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Fullerton Cop's Attorney Says 'No Crime' In Beating

September 27, 2011  | 

The defense attorney for the Fullerton (Calif.) Police officer facing felony charges in the beating of a schizophrenic homeless man says Officer Manuel Ramos committed no crime and was only performing his lawful police duties.

Officer Ramos, 37, has been charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Kelly Thomas, 37. The attempt by Officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, along with four others, to take Thomas into custody led to Thomas' death.

Officer Cicinelli faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force under color of authority. Prosecutors declined to file charges against four other officers.

Defense attorney John Barnett told reporters that Thomas was a violence-prone, dangerous ex-felon who refused to comply with lawful orders from Officer Manuel Ramos outside a transit center on July 5.

Source: Orange County Register.

Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Tom Ret @ 9/27/2011 7:31 PM

This is the first I have heard that Thomas was a violence-prone ex-felon.
Up to this point he was painted as a harmless street person. I feel for the dad for his loss but after hearing some of his comments, it appears to me he is after vengeance more than justice. The dad now is complaining of harassment because police are staring at him. That doesn't sound like harassment but may be an indication that the dad is stressed out to the max over the loss of his son. Ramos should not have used the words he did when contacting Thomas which the DA says is what set the situation in motion. However, it is not uncommon for police to threaten to use force when a suspect is not complying. The DA is apparently disregarding the fact that Thomas did not comply with Ramos' orders and that Ramos had reason to believe Thomas had been involved in a crime or crimes. As I understand the chronology of events, Thomas countered the threat by Ramos with something like bring it on, got to his feet and then ran off. Ramos runs after Thomas and strikes him with his baton in the leg. If Ramos was intent on killing Thomas why would he aim for the leg? The fight goes to the ground where it takes several officers to get Thomas under control. No mention is made of what Thomas is doing while on the ground. Is he kicking, biting, etc. or does he go limp. It is reasonable to believe that Thomas continued to struggle as it took several officers to finally get him under control. The real question in Thomas' death may come down to how much responsibility does he have in his own death by the actions he took. The fact that he was a schizophrenic gives weight to the officers having to use more force than what would normally be required to get someone under control. I also see no mention of how big Thomas was.

I don't see the necessity of the high bail for Ramos other than the DA trying to placate the father and public outrage.
I don't know any of the participants involved.

michael @ 9/29/2011 10:04 PM

This case is definitely being handled completely wrong. It appears to me that "they" want to hang a cop. The circumstances of this case is sad, but it is how things go down on the street. Police Officers today are wearing so many hats and trying to do a good job. Who would want to do a job like this today. Money and benefits..........still not worth it, it takes something from within the person who wants to give back by doing a community service type job and helping people.
So, you folks with doubt, really think these cops meant for this man to die, I really don't think so.
Yes, they may have may some stupid comments but they followed the dept. G.O.'s and the escalation of force policy. When someone continues to resist the officers to this degree what are we suppose do. Let them go because they really don't want to go to jail.........the DA is making this into
a much more complexed case then it really needs to be.
These officers all have families and lives of their own, does you job put all that you have on the line.......... because being a does.

Scott @ 9/30/2011 5:26 AM

As sad as it is that this man died while being taken into custody it still does not negate the fact there is a high probability these officers did not attend to kill him and were unaware this man was mentally ill. Also to point out, it is also probable these officers did not sit and conspire to beat this man to death. Our main issues involving this case are a press who are mostly anti-police and public perception. The sad truth is, most people believe everything they read in the news paper and second, because most people are stupid enough to believe everything they read in the papers, the chances this case being tried fairly or dismissed is very low. The vast majority of Officers enter this profession, do so as servants to the public and know that at times, our job is a violent one. Don't forget, we have several levels of politicians making decisions concerning this case and we know poliricians do not make decisions on on facts but on emotional reactions steered by public opinion. This makes it another case in a long list of officers who have been destroyed all due to pollitical correctness. Face it folks, the side of law and order and respect for our Police and Fire officials is now considered the "counter culture". It is no longer honorable to tell someone they should resepect others. We can't even say a prayer in schools without fear of offending someone. When rap stars who degrade our women in their "music" or sports figures who commit crimes are hailed as heros, Say goodbye to the United States as we knew it. It would appear to me this case hinges on a District Attorney who is not only a coward but also up for re-election. Either way, the careers of these officers are over.

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