- Posted November 19, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Kelly Thomas Cop Murderers UPDATE
Nov. 15th 2012
Source: Orange County Register
SANTA ANA – Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos instigated the beating death of a mentally ill homeless man in July 2011 with an unlawful threat of excessive force and then did nothing to prevent the peril he created, an Orange County prosecutor contended in a court document filed this week.
"There was no justification for any threat of violence," Deputy District Attorney Keith Bogardus wrote in a 100-page opposition to a defense attorney's motion to dismiss murder and manslaughter charges against Ramos.
An evidence photo shown in a Santa Ana courtroom on May 7, 2012, shows Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli immediately following an altercation that ultimately lead to the death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man in Fullerton.
Bogardus also wrote that victim Kelly Thomas, 38, acted in lawful self-defense when he attempted to escape after Ramos threatened him during the encounter on July 5, "and was killed in the process."
Thomas died July 10, 2011 when life support was turned off five days after the confrontation with six Fullerton police officers in the parking lot at the Fullerton Transportation Center. The incident was captured on surveillance video.
Bogardus insisted in his writ filed Tuesday that there was "more than ample evidence" presented by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas during a preliminary hearing in May to support the homicide charges against Ramos, and involuntary manslaughter and excessive force charges against Fullerton police Cpl Jay Cicinelli.
In September, the Orange County Grand Jury also indicted a third police officer, Joseph Wolfe, on involuntary manslaughter and excessive force charges.
Bogardus' opposition was filed in response to an 80-page motion to dismiss charges filed in August by Ramos' attorney John Barnett, who contended among other things that Ramos was lawfully entitled as a policeman to use force and a threat of force to arrest Thomas. Barnett contended that a "recalcitrant" Thomas "defiantly disobeyed" lawful commands by Ramos.
Michael Schwartz, Cicinell's attorney, later joined in the motion to dismiss.
Superior Court Judge William Froeberg has scheduled a hearing on the defense motion in his 10th floor courtroom on Nov. 30.
Bogardus' opposition memorandum contends that is charged with murder under an implied malice legal theory where he acted with "a conscious disregard of the danger to human life." The brief contends among other things that Ramos made an unlawful threat against Thomas, followed through on the threat by joining in the fracas, and then failed to avert the danger he caused.
The surveillance video shows Ramos and Wolfe questioning Thomas for about 15 minutes before the encounter escalated into violence. Four other officers -- including Cicinelli - arrived at the scene and piled on, according to prosecutors. Thomas is heard on the videotape screaming for help, yelling that he couldn't breathe, and calling out for his dad.
"It is undeniable the death of Kelly Thomas may be traced back to the action and inaction of ... Ramos," Bogardus wrote.
Ramos, 38, is the first police officer in Orange County history to be charged with murder for an incident that occurred while on duty and in uniform. He faces a possible 15-year term in prison if convicted.
Cicinelli, 40, and Wolfe, 37, face possible four-year prison sentences if convicted.
All three of the officers are no longer employed by the Fullerton Police Department.
This picture I took is of the makeshift memorial at the transportation center where Kelly Thomas was murdered. After almost 1 1/2 years, it's still there.