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Charges Against 3rd Officer In Kelly Thomas Beating Dismissed

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Footage from a security camera that shows much of the altercation between Fullerton police officers and Kelly Thomas at the Fullerton bus depot is played during a preliminary hearing for the death of Thomas, on May 7, 2012 in Santa Ana. (Photo credit: Joshua Sudock-Pool/Getty Images)

Footage from a security camera that shows much of the altercation between Fullerton police officers and Kelly Thomas at the Fullerton bus depot is played during a preliminary hearing for the death of Thomas, on May 7, 2012 in Santa Ana. (Photo credit: Joshua Sudock-Pool/Getty Images)

SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Prosecutors formally dismissed charges Friday against a third former Fullerton police officer in connection with the death of transient Kelly Thomas.

Former Officer Joe Wolfe had been facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force following the July 5, 2011 arrest of Thomas at the Fullerton Transportation Center. Thomas was taken off life support five days later.

Prosecutors opted to drop the charges against Wolf after Monday’s acquittal of former Fullerton Officer Manuel Ramos and ex-Lt. Jay Cicinelli. Ramos, 39, had been charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, while Cicinelli, 41, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who prosecuted Ramos and Cicinelli personally, said he would dismiss the case against Wolfe because his role in the beating was “not as reprehensible.”

Thomas’ father, Ron, said he still wanted prosecutors to put Wolfe on trial.

“He’s a very, very bad character. He was the first one to strike Kelly with a baton with his hands up surrendering, and then the devastating elbow blows crushing his face,” Ron Thomas said.

Thomas expressed his displeasure in court Friday, but Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg went along with prosecutors’ request to dismiss the case against Wolfe.

(©2014 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

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