Death of Kelly Thomas

Death of Kelly Thomas

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Kelly Thomas (April 5, 1974 – July 10, 2011) was a homeless man diagnosed with schizophrenia who lived on the streets of Fullerton, California. He was beaten and killed by Jay Cicinelli, Manuel Ramos, and Joseph Wolfe, three members of the Fullerton Police Department, on July 5, 2011. Thomas was taken to St. Jude Medical Center before being transferred to the UC Irvine Medical Center, where he was comatose on arrival and not expected to recover. He never regained consciousness, and died on July 10, 2011.[2][3]

Medical records show that bones in his face were broken and he choked on his own blood.[4] The coroner concluded that compression of the thorax made it impossible for Thomas to breathe normally and deprived his brain of oxygen.[5]His parents removed him from life support five days later, and he died from his injuries on July 10, 2011.[6] Officer Manuel Ramos was charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter; Corporal Jay Cicinelli and Officer Joseph Wolfe were each charged with one count of felony involuntary manslaughter and one count of excessive force.[5][7][8] All three pleaded not guilty.

A judge declined to dismiss the charges against the officers in January 2013, finding that “a reasonable person could infer that the use of force was excessive and unreasonable.”[9] An appeals court judge also denied a request to overturn the lower court’s decision.[10] On January 13, 2014, Ramos and Cicinelli were found not guilty of all charges,[11]while the trial for Joe Wolfe was pending.[12] Following the verdict for the two officers, the district attorney’s office announced it would not pursue the case against Officer Wolfe.[13]

Death of Kelly Thomas
Kelly Thomas American.jpg

Kelly Thomas on May 19, 2002[1]
Time 8:30 PM PDT (03:30 UTC)
Date July 5, 2011
Location FullertonCalifornia, United States
Participants Fullerton Police Departmentofficers Manuel Ramos, Jay Cicinelli, and Joseph Wolfe
Charges Second-degree murder (Manuel Ramos)
Involuntary manslaughter(Ramos, Jay Cicinelli, Joseph Wolfe)
Excessive force (Cicinelli, Wolfe)
Verdict Not guilty of all charges (Ramos, Cicinelli)
No verdict for Wolfe (charges were dropped)

Kelly Thomas as he appeared in a 2009 booking photo released by Fullerton PD

Kelly Thomas, after his encounter with officers of the Fullerton, California Police Department