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Kelly Thomas: Homeless man jury finds ex-police officers not guilty of murder

Kelly Thomas
Kelly Thomas

Kelly Thomas, a homeless man in California, died after a beating by police officers in 2011. The police officers, Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, were acquitted of the charges of having killed Kelly Thomas, according to a Chicago Tribune report on Monday.

On Monday, a jury in Orange County, California found the two former Fullerton police officers not guilty of killing the schizophrenic homeless man. In spite of Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas telling the jury that the former officers had abused their authority in confronting Kelly Thomas, the jury reportedly needed less than a day to reach their verdict.

A surveillance tape was shown to the jurors during the trial, but what was on the tape was interpreted differently by the two sides involved in the trial. While the defense attorneys claimed the tape was of two policemen trying to restrain a violent suspect, the prosecution claimed the tape was of a homicide with the officers beating Thomas.

Previously, the coroner’s office asserted that the homeless man had died from brain damage from lack of oxygen that was caused by chest compression as well as other injuries. The defense argued that the man’s death could have been tied to his heart being negatively-impacted by drug usage in the past.

Ramos faced second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges while Cicinelli faced excessive use of force under the color of authority and involuntary manslaughter charges.