2 police officers charged with Thomas’ death

SALVADOR HERNANDEZ , SEAN EMERY, DOUG IRVING, LOU PONSI, ERIC CARPENTER and GREG HARDESTY (THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER) | September 20, 2011

BULLETIN: Two Fullerton police officers will face criminal charges in connection with the beating death of Kelly Thomas, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced this morning.

Ofc. Manuel Ramos will be charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, Rackauckas said during a packed press conference. If convicted on both charges, Ramos faces up to 15 years to life in prison.

Cpl. Jay Cicinelli will be charged with involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force. Those charges carry a maximum sentence of 4 years in prison.

The news conference is continuing, and Rackauckas has not said whether any other officers will be charged in connection with Thomas’ death in July. The District Attorney’s Office has been investigating six officers who were involved.

Rackauckas opened his remarks by noting that “the public has been crying for justice for Kelly.” He said his office has been “in pursuit of the truth” since the week of Thomas’ death, an investigation that involved interviewing 151 witnesses and examining physical evidence, including batons and Tazers.

SANTA ANA a  crowd of media and interested observers, including the homeless, began gathering outside the Orange County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday morning, awaiting a decision on whether charges will be filed against the six police officers involved in a fatal confrontation with a homeless Fullerton man.

A news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. in Santa Ana. Susan Kang Schroeder, the district attorney’s chief of staff, said prosecutors will announce the office’s findings in the July 5 confrontation with Fullerton police officers that resulted in the death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man.

Read more at: http://www.ocregister.com/news/death-318074-thomas-district.html

Photo credit: KEN STEINHARDT, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

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