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Police Accquitted In Beating Death Of Homeless Man

Submitted by on January 15, 2014 – 10:27 amNo Comment

Two former police officers in California have been found not guilty of all charges following the videotaped beating death of a homeless man. The defense argued that the officers acted appropriately confronting a violent, belligerent man, and suggested that his death might have been due to drug use; but critics say the decision could give police carte blanche to commit murder.

Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli confronted Kelly Thomas, who suffered from schizophrenia and was a “fixture” of the Fullerton, CA homeless scene, at a bus depot in the city in July 2011. Reportedly, Thomas refused to comply with officers who wanted to search him.

The nearby security camera captured Ramos putting on latex gloves, and telling Thomas that he was getting ready to “f–k you up.” The officers then attempted to restrain Thomas, eventually beating him with fists, batons, and the butt of a Taser, and calling for backup. Thomas can be heard calling for help in the audio captured.

Thomas spent five days in a coma before succumbing to his injuries. Ramos was charged with second-degree murder, and Cicinelli was charged with excessive force. Both were also charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The defense claimed that the video showed Thomas instigating the violence, and that the officers were just doing their jobs. The team also brought in an expert to testify that Thomas’ heart had been weakened by drug use.

The trial lasted for three weeks, but the jury deliberated for less than a day.

[via LA Times]

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