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Kelly Thomas Incident Summary

A succinct summary of the Kelly Thomas beating death.

A “schizophrenic” transient man in Fullerton, CA named Kelly Thomas was confronted by police on July 5, 2011 because someone called them saying he was breaking into cars outside of a bus depot (turns out he was not).  They knew Kelly personally, as is evidenced by the officer saying in the beginning of the video that “we come out here to talk to you every night…do you like that?”

Officer Manuel Ramos started talking to him, sat him down, threatened to punch the shit out of him, and then pushed him from behind as Kelly was sitting down. He was understandably startled and got up…that’s when they started beating him and tasering him. He was never confrontational, and he was clearly just confused and startled. Later he kept yelling that he couldn’t breathe…autopsy showed he died from asphyxiation and various other injuries. The pictures of him after are pretty horrible. He was in a coma for 5 days before they took him off life support.

Six police were involved in the beating. There is a video taken from a security camera at the bus depot that is synced with audio from Ramos’s recording device on his uniform that you can watch, but it’s really graphic and made me cry.

These officers knew Kelly and knew of his condition. They cannot claim that they didn’t know they should have used their training in handling the “mentally ill.” We believe these officers did not follow their training procedures. Two of the six officers are being charged: officer Manuel Ramos with second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and officer Jay Cicinelli with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force.

We have put in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to gain access to training materials that Fullerton Police receive when learning to handle the “mentally ill.” We will report back whenever we hear something back. By law they have 10 days to respond. We put it in yesterday.

For folks that follow stories best visually, here is a good summary video. Trigger warning: this video is graphic

tl:dr – a man was beaten to death by 6 cops because he was “mentally ill” and homeless



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