Kelly Thomas beating: 2 years later, ex-Fullerton police officers face trial

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Footage from a security camera that shows much of the altercation between Fullerton police officers and Kelly Thomas at the Fullerton bus depot played during a preliminary hearing for the death of Thomas, on May 7, 2012 in Santa Ana.

Ron Thomas

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Ron Thomas is the father Kelly Thomas, who was beaten by police officers in Fullerton in 2011. Kelly died shortly after.

Joshua Sudock, Orange County Register, Pool photo

In 2012, Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos listens as Judge Walter Schwarm explains why he believes all charges should stand and why he believes Ramos and Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli should stand trial for the death of Kelly Thomas. Ramos and Cicinelli were later dismissed by the police department.

Joshua Sudock, Orange County Register, Pool photo

Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli listens to Tony Rackauckas, Orange County's elected district attorney, during day three of the 2012 preliminary hearing into the death of Kelly Thomas.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Demonstrators march in 2011 to protest the death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man who died in July 2011 after an altercation with several Fullerton police officers. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Joshua Sudock, Pool photo, Orange County Register

A crime scene investigator's photograph gives some insight into what the scene looked like in the immediate aftermath of an altercation between Kelly Thomas, a homeless man in Fullerton, and police officers.

Joshua Sudock, Pool photo, Orange County Register

A picture shows wounds sustained by Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos during an alternation that ultimately lead to the death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man in Fullerton.


It was two years ago Friday (July 5) that a mentally ill homeless man was involved in a violent confrontation with Fullerton police officers. Kelly Thomas died five days later.

Ex-Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli since have been charged in connection with Thomas' death and are set to go to trial on October 18.

Ramos previously pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Thomas. Cicinelli also pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and excessive force. Both remain free on bail.

A third former Fullerton police officer charged in the case, Joe Wolfe, faces involuntary manslaughter charges in connection Thomas' death.

Orange County District Attorney Rackauckas has said he’d like to combine Wolfe's case with the other two officers' charged for one trial. 

Ron Thomas, the father of Kelly Thomas,  said he wants that to happen too.

"But he [Wolfe] isn't going away, he's going to go to trial too," Thomas previously told KPCC.

Kelly Thomas, 37, died five days after the July 5, 2011 confrontation with six officers who were responding to reports of car burglaries at the Fullerton Transportation Center.

The trial date for Ramos and Cicinelli was set by an Orange County Superior Court judge in January.  It would be the first murder trial in Orange County history involving an on-duty officer in uniform.

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