Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Photo: Kelly Thomas pleas during beating

A compelling photo from the trial of former Fullerton, California, police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli in the murder of a homeless man they were detaining has made it’s way onto, and is going viral. The officers were acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force in a jury trial. Here, the prosecution’s presentation enumerating the pleas of the mentally ill man during the fatal beating.


At around 8:30 p.m. on the night of July 5, 2011, a homeless schizophrenic man named Kelly Thomas, 37, got the attention of police. Their attempt to search him resulted in a beating by six officers that was captured on video and has been compared to the infamous beating of Rodney King, only this time the victim died. In 2012, the acting chief of Fullerton police posthumously exonerated Kelly Thomas of any presumed wrongdoing in connection with the case.

The FBI has started a federal investigation to determine whether Thomas’ civil rights were violated during the beating, and his father, Ron Thomas, a former Orange County Sheriff’s deputy, is planning a civil suit. Kelly Thomas’ mother, who is divorced from Ron Thomas, is litigating separately. The City of Fullerton settled out of court with her to the tune of $1 million.

Kelley Thomas R.I.P.

Kelly Thomas R.I.P.


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