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Entries in Manuel Ramos (1)

Wednesday
Sep212011

Two Police Officers Charged in Homeless Man's Death

Comstock/Thinkstock(SANTA ANA, Calif.) -- Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas Wednesday described a brutal police beating that, he said, led to the death of an unarmed schizophrenic homeless man in Southern California.

The death sparked outrage in the community, with hundreds of protesters condemning the police.

On Wednesday, Rackauckas announced second-degree murder and manslaughter charges against two police officers in the death of Kelly Thomas, 37, a mentally ill homeless man recognized and known to the community.

Officer Manuel Ramos made a "deliberate showing of putting latex gloves on," Rackauckas said, and stood over a terrified and unarmed Thomas in a "menacing manner."

"Kelly Thomas appeared to be acting in self-defense, in pain, in a state of panic," Rackauckas said. "His numerous pleas of 'I'm sorry,' 'I can't breathe,' 'Help,' 'Dad'...[were] all to no avail. Screams, loud screams, didn't help."

Thomas suffered a brutal beating from the two officers that included being tackled, pinned to the ground, kneed in the head, Tasered numerous times and shot with darts from a stun gun, Rackauckas said.

After the July 5 death, six officers were placed on leave, but Rackauckas announced that only two, Ramos and Officer Jay Cicinelli, would be charged with the crime.

Ramos was charged with second-degree murder and a felony count of involuntary manslaughter. If found guilty, he could face 15 years to life in state prison. Cicinelli was charged with felonies for excessive use of force and involuntary manslaughter. For him, the maximum sentence is four years in state prison.

The announcement followed an 11-week investigation, with evidence including two cellphone videos, surveillance video, 151 witnesses, police reports, medical reports, the coroner report and examination of the batons and Tasers used by police.

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