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Kelly Thomas Beating Death By Fullerton Police

You may remember when we released Richmond Police Department Documents regarding training and refresher courses on “Handling the Mentally Ill” that we received via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in December.

We dedicated the post in memory of Kelly Thomas, a transient man with mental health concerns that was beaten to death by Fullerton Police. The incident occurred on July 5, 2011, and Thomas died five days later on July 10th. To read more about the incident, see the links at the bottom of this post.

The police that were involved in the incident are to stand trial for Kelly’s death. A surveillance video at the bus depot was running during the incident, and officer Manuel Ramos was also recorded by a device he was wearing on his uniform. Synced together, the audio and video formed the key evidence shown in court during a preliminary hearing to decide whether to bring the officers to trial.

The video and detailed description of the incident has surfaced. Follow this link to NPR’s article to read about the upcoming trial, description of the incident, and video (edited down to 8 mins. Unedited version here). Official transcript of the video can be found hereTrigger warning: the description and video are highly graphic, disturbing, and violent. Please use discretion when viewing and reading.

It is difficult for us to put into words how upsetting this is. If anyone would like to talk about this incident, either through peer support or just chatting, please let us know. We would love to talk about it, because we have feelings about this that we’d love to sort through. Also, the RVA Peer Support Line is always open– 804.631.3134.

Please sign the petition for justice for Kelly Thomas.

Check back here for more updates. We will post updates below as they come in (in reverse chronological order so it makes sense to folks and the latest posts are at the top).

Trigger warning: Most/all of these links and descriptions of the articles on this page are graphic, violent, and upsetting. Please read with caution.

Here is a very helpful timeline of events in the Kelly Thomas case.


Mental illness and lessons from Kelly Thomas’ last cry for help
June 12, 2012
by Neal Halfon at The Los Angeles Times

Suit: False report sent police to Kelly Thomas
June 12, 2012
by Doug Irving and Lou Ponsi at The Orange County Register

Michael Reeves v. Slidebar
June 8, 2012
Solomon Saltsman & Jamieson SSJ Law

Fullerton Police Finally Release Records per Mental Health Advocates’ Request–But Are They Holding Back?
June 7, 2012
by Gabriel San Roman at OC Weekly

Mental Health Activists Still Waiting for Fullerton Police to Respond to their Public-Records Request
June 6, 2012
by Gabriel San Roman at OC Weekly

Kelly Thomas Beating Prompts Recall of Three Fullerton Councilmen
June 6, 2012
by Melissa Pamer and Vikki Vargas at NBC Southern California
Three new councilmen will replace three who were recalled by city voters after outrage about the beating death of a homeless man

[VIDEO] Outraged Fullerton citizens react to Kelly Thomas beating tape at City Council meeting on 5/15
May 16, 2012
by reason.tv

[VIDEO] City of Fullerton City Council Successor Agency Regular Meeting
May 15, 2012
by City of Fullerton
Click on the link, scroll down to 5/5/2012, and click on “video.” The first Fullerton City Council meeting after the release of the surveillance video to the public.

Kelly Thomas’ mom accepts $1 million settlement
May 15, 2012
by Lou Ponsi at The Orange County Register
The mother of Kelly Thomas will accept a $1 million payment from the city as settlement for the death of her son.

FOX 11 Investigates: Mental Illness And How Police Deal With It
May 12, 2012

Blogtalkradio.com “Remembering Kelly Thomas” at 6:30PM EST 
May 12, 2012
by Prison Reform Movement
They discussed Kelly Thomas, his life and untimely death at the hands of Fullerton Police, upcoming trial, the defendants and ways you can support. Guests will include Tina Thomas Kinser, Kelly’s sister, Cathy Thomas, Kelly’s mother ( tentative) and Ryan Moore- member of Kelly’s Army.

Thomas beating a reminder of how quickly things can go awry
May 11, 2012
by Steve Lopez at The Los Angeles Times
In the wake of the death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man, a columnist realizes that no one medication or treatment plan or philosophy works for everyone.

Kelly Thomas: 2nd degree murder difficult to prove, experts say
May 10, 2012
at The Los Angeles Times

Cops to Stand Trial In Homeless Man’s Beating Death
May 10, 2012
by Carrie Kahn at NPR

Kelly Thomas beating: Charges possible against third officer
May 9, 2012
at The Los Angeles Times

Cop believes he is innocent in Kelly Thomas death, lawyer says
May 9, 2012
at The Los Angeles Times

Fuck the Police / Kelly Thomas R.I.P.
May 9, 2012
by Revok
Anything less than a murder conviction for these cops is a crime against the people of the United States.

Defense Attacks Theory About How Kelly Thomas Died
May 9, 2012
by Larry Welborn and Lou Ponsi at The Orange County Register
Dr. Michael Lekawa, a trauma surgeon at UCI Medical Center in Orange, spent most of the morning on the witness stand in the preliminary hearing into the death of transient Kelly Thomas.
John Barnett, the attorney for Fullerton police Officer Manuel Ramos, questioned Lekawa about the prosecution’s theory that Thomas was suffocated by the weight of the officers on him. Barnett is preparing to show the surveillance video again and ask Lekawa where and when that so-called fatal pressure was applied.

May 8, 2012
at Friends for Fullterton’s Future
At about the 14:30 mark of the Kelly Thomas murder video something happens. Suddenly the mood of Manny Ramos changes from one of bored hostility to outright aggression.

Shocking Kelly Thomas Confrontation Surveillance Video (8 min.)
May 8, 2012
at The Orange County Register
A security camera captured much of the altercation between Fullerton police officers and Kelly Thomas at the Fullerton bus depot. It was shown at the preliminary hearing in Santa Ana Monday. Warning: graphic content and language.

Full, Unedited Kelly Thomas Confrontation Video (35 min.)
May 8, 2012
at The Orange County Register
A security camera captured the altercation between Fullerton police officers and Kelly Thomas in Fullerton. This is the full video as shown at the preliminary hearing in Santa Ana Monday. Warning: graphic content and language.

Fire captain testifies police did ‘nothing’ to help Kelly Thomas
May 7, 2012
at The Los Angeles Times

Video of Thomas Beating Shown at Preliminary Hearing
May 7, 2012
by Tracy Wood at Voice of OC
An emotionally powerful video of the last moments in the conscious life of mentally ill Fullerton transient Kelly Thomas was the key evidence presented Monday at the preliminary hearing for two Fullerton police officers charged with multiple felonies — including one charge of murder — in Thomas’ death.

Cops Got Scratches Tended to by Paramedics as Kelly Thomas Lay Dying in the Street
May 7, 2012
by Joe Sipowicz
One of the most shocking things to emerge from the Preliminary Trial of Manny Ramos and Jay Cicinelli for the killing of Kelly Thomas are the statements made by Fullerton Fire Department personnel that the cops received attention to their miscellaneous scrapes as Thomas, whose face had just been bashed in, and who was suffocating in his own blood, lay ignored nearby.

Kelly Thomas death investigator delivers findings
May 2, 2012
by Lou Ponsi at The Orange County Register
An independent consultant hired by the city to probe into the death of Kelly Thomas has delivered his findings to the acting police chief on the internal-affairs phase of his investigation. The second of three reports conducted by Michael Gennaco, chief attorney for the Los Angeles Office of Independent Review, focuses on the actions of the officers involved in the fatal confrontation with the unarmed mentally ill homeless man on July 5.

The Mighty Peculiar Tale of Officer Joe Wolfe
Feb. 16, 2012
by Friends for Fullterton’s Future
By now everyone is at least casually familiar with the personage of FPD cop Joe Wolfe, who along with Manny Ramos, happened to be the first to confront the homeless schizophrenic man, Kelly Thomas, in the Fullerton Transportation Center, on the sultry night of July 5th, 2011.

Accused Murderer Bailed Out… By Fullerton Cops!
September 29, 2011
by Travis Kiger at Friends for Fullteron’s Future
Accused murderer Manny Ramos was able to make bail early this morning, and KTLA says the fundraising was done by Ramos’ fellow Fullerton police officers. One of our readers passed along this letter purportedly from FPD officer Benjamin Lira seeking donations to get Ramos out of jail. It was posted to the Big City Cops Facebook page, an online hangout for off duty cops.

Kelly Thomas died of asphyxia, report says
September 21, 2012
by Denisse Salazar at The Orange County Register

Fullerton Police Chief Takes Medical Leave
August 11, 2011
by Tracy Wood at Voice of OC
Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers, who has been the target of demonstrators protesting the beating death of mentally ill transient Kelly Thomas, has taken a leave of absence, the department announced Wednesday.

The Face of Kelly Thomas v. The Face of John Chamberlain
August 10, 2011
by R. Scott Moxley at OC Weekly
Dozens of violent, angry inmates working unimpeded on Chamberlain for as long as 45 minutes could not come close to deforming his face to the same horrible degree that six, allegedly trained Fullerton police officers inflicted on Thomas’ face in a few minutes.

[VIDEO] Fullerton City Council Public Hearing on the Beating Of Homeless Man Kelly Thomas
August 3, 2011

Death of Kelly Thomas
first posted July 30, 2011

Police Beat Homeless Fullteron Man Kelly Thomas to Death
July 27, 2011
by The Huffington Post

Suit: False report sent police to Kelly Thomas



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