officer Manuel Ramos and ex-Corporal Jay Cicinelli were accused of causing the death of 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.
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.
“Now you see my fists?” Fullerton police officer Manny Ramos asked Thomas while slipping on a pair of latex gloves.
“Yeah, what about them?” Thomas responded.
“They are getting ready to fuck you up,” said Ramos, a burly cop who appears to outweigh Thomas by 100 pounds.
“Well, start punching,” Thomas responds, never once displaying any physical aggression towards Ramos.
Moments later, as Thomas is standing while Ramos is ordering him to get on his “fucking knees,” Fullerton cop Joseph Wolfe, who is not charged in the case, walks up and starts beating his legs with a baton.
Then Ramos gets into the act and Thomas takes off running, moving out of the frame of the camera.
The camera, operated by a dispatcher at the station, then moves toward the beating, showing Ramos and Fullerton cop Jay Cicinelli on top of Thomas as Thomas repeatedly apologizes and telling them he is unable to breathe.
The cops keep telling him to put his hands behind his back and lay on his stomach, but they are both laying on top of him, making it impossible to even breathe, much less move.As the video continues, one of the cops can be seen kneeing him.
“Please, I can’t breathe,” Thomas pleads as the officers keep telling him to put his hands behind his “fucking back.”
The cops keep telling him to “relax” to which he responds, “I can’t, dude.”
More cops eventually arrive and a little more than four minutes into the video, they start tasing him.
And a little after five minutes into the video, as three cops are piled on top of him, beating him, tasing him, one cop looks up at another cop who just arrived on the scene and says, “help us.”
At one point he yells out, “Dad, they are killing me.”
Even after seven minutes into the video, when six cops are on top of him and all Thomas is doing is crying for his father, they keep telling him to “relax.”