Fullerton Police officer charged with murder in Kelly Thomas death

By Alex Alonso
Streetgangs.com Staff Writer
September 21, 2011 | 12:17 p.m.

Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas announced murder charges, September 21, 2011 against officer Ramos

Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas announced murder charges against officer Ramos, September 21, 2011

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Orange County District Attorney, Tony Rackauckas, has announced charges against the two Fullerton polce officers connected to the July 5 beating death of Kelly Thomas. Streetgangs.com stated that at least one officer would be charged with second degree murder back on July 29, but it took nearly 3-months for Orange County DA to file charges, when at times it looked as if they were not interested in filing any charges against any of the six FPD officers.

The determination of the father, Ron Thomas, and community activists ultimately forced the OC DA’s office to complete a thorough investigation which inevitably led to charges being filed against the police officers.

Manuel Ramos, one of the FPD officers, has surrendered and been charged with one count of second degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter. Ramos is the officer responsible for escalating the contact with Thomas into an unlawful police contact.

Corporal Jay Cicinelli, a second FDP officer, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force. Cicinelli kneed Thomas twice in the head and used the Tazer four times.

Rackauckas stated that Ramos’ actions was reckless and irresponsible. Ramos, who knew Thomas personally, knew that Thomas was shirtless and unarmed and did not even need to be padded down for weapons. Ramos gave Thomas instructions to sit with legs out, but Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man, had difficulties following Ramos’ instructions. Ramos, according to Rackauckas, deliberately put on latex gloves, stood over Thomas and yelled in a menacing manner towards Thomas, “put your hands on your fucking knee.” Ramos then balled his fists with the latex gloves in Thomas’s face and told him that theses fists were about to “Fuck you up.”

After the threat, Ramos began to assault Thomas as he was seated. Thomas then stood up and began to back peddle, and was then struck with a baton an punched in the rib after being tackled to the ground. Officer Joe Wolfe, who was not charged, came into to scene to assist Ramos with the arrest but according to Rackauckas, Wolfe was not aware of the exchange Ramos had with Thomas. Ramos continued to hit Thomas which caused other officers to aide him.

At this point Cicinelli began to assault Thomas and used his Taser gun to subdue him, and that actually hit him eight times in the face with the Taser. At this point, Thomas was completely non-responsive, but the assault on Thomas continued.

Officer Wolfe and officer Hampton and the other three officers will not be charged with any offense including officer Hampton who was previously described as the lead officer in the beating.

The six officers were placed on paid administrative leave after the July 5 beating only after Thomas died in the hospital injuries related to the beating. Parts of the assault were captured by video, and used in the investigation.

Ron Thomas the father, stated that he is extremely happy with the DA. The two officers will be arraigned today at 2:00 p.m. The federal government is continuing their investigation into this incident.

Officers involved
1. Officer Joe Wolfe, not charged
2. Officer Manuel Ramos, charged with 2nd degree murder
3. Corporal Jay Cicinelli, charged with involuntary manslaughter
4. Kenton Hampton, not charged
5. James Blantley, not charged
6. Sgt Kevin Craig, not charged

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