Two ex-cops acquitted in beating death of homeless man in California

Jan. 13, 2014 at 8:54 PM
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FULLERTON, Calif., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Two former Fullerton, Calif., police officers were found not guilty Monday in the beating death of a mentally ill homeless man.

After an Orange County jury acquitted Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli in the death of Kelly Thomas, prosecutors said they would not pursue a trial against a third Fullerton officer charged in the case, the Los Angeles Times reported. The deliberations lasted less than one day.

Ramos and Cicinelli were charged with hitting Thomas with a baton and firing a stun gun at him last July. The homeless man died five days after the incident, which was caught on surveillance video.

"These peace officers were doing their jobs. ... They did what they were trained to do," Ramos' attorney, John Barnett, told reporters.

Ramos was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Cicinelli was charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force under the color of authority.

While prosecutors contended the officers were criminal in delivering a fatal beating, defense attorneys said the officers were faced with the task of restraining a strong and violent suspect.

Thomas died of brain damage from lack of oxygen caused by chest compression and other injuries suffered in his confrontation with the officers, a coroner concluded.

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