It’s been more than two years since Kelly
Thomas, a schizophrenic homeless man, died after a brutal beating
at the hands of police officers in Fullerton, Calif. Today, after
community outrage, the retirement of the city’s police chief, and
the recall of three Fullerton City Council members, two of the six
officers involved in the incident face the music. Their criminal
The trial of two former California policemen charged in the
beating and stun gun death of a mentally ill transient began on
Monday with opening statements about the deadly confrontation that
touched off protests and political upheaval in a Los Angeles
Prosecutors say the two officers, who approached Kelly Thomas to
question him about reports of vandalized cars near a bus depot,
turned a routine police encounter into an unnecessary and savage
beating that cost the unarmed homeless man his life in what
represented a flagrant abuse of authority.
Former Fullerton officer Manuel Ramos, 39, is charged with
second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the
confrontation between Fullerton police officers and 37-year-old
Thomas on the night of July 5, 2011.
Jay Cicinelli, a 41-year-old ex-corporal with the Fullerton
Police Department, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and use
of excessive force. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
Defense attorneys were expected to argue that Thomas had a
history of violence and resisted the officers’ attempts to detain
and question him.
ReasonTV’s Paul Detrick is at the courtroom for the trial, but
the judge has banned the media from live-tweeting the happenings.
Below, ReasonTV shows how important citizen outrage and public
recording of police officers were in
trying to bring about justice in this case:
Our previous coverage of the Kelly Thomas case can be found
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from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/02/trial-begins-for-officers-accused-of-bea