View Full Version : Kelly Thomas vs COPS , round 2 or will the FBI whitewash it ?

01-14-2014, 06:16 AM

Kelly Thomas verdict: FBI to examine trial evidence, testimony

By Paloma Esquivel and Robert J. Lopez

9:26 PM PST, January 13, 2014

The FBI said Monday that it would examine evidence in the Kelly Thomas police beating death trial to "see if further investigation is warranted."

The bureau launched an investigation in 2011 to determine whether Thomas' civil rights were violated when he was beaten by officers after being stopped for questioning at a Fullerton transit depot.

Thomas, a 37-year-old schizophrenic homeless man who was a fixture in downtown Fullerton, died five days after the July 5 confrontation.

"With the conclusion of the state court trial, investigators will examine the evidence and testimony to determine whether further investigation is warranted at the federal level," FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller in Los Angeles said in a statement.

She declined to comment further.

Reactions ranged from rage to measured acceptance Monday after an Orange County jury found that two former Fullerton Police Department officers were not guilty of beating Thomas to death.

On Monday night, about 100 demonstrators gathered at the transit depot where the beating had taken place. Some held candles or waved signs that said "Justice for Kelly Thomas." Some in the crowd wept quietly. Among those in attendance were Thomas' parents, Ron and Cathy.

Demonstrators later moved to the Fullerton police station.

The three-week trial ended Monday with jurors rejecting second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges against Manuel Ramos and involuntary manslaughter and excessive force charges against Jay Cicinelli.

Both former police officers lowered their heads, and Cicinelli's attorney, Mark Schwartz, pounded his fist on the table before hugging his client. Thomas' family wept softly.

Cicinelli was ecstatic, Schwartz said.

“He was relieved, after 2 1/2 years of having this over your head,” Schwartz said. “We’re just going to have to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.”

The jury reached its verdict after a day of deliberation.

The centerpiece of the prosecution's case was a grainy black-and-white surveillance tape that captured the violent altercation. During closing arguments, Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas, who prosecuted the case, simply played the audio portion of the tape in which Thomas can be heard yelling for help.

While Rackauckas said the tape gave jurors a real-time sense of a homicide taking place, defense attorneys said the video showed that Thomas was the aggressor, fighting the officers so fiercely that they had to call for backup several times.

Defense attorneys said their clients should not be convicted for simply doing their jobs. Ramos' attorney, John Barnett, told reporters: "These peace officers were doing their jobs.... They did what they were trained to do."

It was a rare case for law-and-order Orange County, and the district attorney had staked his reputation on the outcome.

"I would do the same thing again," Rackauckas said. "I think it's a matter that a jury had to see."


01-14-2014, 06:59 AM

During yesterday's testimony in the Kelly Thomas murder trial, a retired FBI supervising special agent and tactical police training expert told jurors that the 37-year-old homeless man had a right to use force to defend himself against two Fullerton police officers who'd essentially converted themselves into heavily armed thugs with badges.
John Wilson, who spent 60 hours studying the gruesome, July 2011, police attack on an unarmed Thomas, said that officer Manuel Ramos began the minor encounter unnecessarily by immediately taking out his baton, swinging it in both hands and poking it at the victim, who hadn't been physically threatening.

But, according to Wilson, the most unprofessional moment prior to the killing occurred when Ramos mocked the schizophrenia-addled Thomas as stupid, dramatically put on gloves as he towered over him and said, "Now, you see my fists? They're getting ready to fuck you up."

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas played related portions of a surveillance tape of the brutality and, over Ramos defense lawyer John Barnett's incessant objections, asked Wilson if he considered the cop conduct appropriate under the circumstances.

"Clearly, no," replied the 26-year FBI veteran, who at one point served on the U.S. Attorney General's protection detail in Washington, D.C. "I have problems with everything that happened after Ramos put the gloves on."

Barnett and Michael Schwartz--the attorney for the other cop on trial, Jay Cicinelli--spent hours trying to trip the unflappable Wilson. For example, they repeatedly mocked the witness as clueless about the demands of "street cops" and that, even though he'd worked narcotics and bank robbery details at the FBI, he'd never had to employ a Taser gun or walk a beat.

Barnett grew incredulous that Wilson refused to back off his expert opinion that when the police began to attack, Thomas had a right to defend himself, including by using lethal force to repel unlawful, violent cop abuse.

The Ramos/Cicinelli loyalists (including off-duty cops) that pack one side of Judge William R. Froeberg's Santa Ana courtroom each day responded by shaking their heads and hissing.

What impact the testimony and defense moves are having on jurors is unknown.

Orange County juries historically have given police officers carte blanche to use deadly force even against unarmed citizens and to lie in official reports that coverup police corruption.

01-14-2014, 08:11 AM

The Ramos/Cicinelli loyalists (including off-duty cops) that pack one side of Judge William R. Froeberg's Santa Ana courtroom each day responded by shaking their heads and hissing.


01-14-2014, 08:31 AM
Every time there is a case like this where thug cops get off there is talk of "the Feds" coming in and correcting the injustice. It hasn't happened yet, and I don't think it ever will. Well, it happened with the Rodney King case, but that was only after a massive riot.

01-14-2014, 11:03 AM
What could it hurt to respectfully urge them -- Laura Eimiller (310) 996-3343 is the FBI spokesperson for this case. The case, the verdict, has me heartbroken.