Orange County prosecutors today filed felony charges against two of the six Fullerton (Calif.) Police officers involved in the fatal beating of a homeless man in July, the district attorney's officer announced.
Fullerton PD's Cpl. Jay Cicinelli and Officer Manuel Ramos were charged in the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas, 37, outside a bus depot. Thomas was a homeless man who suffered from schizophrenia. All six officers were suspended in early August.
Officer Ramos was the first officer to confront Thomas, reportedly telling him, "My fists ... are getting ready to F you up," according to a release from the D.A. He has been charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Bail was set at $1 million.
Officer Cicinelli arrived at the scene at 8:54 p.m., while officers struggled with Thomas. He apparently shocked Thomas four times with a TASER, including three in "drive stun" mode for five seconds each and the fourth with darts deploying. He faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force under the color of authority. He was released on $25,000 bail.
Cicinelli, 39, is a 12-year veteran of the agency and a former LAPD officer. Office Ramos, 37, is a 10-year veteran.
The four other officers involved in the incident have not been charged. Officer Joseph Wolfe struck Thomas with his baton and initially tackled him with Officer Ramos. He kneed and punched Thomas.
When Officer Kenton Hampton arrived, Thomas was on the ground with officers Ramos, Cicinelli and Wolfe. He placed a handcuff around Thomas' left wrist and assisted in applying the hobble, or ankle restraint, to Thomas' ankles and held Thomas' legs down using his hands, according to the district attorney.
Sgt. Kevin Craig arrived after Officer Hampton. He approached and put one knee on Thomas' shoulder/back area to minimize Thomas' movement. Cpl. James Blatney arrived last and assisted Officer Hampton in applying the hobble to Thomas' ankles and then also held the defendant's legs down with his hands.
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