Video of homeless beating shown at trial

May 8, 2012 at 7:21 PM
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FULLERTON, Calif., May 8 (UPI) -- Some spectators walked out of a California courtroom when shown a graphic video of an altercation between police and a homeless man that left the man dead.

The surveillance video, taken from a nearby bus stop, shows Kelly Thomas, 37, who was schizophrenic, begging for his life July 5 as Fullerton police officers beat and Tasered him in a confrontation that led to his death in a hospital five days later, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

At one point Thomas, a familiar face for residents of the city, screams out, "Dad, they are killing me!" Medical reports show he died of a crushed windpipe, though he also suffered brain injuries, a shattered nose, a smashed cheekbone, broken ribs and internal bleeding.

Two Fullerton officers have pleaded not guilty to charges related to Thomas' death. Manuel Ramos, 38, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Jay Cicinelli, 40, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force, the newspaper said.

Defense attorneys argued Monday Thomas died of a medical error during his treatment, not the beating he received from police.

University of California Irvine surgical trauma chief Michael Lekawa testified he was concerned doctors' inability to clear Thomas' airway might have been the cause of death, until he saw medical reports and the video.

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