Kelly Thomas Verdict: Father, Protesters Speak Out Against Not Guilty Verdicts

On Jan. 13, 2014, a jury in Orange County, California, acquitted former Fullerton Police Department officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli of criminal charges after they were accused of beating and killing Kelly Thomas, a male drifter with schizophrenia. Ramos was charged with involuntary manslaughter and second degree murder and Cicinelli with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force. Residents and supporters of the Thomas family were shocked by the verdict and gathered outside the Fullerton Department, January 18, to protest.

"The people are very angry," said Ron Thomas, father of Kelly Thomas. "There was no justice by these jurors who just didn't get it [...] If a bad cop wants to do something to us, they can."

Many protestors were baffled as to why jurors did not convict the officers after they saw video, audio, and images of the horrific incident. "Everyone can see the beating, it's online. And the fact that the jury saw that beating and they said not guilty ... I have not words," said one protestor to Reason TV.

Ron Thomas thanked supporters for showing up and said that he had been talking with federal authorities who said they have been examining the case to see if they would file charges against the officers. (Read Jacob Sullum's argument about why trying the case again in a federal court - however understandable and well-intentioned - would constitute double jeopardy.)

Cicinelli told the Orange County Register, Jan. 15, that he will take the legal means necessary to try and get his job back as a Fullerton Police Officer, although Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes has said he will fight these efforts:

“I was wrongfully terminated. How do you argue with a jury of 12 who all agree on the same thing?” he said. “They sat through the whole trial and heard all the facts.”

He also cited the trial testimony of Fullerton Cpl. Stephen Rubio, his training officer, who testified that Cicinelli’s actions during the struggle with Thomas were within department policy.

If legal channels to get his job back are unsuccessful, Cicinelli is unclear on other options.

“I just have to see where this takes me,” he said. “It’s like starting over. … My whole life has been stopped.”

Fullerton Police arrested at least 14 people at the rally after some protestors blocked intersections, vandalized property, assaulted a news photographer, and refused to disperse after being ordered. From Voice of OC:

Kelly Thomas’ father, Ron, has repeatedly called for protests to remain peaceful. But, he says, a “splinter group” showed up on Saturday.

“I think that they are people who take advantage of an opportunity,” Thomas said in an interview, adding that another TV news reporter was surrounded in her van earlier in the week.

“That’s not what we’re about at all,” he said. “We never have been.”

Approximately 3:14.

Produced by Paul Detrick.

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  • sarcasmic||

    Can't watch. Too depressing.

  • ||

    Actually, seeing that many people in the streets protesting the verdict was pretty uplifting.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    He also cited the trial testimony of Fullerton Cpl. Stephen Rubio, his training officer, who testified that Cicinelli’s actions during the struggle with Thomas were within department policy.


    Department policy Your rights.

    *mic drop*

  • amelia||

    Yeah, "fuck you up" was off-color but within legitimate professional parameters of "contingent threat." Like anyone is concerned about Ramos' use of profanity. Whatever befalls the people who contributed to Kelly's death or his killers' defense, I'll never have a shred of sympathy.

  • Mainer2||

    My whole life has been stopped.

    Spoken without a hint of irony or self awareness

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    For sure.

  • OneOut||

    At least all of the cops made it home safely that day.

    That seems to have become their mantra for all abuses these days.

  • amelia||

    Ramos cried tears of relief at the verdict but expressed sympathy for Kelly's dad because he has three sons himself. The man should be suicidal with shame and grief over his actions, but apparently doesn't seem to care one bit.

  • BLEEDINELL||

    And they wonder why we value our rights so much. Maybe because we're losing them?

  • Paul.||

    Losing them?

  • SForza||

    The girl in blue with the megaphone distracted me.

  • Homple||

    The jury might have factored worry about police reprisals into their not guilty verdict. There are lots of ways for the police to mess up anyone's life. If the cops think it's ok to beat someone to death, they would certainly be capable of planting a bag of white powder in someone's car after a "routine" traffic stop, for example.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The jury foreman is a practicing attorney in OC - a real press would investigate a possible conflict of interest there.

  • Paul.||

    True, but what kind of practicing attorney.

  • amelia||

    The scumbag kind?

  • Free Society||

    It's interesting that by seemingly random selection, a member of the local law cartel was seated in the jury.

  • amelia||

    Appalling. No chance he had an outsize influence on the jury, I suppose.

  • Loki||

    If something were to happen to these two officers in the line of duty, I really wouldn't shed a tear.

  • croaker||

    Or even not in the line of duty. Found dead under circumstances that lead to the belief they led a secret life of gay love, for example.

  • MSimon||

    Molesting children - male and female - would be better.

  • James Taggart||

    Nazi death camp guards also followed departmental procedure.

  • Brandybuck||

    Way to go black flag anarchists, you just put your face on this issue and ruined it. Fucktards.

  • Ross Adams||

    This agonizes me to the core. How horrendous must it get?

  • Prime||

    "My whole life has been stopped," said the thug who unjustifiably killed someone.

    Not yet, it hasn't.

  • croaker||

    360 grains of Trepanizine will stop it.

  • XM||

    Following the Zimmerman acquittal, the terrible LAT (and the even more terrible Robin Abcarian) declared that SYG meant hunting season on black people, the NRA Was the devil, and that George Zimmeran should have deferred to legal authorities.

    But their reaction to the Kelly Thomas verdict? Muted at best. Steve Lopez said it was too bad it happened, but his death can now be used to empower the state to herd more mentally ill individuals to treatment centers.

    You know, the left really hates Sarah Palin and the Republicans. They jump on the police if they shot a black kid. "Oh they only shot him because he's black" But they totally ignore tragedies like this. Can you really not care for someone if they're not among the protected class?

  • SutureSelf||

    "Fullerton Police arrested at least 14 people at the rally after some protestors...refused to disperse after being ordered."

    Congress shall make no law respecting...the right of the people peaceably to assemble until the police say the magic word.

  • croaker||

    This is a police state. You only think you have rights.

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