FULLERTON (CBS) — The Fullerton police officer accused of beating a 37-year-old homeless man to death has been released from jail.

Manuel Ramos, 37, who is facing a charge of second-degree murder in the death of Kelly Thomas, was released on bail early Thursday morning.

Ramos, a 10-year-veteran with the department, pleaded not guilty Monday before a judge rejected a request to lower his $1 million bail.

Thomas, a schizophrenic homeless man, died after a confrontation with six police officers who were responding to reports of car burglaries.

Officer Jay Cicinelli, 39, was also charged with involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas says video of the incident shows Ramos initiating the deadly beating.

CBS2 spoke with Ramos’ attorney John Barnett, who confirmed that his bail money was raised by family and friends.

“Being a police officer does not strip you of your constitutional rights,” Barnett said. “He made bail… I’m glad that he’s out. It will be much easier to mount our defense with him out of custody.”

Thomas’ father spoke exclusively with CBS2 Thursday morning about Ramos’ release.

“Well, I’m dissatisfied, but it is out process that we have to life with. Ramos, and even Cicinelli, belong behind bars,” Ron Thomas said. “That’s really where I want them to be.”

He also says his son was the victim of a hate crime.

“I think it was definitely, and I’ve said this from the beginning, a hate crime towards the homeless and the mentally ill. Ramos knew my son very well and he should have handled it much differently, but he didn’t. So I think he was specifically targeted in that very, very aggressive manner because he was homeless and schizophrenic.”

Thomas says he will attend Ramos’ preliminary hearing, which is scheduled for Nov. 4.

“I absolutely will attend. I need to stay aware of what’s going on. I need to be there for my son.”

Comments (105)
  1. J says:

    I can’t hardly believe there are people in here defending these “law enforcement” thugs. That is sad and disturbing. For that means it may be possible such deranged, detached, cold-hearted, callous nimrods could end up on the jury.

    What they did was downright inhumane. It was Abu Ghraib-like. The degree of sadism and callousness that was illuminated in this case is freightening. Please remember something very important here, there were ultimately SIX (not five, not four, not three, not two, not one) BUT SIX! “law enforcement” officers that either directly tortured Kelly to death or insulated, protected and enabled his murder. That is scary. Five are accomplices to this murder.

    What, I can only wonder, was going through their minds as Kelly laid silent, drifting in his own gutter-filled sea of blood as that fat little barrel of refried burito sausage and his one-eyed girlfriend pummeled and tasered him repeatedly?

    What, I can only wonder, were they thinking when they assisted in this murder?

  2. Ian MacLeod says:

    Willy – It’s easy enough to judge, but Kelly Thomas was in his late thirties. Schizophrenic or not, he had rights too, including being out on his own. And would you have slept on the street by your son for thirty, forty years? How hard is it raising a son like that, especially if he won’t cooperate in his own care? i don’t know that Kelly didn’t, but you don’t either. And treatment can get VERY expensive; sometimes living with a parent can disqualify people help with treatment, too. As for accusing Ron Thomas of being money-grubbing, what other options does he have for SOME kind of redress? Fullerton has had a number of incidents like this, and as usual, cops don’t get held accountable.

    I DID see the video, and read the comments of people who knew him. They described him as gentle, quiet. That mental condition means he’s not in contact with consensus reality – it could be in any of countless ways. He panicked, ran from a cop who chased him down, held him down and beat him to death. Period. That’s murder, and if he wasn’t wearing a badge he’d be in jail awaiting trial for murder. You can see this cop sitting on Kelly in the video, hear the Taser over and over, hear the cops yell “Stop resisting!” when Kelly is TIED UP and barely moving! That cop is a psychopath. There was simply no possible reason for what he did.


  3. rick says:

    Yea some father, sick kid and you let him live on the street. Then you got this idiot wgaf who sounds like the boss at the ACLU.

  4. David J. says:

    Yo- Willy. You in my opinion are very, very i don’t even know what to call it. Your like, trying to tell this Kelly Thomas how to run his life. And how to react to whatever situations he’s involved with according to you? What really made me angry is the fact that, what, now you don’t care if the police were wrong? Give me a break would you please!! And so your posting here like maybe this guy used his troubled son as bait, or what? I think you are nuts crazy. Who the heck do you think you are anyway?

  5. Muck Fu says:

    Saw pictures of those cops.They look like trouble..probably abused or bullied as youngsters.Those 2 cops should rot in hell. RIP Mr.Thomas.

  6. Malik King says:

    My condolences to the Thomas family. I am truly sorry for your lost, for I was almost murdered in the same fashion, in the same Orange County California; just four months prior.

    On March 9, 2011 several Police brutally ordered a K-9 to attack an unarmed, California Registered (RN). The California Highway Patrol (CHP) in Orange County then attempted to cover up the incident.

    Malik King, a reportedly Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) since nineteen and RN since twenty three, is said to have initially attempted to steal a car. Later, it was found he was the owner of that Mercedes. What ensued next on the part of several officers goes well beyond the bounds of simply trying to subdue their suspect.

    The several police officers ordered a police K-9 to attack him while he was still fastened in his seat-belt; tasered multiple times while the K-9 attacked for over one minute and thirty seconds, then hand cuffed, slammed to the concrete, hog tied, beat and kicked in the head until unconscious. He was then taken to jail, accused of multiple felonies, and had to pay $50,000 for bail.

    Despite witnesses and the clear brutality of the beating, kicking, tasering, and ordered K-9 attack, California Highway Patrol allowed several officers to remain active and attempted a cover-up.
    Violations of federal law occur when it can be shown that the force used was willfully “unreasonable” or “excessive”. By signing this petition you agree that “unreasonable” or “excessive force” was used on Malik A. King on March 9, 2011 in Orange County, California.

    The beating of Mr. King is sickening and disturbing. The police involved in the beating and cover up must be brought to justice. Tell Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to thoroughly investigate and prosecute the officers involved in the brutality of Malik A. King,LVN,RN.


    Malik King,LVN,RN

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