Trial ordered for police in beating death

May 10, 2012 at 12:04 AM
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SANTA ANA, Calif., May 10 (UPI) -- A judge ordered two Fullerton, Calif., police officers to stand trial in the death of a mentally ill homeless man, after watching video of them beating the man.

Officer Manuel Ramos, 38, has been charged with the second-degree murder of Kelly Thomas, while he and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli are charged with involuntary manslaughter, the Los Angeles Times reported. Cicinelli also faces an excessive force charge.

Lawyers for the two officers blamed paramedics for Thomas' death, but Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Ramos "turned a routine encounter into a brutal beating death." A medical examiner ruled that Thomas was killed by chest compression and bleeding.

Video shows Thomas, naked from the waist up, being beaten as he lay on the ground.

"Dad, they are killing me," he calls at one point.

Ron Thomas, the victim's father, described the results of the preliminary hearing as "another victory."

"I won't say I am happy," he said.

Ramos faces as much as 15 years in prison if he is convicted and Cicinelli four.

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