2 Fullerton Police Officers Charged In Beating Death Of Kelly Thomas

SANTA ANA (CBS) —Two Fullerton police officers were charged Wednesday in the beating death of Kelly Thomas.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced the charges Wednesday morning against Fullerton police Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, 39, and Officer Manuel Ramos, 37. Cicinelli was charged with  involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force. Ramos, 37, was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, according to Rackauckas.

ramos cicinelli1 2 Fullerton Police Officers Charged In Beating Death Of Kelly Thomas

Manuel Ramos (left), Jay Cicinelli (right) (credit: Orange Co. District Attorney's Office)

Both men appeared in an Orange County courtroom Wednesday after turning themselves into authorities. Cicinelli pleaded not guilty and is currently free on $25,000 bail. Ramos’ arraignment was postponed until Monday. He is being held on $1 million bail.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports.

The DA’s office has been investigating whether six Fullerton police officers used excessive force when they arrested Thomas, 37, at a bus depot on July 5. All six officers have been placed on administrative leave.

According to Rackauckas, Ramos  faces up to 15 years to life in prison if convicted. Cicinelli faces up to four  years in prison. He said the charges were needed to maintain public trust in  the police department.

“We must do everything that we can to ensure that we protect this trust, including if necessary, prosecuting police officers who violate the  law,” the district attorney said.

kelly thomas 2 Fullerton Police Officers Charged In Beating Death Of Kelly Thomas

A flyer posted following the alleged assault of Kelly Thomas. (credit: CBS)

He noted that Ramos threatened Thomas during the arrest, put on latex  gloves and told the man he was going to beat him.

“By making this declaration of violence … Ramos instilled in that  victim fear, a reasonable fear for his life, that he was in danger and he was  in danger by a police officer who wanted to `f’ him up with his fists,”  Rackauckas said.

Cicinelli kneed Thomas twice in the head and used his Taser on the man  four times, according to Rackauckas, adding that the corporal also hit Thomas  in the head with the Taser.

“Screams, loud screams, didn’t help,” Rackauckas said. “Kelly Thomas  not responding when the blows to his face occurred, no help, (nor) a growing  pool of blood as Kelly Thomas became unresponsive.”

Thomas, who suffered from schizophrenia, was put on life support as a result of the beating. He died five days after his arrest.

Ramos’ attorney, John Barnett, released a statement following his client’s initial court appearance,”The prosecution’s theory is that Officer Ramos, the initial detaining officer, is responsible for the lethal force employed by responding officers. That is unprecedented in law and, in fact, it will present a sustained prolonged negative effect on public safety because peace officers in the field will be concerned about being prosecuted for murder for simply detaining a violent suspect.”

Fullerton’s police chief, Michael Sellers, was placed on paid medical leave shortly after Thomas’ death.

The FBI has opened a parallel investigation into whether the officers violated Thomas’ civil rights and Fullerton City Council members have also hired an independent investigator to do an internal review of the arrest.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • Valley Girl

    Let’s see how they try to blame something else for the death of the poor man.
    There is absolutely NO excuse for the police to beat a man the way they did.
    5 against 1.
    I thought they were supose to protect and serve?
    This is Murder and should be treated accordingly!

    • ger

      Valley Girl, thanks, and for the rest of you, there is NO excuse for police brutality and that is just what this was. “PEACE Officers” isn’t that the correct title? Kelly Thomas may you RIP!

    • mike

      Protect and serve? wrong dept stupid

      • Christina39

        I guess that makes murder OK becasue Valley Girl didn’t know it didn’t say Protect and Serve. I didn’t know it didn’t say protect and service. I’m an old Valley Girl. I guess rude jerk, not only are you not a gentleman, we just don’t have your empaphy and compassion.

      • Valley Girl

        It says it on the car door! Idiot.

    • surfbum

      No, dear. That’s the LAPD with the saying on their car, not Fullerton. Two different cities. Two different police agencies. Look at this pic of one of their cars if you don’t believe me.http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryan3487/3702938373/


      • Ramalamma

        Is the name calling really necessary? Can’t people have a conversation minus the negative and derogatory words???? Sheesh….

      • sansan

        Yeah, pipe down Valley Girl!

      • Matt Carmody

        Two different cities. Two different police agencies. Same criminal behavior and mindset..
        Nice to see that the mayor only plans on prosecuting law-breaking cops “if necessary.” I guess if the level of outrage doesn’t reach a certain level the criminal cops will be allowed to get away with, well, murder.

      • Valley Girl

        I hope you listened to the O.C. DA!
        He quoted my same words!
        Who is the Idiot!!

      • greg

        well even if it doesn’t say it on the car isn’t really their mission? It doesn’t say to mame and kill either does it? Intimidate and harass? Pullover and undress? all things they do without it painted on the car. PS I KNOW my post isn’t consistent, I wrote the 1st line and thought the rest would be fun

    • Jim Bulbuss

      protect and serve means that they have a shield to protect themselves while they serve up a good beating.

    • "chemtrail monster"

      it looks to me like, the latino cop is the fall guy for all of the other cops that were involved! YES Cicinelli is getting charged, but he only faces 4years max. i think all the cops shouid get 10-25 to life! because they all participated in a action that resulted in a death! just like if 2 suspects rob a store and one of them gets killed by a cop, the other suspect is charged with the murder of his accomplice!

  • Diana Harper

    Coming from a family that has been involved in law enforcement since I was small I can understand that sometimes force is needed in arresting someone. For your safety as well as the other persons. But, sometimes this can be carried too far. The adrenaline starts rushing and all involved want to take part. Sometimes it is better to stand back and help when things get too rough. Tell your partner to walk away and you will take over. I hope if it comes out that things were handled incorrectly all involved have to answer for their crime. Just because someone wears a badge and carries a gun does not make you innocent.

    • ts

      and just because they wear a badge and gun doesn’t make them guilty……the public has already found them guilty,,,there is no fair trial in the OC for them.

      • jc

        No, it makes them MORE guilty. Did the victim they brutally murdered get a fair trial?

    • joe brown

      I respect your comments. Unfortunately, when an officer of the law puts on gloves and tells someone theyre getting a beatdown, that sounds pre-meditated to me. Then tazing a mentally disabled person in the face while beating him to death, as he screams for mercy and is shown none. It wasnt adrenaline driving these corrupt murderers, it was pure evil and hatred towards their fellow man. Animals are treated more humanely. This was a human being whos life was brutally taken by the Fullerton Police Department. What a disgusting disgrace to humanity this department is. They are no different than any other terrorists.

  • Toni

    Mike & Kelley – you need to find new souls, yours obviously have been tampered with. Why? not enough hugs when you were little? or the bullies in school beat you up? I hope someone you care about (if you even have that ability) never has a mental illness, or goes homeless – they obviously will not get any compassion from you. And, it doesn’t appear as though you’ve been worrying about bums, so why does this bother you?

  • Melissa P

    That is disgusting, let’s hope none of you with awful things to say about this man’s death never have a similar situation in your lives. My bet is that he was totally off his meds, though he may have been self-medicating, we won’t know until the report is made public.

  • susan

    I agree!!! its all about money for this family now!~!!!!

  • JG

    A coroner’s report does not blame or speculate on who caused the death. It only tells what may have caused it. Blunt trama, drugs, a taser or whatever. It does not place blame only cause. It is up to the DA department to establish that and to pursue the people resposible.

    Anyone who thinks disturbing businesses or interupting life in Fullerton is an idiot who will end up in jail if they do anything which would be worse than the death itself. It was unfortunate that a small group of officers contributed to Kelly Thomas’ death, but those officers will be dealt with and will not be working in Fullerton again most likely.

    Protest all you want. Be peaceful and rational. Don’t be stupid.

  • John Q. Citizen

    Maybe she means that being involved with law enforcement means she or her family members have been arrested frequently

    • ???


      • ???

        the “HA” was was in response to John Q Citizens comment

  • Bruce

    Can’t wait ’till it’s your turn Mike. Wake up!

    Better stay off the streets, because, bum or not, you’re not immune – even if you’re a cop yourself.

  • Ranger 3/75

    Why am I not surprised that it is Ramos, an affirmative action hire, who killed his guy.
    This is what happens when a LESSER qualified person is hired over a more qualified person simply because of race.

    • Ossie

      Look around you. It happens everywhere. This country is going down the tubes, from the top down. Debt downgrade, high unemployment, debt spiraling out of control, millions on welfare, etc.

    • bugman

      I saw first hand on that one! Vietnam vet,I tried to get into the post office for 2 years. Xmas and after Jan. for a few months.This was in the 80’s.Guess nothing has changed!!!!!!Saw my Vietnamese landlord with a full time job @ the same S.A Mailing facility and was in country a couple years.Never new it until I saw him there and asked!!!! Bought the property a year prior.Amazing country we live in!!!!

      • Matt Carmody

        But I bet the Vietnamese man knows the difference between “new” and “knew” when writing. Maybe it’s the lack of proper education that kept you out of a government job. And, btw, I’m a white Vietnam vet also and I had no problems getting jobs, even as a NYC cop. Even got promoted all the way up to captain taking tests.
        Using affirmative action as an excuse for failure is a shield for stupid white people to hide their inadequacies.

      • bugman

        by the looks of those pics ,I would assume hood guys,but,not in uniform to help us or to protect us,sad!! RIP

      • ????

        A landlord works at USPS???

      • Christina39

        Matt Carmody is on some kind of mind trip. I grew up in Los Angeles and know the difference between new and knew but when typing emails we are not taking a grammar test and unless he is perfect the occasional mistake occurs. , I have to go back and check my spelling. I am white and had a 4.0 grade average and could not get into nursing school. I was told they wanted a solid 70% for whatever reason. Many hospital workers were fired in the 80s and their jobs given to minorities. Now it is happening in Las Vegas. I am happy that all was so wonderful for Matt Comedy. no spelling mistake intended. I don’t feel my comment is racist because it is the truth.

    • Duh!

      You do know that they did away with Affirmative Action?
      In my opinion, it was racist. You got hired based on skin color.

    • Christina39

      I would agree. I grew up in Los Angeles and found that to be the case. Now I live in Las Vegas and it is starting here.

  • Karen

    I wanted to hear the results of the investigation and I’m listening to the news conference. I hope those police officers rot in hell.

    I think the Orange County DA is top notch. He conducted a thorough investigation and the results are in.

    That is called due process of law and I hope you all remember that.

  • Von S

    These officers have now been charged with murder. San Diego police killed a mentally ill homeless man as well several years ago. He came at them with a tree branch. They shot him dead 9 times. No one went to jail. Lets see what happens in Fullerton.

    • CB

      Hey Von, you only get to die once….idiot!

  • Gene

    Thing is, this stuff goes on ALL the time, everywhere.

    • Thomas

      Examples please.

      • wgaf

        Are you serious, dumbf**k?

  • jt

    who cares! your a idiot, do you have children this was someones son. you should be slapped.

  • John Ashton

    My condolence to the Thomases family. The police are the number one killers of black and brown people in america. These type murders have been going on for quiet sometimes now; had this been a black or brown person this case would have been thrown out months ago. I hope people open their eyes to the unjustice that takes place in our cournty to our citizens of all colors.

    • Big B

      Brown and Black people always cry raceism, but the fact is do you part and we will treat you like all other americans, stop sucking our country dry using our systems to benefit your families out of this country. The fact is this story no matter what race Kelly was he didnt deserve to die this way. 1 in 6 people suffer from some sort of mental issue and it is sad that our goverment doesnt step in to help.

      • OviedoS

        Big B, don’t forget who slaved the blacks, Do not forget who expropriated natives of their land, Do not forget that Mexicans did not come to this country, this country came to them. Do not forget whom committed crimes and atrocities to other races in the name of supremacy and in the name of the Lord. Do not forget history.
        I know many cry racism when ever anything like this happens, and that is unfortunate, but this country was founded in racism and that is a fact. We are all to blame, not only whites nor minorities.

    • Sharonann

      Having worked for the Police Dept. in Baltimore until I retired, I have to agree with some of the writers here in that black and brown folks are ALWAYS CRYING RACISM ADNAUSEUM. MOST LIE. Howev er, this guy Kelly-the way he was beaten there is simply no excuse for that. The taser shots alone rendered him defenseless. This was a killing, pure and simple. And Mr. Ashton,less you feel that I am a bigot for what I jjust wrote, let me be clear -when that poor black man was dragged to his death wherein he was decapitated; no one yelled louder than I did for everyone involved to get the DEATH PENALTY. I was glad to hear that one of these killers did in fact, die by lethal injection.

  • ???????

    Mike…The moron WGAF is trying to set us up together!…Is this a Matchmaking site now?????

    • wgaf

      That must mean you’ll not be going to a rally any time soon, PUS$Y dumbf**k.

  • shirley

    Isn’t it a crime for the other officers who watched the guy being murdered? What will they be charged? Nothing you say? hmmmmmmmmm

    • jk

      The FBI will be charging them with violating Kelly’s civil rights as well.

      • Dufus

        Yes, the officers interfered with his right to burglarize parked cars.

    • Sharonann

      Yes, Shirley I agree with that. Even if the 4 weren’t directly involved in the fatal beating, they still should be harshly reprimanded as there was no excuse for them just looking the other way. That was despicable.

  • Ossie

    Not the first time something like this has happened. Years ago, I observed two large tall Latino Santa Monica Place guards kicking a scrawny spastic white male at the bottom of a parking structure stairwell. I called the police, but never heard what happened. Bullies love to pick on the weak and compromised.

    In junior high, as I was exiting the gate, this Latino grabbed me around the neck with his elbow. I bit his hairy arm, stomped on his foot, and elbowed his stomach and he let go and I ran off.

    So when I say “f*ck amnesty” and plan NOT to vote for Obama next year because he gave $11 million to National Council of La Raza, you know why.

    I hope the Aryan prison gangs target Ramos, and that red-bearded bozo provides many hours of pleasure for his cellmate.

  • Hardmoney

    Did the DA just taint all the ‘Evidence’ he just discussed at his press conference? I thought the details were supposed to come out during court testamony. Did he just give the two cops a way out? The D..umb A..ss knows better than open his mouth and give out the ‘ Details’ ! !

    • gmoney

      my thoughts exactly, way to many details will allow the defense to destroy the case

      • Hardmoney

        The DA even brought latex gloves and taser gun to use as ‘Props’ for visual effect. I bet cops attorney’s can not believe the ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card the DA himself just gave them. Can’t put this blunder on some Junior DA.

    • el chota

      This a set up the DA made so once trial begins and all evidence is presented the officer will be acquitted.

      • Thomas

        This is no different that what is done in other high profile cases. This is all evidence the DA has to let the other side know about anyways. I don’t see anything wrong in what he did. He didn’t bring the actual evidence out. He brought out props to demonstrate what he believes was done.

      • jake

        Has anyone checked the defense lawyers prior cases. all aquittals for law enforcement officers involved in rape, child molestation, murder etc. He is the one that is probably sicker then the rest. How can he sleep at night knowing he has released these people back on the streets. i hope this case will be his first loss.

  • Ript

    LOL, No more Chipotle for these officers!

  • John

    All officers involved should face murder charges. If 6 black or brown men are accused of robbing a store you dont charge only the one that stole the goods you send all of them to prison right. The same rule apply here don’t just accuse the minority cops.

    • huh?


    • Big B

      This has nothing to do with race, move on or go back to your own country!!!

  • This is why we have due process

    Wow. I hope you understand that needless name-calling clearly demonstrates your inability to form a compelling argument or an intelligent response.

    • wgaf

      This is why we have due process

      If you’re replying to me, what position you’re taking and defending, dumbf**k moron. Or, are you here just to run your mouth about me, puS$y aS$wipe?

  • EverydayGuy

    let’s hope the family does not sue as they are not entitled to money. If they cared so much, this guy wouldn’t have been on the street.

    • Christina39

      You are obviously a psychiatrist and an expert in schizophrenia. Actually idiot, he would not be on the street if it wasn’t for Ronald Reagan or are you too young to know this, if so, read history.

  • Ursa65


    I agree this needs to be thoroughly investigated and if there is any wrongdoing, those involved must be punished. But to jump to any conclusions and assume these police officers are guilty is preposterous. This country has due process for a reason and justice will be served.

    Kelly Thomas was a public nuisance to say the least. It has already come out that his family had a restraining order against him for attempting to choke out his own father. That doesn’t warrant a fatal beating, but this man clearly wasn’t your average contributor to society.

    • keith

      You are delusional my friend. They are guilty. In the eyes of the law you are guilty until proven innocent.

  • Vinny

    You think once u’ve gotten out of jr high or high school, the bullying would stop. It seems these bullies became cops.

  • chas

    I feel sorry for the victom but that said. The cops mess up big time they did this to a white man.Brutality by cops happens all the time to black and brown people.I am so glad that this victom was Euro American know we can see a family get justice.God bless the victom

    • American

      You gotta be kidding? First off, we don’t feel the need to hyphenate. White people living in this country are AMERICANS, not Euro-Americans. Minorities seem to want to retain their country of origin in their title. Secondly, cops are ALWAYS being accused of brutality against “black and brown” people. Yet it’s almost always those same blacks and browns who kill or shoot cops. Get over yourself and maybe go to school. You obviously missed a day or two.

    • chas

      I dont know what I say. I drunk. God bless the victom

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