FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Fullerton Police Beating

The new video, which comes from a bus depot camera, shows the confrontation, as Officers Manuel Ramos, Joseph Wolfe, and Jay Cicinelli knee and strike Kelly Thomas, who cries for help. Read the full story here.

May 10, 2012

Comments (30)

Displaying 1 - 30 of 30

BW @ 5/10/2012 5:33 PM

There's a little thing called respect. It's earned - not owed. The first officer in the video clearly doesn't understand that concept. This is one case where I don't mind armchair quarterbacking. I would never talk to a civilian like that. This video disgusts me.

Keoni May @ 5/10/2012 5:47 PM

The officer could have been more diplomatic, however, this guy did not cooperate with the arrest. There might have been a history here. He claimed he couldn't breathe, but, he could still talk. Nothing wrong with his airway. He had a half-a-dozen officers struggling to restrain him. He was most likely an EDP on drugs.

David Cook @ 5/10/2012 7:04 PM

It's obvious that these officers have never been trained in defensive Tacitics. One officer should have been able to get this guy cuffed and put into the patrol car by himself. If he was that strong, which it didn't look like to me, he should be the all time champion of cagefighting. The officers were laying on the guy, how was he suppose to get his hands behind his back. 20 years of making arrests and I never had that much trouble getting control over a suspect but I was a defensive tactics instructor and know how to deal with a combatant without having to crush someones skull or windpipe. A little patients goes a long way when dealing with suspects who don't cooperate. I only hope that there were other circumstances that I was unable to see on the video that would justify the actions of these two officers.

Tony @ 5/10/2012 7:36 PM

David Cook...if you think that one person can always take another person into custody without help, then you have NO idea what you are talking about. I have an officer that is 5'8 and less than 180 and he can keep from being handcuffed by anyone that we train in our tactics class. I question your experience if you really think that you can one on one with any person and get them into custody.

Louis Kranyak @ 5/10/2012 7:49 PM

Does their training include using a flashlight to strike him while they have him subdued!?

Dave @ 5/10/2012 8:07 PM

I totally agree with Tony, especially when they are high on drugs which this suspect obviously was....all he had to do was comply!

David Barringer @ 5/10/2012 8:20 PM

Very very sad. The man was not cooperating, BUT, officers still have to be mindful of the amount of force they exert. Especially after more then enough help has arrived. Was there a Sergeant present? No one appeared to take control of this scene. Very sad.

Keith @ 5/10/2012 8:56 PM

These five or so officer all need to be put in jail and or treated in the same fashion as the homeless man. REAL Tough Amateur wimp, cowards.

Mark Libich @ 5/10/2012 9:14 PM

I cannot believe that the first guy made it through pre-employment testing and the academy. He really seems like a badge heavy douche. I cannot believe it took 8 officers to get this guy cuffed. Two coppers with a tazer and proper training should have taken care of business much easier and quicker.

UrbanPig @ 5/10/2012 9:20 PM

Been in a thousand fights like that. Literally saw NOTHING that was likely outside of Dept. policy for a CA agency. I am shocked and saddened that they were even charged. Having worked in a very "urban" city for many years, I know how tough people on drugs can be, and I have the scars to prove it. Good luck, Officers.

Mark Libich @ 5/10/2012 9:26 PM

Urbanpig: If you really can look at this video and see nothing wrong, please, please get yourself checked out by your departments counselor. Your statement really has me worried that you are eventually going to hurt or kill somebody or yourself, needlessly.

Eric @ 5/10/2012 10:59 PM

"Been in a thousand fights like that. Literally saw NOTHING that was likely outside of Dept. policy for a CA agency. I am shocked and saddened that they were even charged. Having worked in a very "urban" city for many years, I know how tough people on drugs can be, and I have the scars to prove it. Good luck, Officers."

I agree 100%. This guy fought, struggled, resisted, and remained uncompliant and violent while officers attempted to arrest him. It blows me away these officers are in trouble. This guy could have avoided any and all injury by simply following instructions.

Joe @ 5/11/2012 7:08 AM

It's obvious the guy is under the influence...

Rev. Lowrey @ 5/11/2012 7:28 AM

Thank goodness for a (rare) few voices of reason here. Sad that there are attitudes like Urban Pig, who hasn't the courage to own his comments with his own name. For police to degenerate into gangs just makes them another gang and a blight on the community they are charged (and employed) to serve. I wish LE would work to recruit non-"urban pig" officer candidates who would respect their positions and the community they (are supposed to) serve. We need actual LEO's, not a band of thugs and bullies who have no respect for the Law or Humanity.

southern chief @ 5/11/2012 8:04 AM

Don't know subject or call history and neither do other commenters who express disgust towards officers. What is clear is subject did not respond to officers instructions to control situation and ensure safety of ALL. He refused to keep hands and body movements visible and progressed to complete disobediance and attempt to flee. Officers ran a use of force continuium as trained (verbal to physical levels, etc.). I don't know their agency's force continuium but it is clear they started verbally and responded to the subjects growing non-compliance. I can only theorize that the subjects thought process may have made him a threat to do anything that night (if not approached by the police) from sitting and drooling to attacking the first civilian that walks thinking they were a giant carrot or something. Point being he had to be dealt with for public safety to be ensured. Did officers act 100% appropriately? At worst the first officer cursed but police work also demands role playing. Some roles require dominance and others compassion. Police can't have tea and debate with a persons public threat potential. They have to dominate and control for their, the subject and public safety until the threat is mitigated at which time they can de-escalate. How many police AND innocent civilians are dead because a threat wasn't respected and treated as a soft target. The police have to worry first about our lives, not feelings. I did not see a beating and rate the story at a 1 for using the word in their headline. As the incident progressed, no officer including the first one is seen or heard using more than the minimum amount of force necessary to gain control and ensure safety. The subject's death resulted from his choices and I hope the community supports their police in having to make difficult no-notice life and death decisions.

FireCop @ 5/11/2012 8:26 AM

Very disheartening to watch. Police Dept's have to start doing more training on just this situation! These officers need to be trained in recognizing excited delirium. There is truly a difference between a subject that wont complu as opposed to a subject that does understand or cant comprehend how to comply. While a whole pile of officers are on top of a semi restrained person, someone has GOT to monitor his ability to BREATHE! I hate the arbitrary comment " if you can talk, you can breathe". There was a reason his brain was stuck on the repetitive comment, I can't breathe! He was starting to get hypoxic and it was his last ditch effort to survive. When the subjects communication turned to low, slurred words, a trained professional would have recognized that as a compromized airway. Also at approximately 13:15 and 14:28 you can hear officers mentioning "he's cyanotic now" and "he's pretty cyanotic". That's right he IS.........he's no longer a threat, how about some immediate rescusitation efforts from someone. Cyanosis is a late time of O2 deprivation to the blood cells. It is a human being, guys!! Come on!

Greg @ 5/11/2012 1:44 PM

I I agree that a suspect may be so high that it cam take multiple officers to subdue him, his injuries were pretty severe. For trained officers to cause the kind of injuries he had is in excusable. Is it worthy of murder charges? I don't think so. But at the very least Ramos should be fired for attempting to inflame the suspect with his threats at the beginning of the video. Thomas's injuries were broken ribs, a shattered nose, a smashed cheekbone, and severe internal bleeding. Thomas was beaten in the face with the Taser and kicked in the face. No excuse for that.

Jay B. @ 5/11/2012 3:23 PM

I could post an arm's length of credentials and experience, but if an officer says he has never needed another officer to control and arrest a person, I'm highly skeptical, both of his honesty and background. I've been made arrests that have taken four-plus officers and the fight was still on. The fight would have been over a lot sooner in this case if they had used excessive and unreasonable force. These guys were trying to subdue a resistant suspect using a variety of accepted techniques. If there is some secret ninja technique that works every time, let us know.

Dennis @ 5/11/2012 3:59 PM

The absolute worst piece of police work I have seen to date. Screw the local prosecution of these 3 guys who obviously don't know how to perform police work. They should be more worried about the federal civil rights violation if they are not convicted, which carries a far more stiffer sentence. And knowing the Justice Dept and the FBI, they will be watching closely....

shortcop @ 5/11/2012 4:42 PM

I got no problem with what happened. It could happen to any of us. However I just kinda wonder why the guy was left on the ground so long without someone checking him. I have worked two different agencies county and city and have seen lots of people on drugs. It's usual for most agencies to get people checked out by fire/paramedics after they fight with officers. Don't mean to Monday morning quarter back. But it just seems like they could have saved themselves from this whole mess by getting him up and quickly checked by fire/paramedics. Oh well have to go through courts know. The officers will be in my prayers.

Charlie Rockwell @ 5/11/2012 6:56 PM

I have 29 years of law enforcement experience. I have participated in and have made many arrests. I have also been assaulted and even fought for my life once after being stabbed by a mentally ill subject. I was fortunate that I didn't have to shoot him.......but how immeasurably close it was. The point is, it doesn't matter what transpired prior or how the contact officer was. This person was displaying textbook behavior of a person high on PCP. I personally tried to arrest someone high on PCP and I will tell you it took six officers including myself to get the person cuffed. Also, there is a condition called excited delerium.......has anyone who has commented here ever heard of it? This subject was displaying behavior similar to this condition. It is unfortunate the young man lost his life but lets wait to see what the results of the post is. I cannot believe the "officers" posting here NOT supporting your are the problem with the job today and it is unfortunate you have tainted true police ranks. This is reality folks, if you don't like it, turn off your camcorders and go back inside to watch Dancing with the stars or American Idol.......leave the harsh reality to the men and women out here protecting you from out of control criminals and other undesirables. To the officers involved here, I hope your union gets proper legal defense for you and the experts who know what they are talking about. Return me to service.......

AlexB @ 5/12/2012 8:40 AM

I don't know the Fulllerton use of force policy, but I have fought people on PCP and the mentally ill, and I know that it can take a large group of people to subdue this type of person. If this guy had to be fought alone it may have resulted in shooting him. Everyone should remember that the police are not supposed to be put in a position of having to fight one on one. There is no acceptable loss for police officers. If it takes 8 cops to arrest a guy, it takes 8 cops. That's reality on the street. As for the way the police officer spoke to the suspect, when your adrenaline is pumping and you are preparing for a possible fight, sometimes you have to use heavy words to take control of a situation. Always remember that words are part of your toolbox. And cursing and intimidating language is sometimes what is needed when you are in a position where a person does not want to listen to requests or commands. for those of you who have taken verbal judo, you understand the concept that words can be very powerful. On the street I would speak to some people in a very harsh way, but it was calculated and part of an overall strategy to gain compliance. And yes hitting someone with a flashlight is part of the training in terms of using the weapons that are available to you at any given time. It is not a primary weapon, but when you are in a fight, it is acceptable to use weapons of opportunity if you need them. If any of the people on here are actual cops that are monday morning quarterbacking this video, you should be ashamed of yourself. I am not saying I know if there was any wrong doing in this video, but that's because I dont know the whole story. I dont know what the first officers were thinking/fearing. I dont know what Fullerton policies are. Therefore, I would not feel comfortable making some sweeping judgment on this.

lawgiver @ 5/13/2012 9:06 AM

The tittle to the video is missleading, These Officers did thier best to restrian this subject, now one must get all the facts before jumping the gun as always.

Dan @ 5/14/2012 3:32 AM

The prosecutor is wasting the tax payers money...the officers will never be found guilty of the actions they were forced to perform. The guy said he can't breath...well, if your talking your breathing. Then he said, "God help me"...God has nothing to do with yourself and put your hands behind your back. What a JOKE by the prosecutor who reviewed this case behind a climate controlled environment over a cup of coffee.

Jim @ 5/14/2012 11:38 AM

Its pretty obvious that the conversation has been going on for longer than the video shows. I would have done the same thing. Suspect fails to follow simple order of keeping their hands visible, so you put them in cuffs. I have a lot of training and experience dealing with people that have mental illnesses and issues with substance abuse, and Ill tell you what, they are the scariest people to deal with. They have almost super human amounts of strength and stamina. The officers did a good job at verbalizing, and its pretty clear the suspect was not cooperating.
Best of luck!

Tom @ 5/16/2012 3:57 PM

David Cook- I guess being a DT instructor keeps you off the streets or you most have not been a proactive Officer. We someone is on drug and this guy clearly is then the fight is on. Every heard the term crackhead strength or ever seen someone tripping on acid. These people do not feel pain FYI. 20 years on the job and I would figure you would know that. And giving suspects all the patients with get you KILLED. What kind of training do you go to. There is a war on cops and the most cops ever killed in the line of duty by violence was last year and your talking about being patient with an uncooperative suspect? Well the conclusion to my rant security guard Cook is that what ever department you work for should put a grand larceny case on for the last 20years and hold you pension.

alexb @ 5/24/2012 11:51 AM

Poliolio and Von, your comments are disturbing and offensive. This is not a zoo. No one on here is advocating killing anyone. This is a serious conversation, and people on here are considering fairly complicated concepts, laws, and policies. Please only participate on this forum if you actually have a constructive argument or something to share. But to advocate killing cops or to use profanity on this forum is simply offensive.

Rob @ 8/2/2012 3:58 PM

No where in the report does it indicate that this young man was on PCP! Yes he was mentally challenged,did he pose a threat while sitting down? No. So why the beating? Why not try talking to him like a human being instead "assuming" and beating him to death. Thank God these two cops were charged with manslaughter. They make all officers look bad.

Renee @ 6/11/2013 5:13 AM

What makes me saddest about this video and the following comments is...this guy was NOT on something, he was mentally ill. These officers were beating this guy with billy clubs, flashlights, knees, fists and anything they could get there hands on. They kept telling him to put his hands behind his back, and he told them more than once he could not. That was in part due to the way they had him subdued. He apologized, prayed to God, cried out for help and everything. Then they stood around trying to decide what they were gonna do, all the while he lay dying. They should be ashamed for always assuming someone is high without ever considering their mental health. This WAS too much force, and someone should have to answer for it. He was sitting on the ground when first approached, and attacked by the original officer. He was provoked, then beaten to death...SMH

JaTu @ 6/11/2013 7:12 AM

There are three types of people in the world, the sheep, the sheep dog and the wolf. The Police are the sheep dogs, protecting the sheep. The sheep are the people who live in a "Leave it to Beaver" society, they have the blinders on and they think the world is safe. they belive there is no need for violence. The clueless sheep are the ones on here claiming they can take down a mentally ill or drugged suspect with one officer, they are also the ones who see this as a terrible police brutality and that patience could have solved this situation. The wolves...I dont need to explain what the wolves do, just know there are many, many wolves.

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Videos

Police Magazine