Time: 05-09-2012
A4 |
THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2012
|
20:56
User: cdye
PubDate: 05-10-2012
NATION |
THE COURIER-JOURNAL
Zone: KY
Edition: 1 Page Name: A 4 Color:
Black
Yellow
Magenta
Cyan
courier-journal.com
KY
2 Calif. officers face trial in homeless death
By Amy Taxin
Associated Press
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Two
Southern California police
officers were ordered
Wednesday to stand trial in
the death of a mentally ill
homeless man following a
violent arrest last summer.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Walter
Schwarm made the ruling
after a hearing that included surveillance video of the
confrontation between the
officers and 37-year-old
Kelly Thomas in the city of
Fullerton.
Officer Manuel Ramos
is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Cpl.
Jay Cicinelli is charged
with involuntary manslaughter and assault or
battery by a public officer.
Both have pleaded not
guilty.
The officers confronted
Thomas while responding
to reports that a homeless
man was looking into
parked cars at a transit
center.
“This is another victory,
on another battle,” said
Thomas’
father,
Ron.
“We’re going to start a new
one with the trial.”
John Barnett, Ramos’
attorney, said he would
seek another court’s review of Schwarm’s ruling
and did not expect his client would end up facing a
jury trial.
“We’re
disappointed
that they were held to answer but we will seek review in an appropriate
manner,” he told reporters
after the ruling. “He believes, and he is innocent.”
Orange County District
Attorney Tony Rackauckas
said during the hearing
that Ramos bullied a shirtless Thomas with his menacing remarks and aggressive stance — actions that
would have led anyone to
fear they were about to get
beaten by police.
“Any person, any creature on this earth would
have fear at that point,”
Rackauckas told the court
during the preliminary
hearing.
“You’re going to fight or
flee because this is an imminent threat of a serious
beating by a police officer
who is there with a baton
and a gun and other police
officers…. This is going to
be a very bad deal,” the
prosecutor said.
Defense
attorneys
countered that police —
who are authorized and
trained to use force when
necessary — viewed the incident as an encounter with
a man who refused to give
his name and continued to
resist arrest even as multiple officers assisted.
The three-day hearing
was marked by repeated
showing of clips from surveillance video and audio
recordings of the confrontation. The footage includes scenes of officers
pummeling Thomas as he
screams he can’t breathe
and moans for his father
until he goes silent and is
taken away by medics,
leaving behind a pool of
blood.
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CJ-0000332406
Craig Buthod, director of the
Louisville Free Public Library,
said the Louisville system has
both electronic and print
copies and does not plan on
removing them from the
inventory.
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