Breaking News!!: Santa Ana, CA: The 2 former Fullerton Police Department Officers found not guilty in Kelly Thomas death.
The 2 former Fullerton Police Department Officers accused in the death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless mentally ill man, have been found not guilty on all charges on Monday.
The jury’s verdict was read just before 4:00pm PT Monday.
37 year old Kelly Thomas died 5 days after a violent confrontation with six officers in July 2011 which the incident was caught on surveillance video.
Former Fullerton Police Department Officer Manuel Ramos was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and Former Fullerton Police Department Corporal Jay Cicinelli was charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force.
Both men from the Fullerton Police Department pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors argued that surveillance video shows proof that Manuel Ramos abused his authority, turning a routine encounter into a deadly one with his threat.
Defense attorneys said the video showed that officers followed their training and police department policy when dealing with an uncooperative, combative suspect.
Both sides also differed on what the cause of death was in Kelly Thomas’ death.
The defense claimed Kelly Thomas died because of an enlarged heart caused by years of methamphetamine use, but prosecutors said he died from a lack of oxygen caused by chest compression and facial injuries.
Manuel Ramos was the first law enforcement officer in Orange County to be charged with a homicide for an on-duty death.
Following the verdict, Kelly Thomas’ parents spoke to the media and expressed their shock.
“I’m just horrified. They got away with murdering my son. I guess it’s legal to go out and kill now. He was so innocent. It just isn’t fair at all,” said Kelly Thomas’ Mother Cathy Thomas.
“What this means is all of us need to be very afraid now. It’s carte blanche, for police officers everywhere can beat us, kill us, whatever they want. Because it has been proven right here, today, they’ll get away with it,” said Kelly Thomas’ Father Ron Thomas.
A civil suit will likely continue and he hopes the federal government will get involved.
After the acquittals of Cicinelli and Ramos, Orange County’s district attorney said his office will drop charges against a third officer involved in the struggle that led to Kelly Thomas’ death.
Former Fullerton Police Department Officer Joseph Wolfe would no longer face charges of involuntary manslaughter and excessive force.