Kelly Thomas Trial: Family, Strangers Recall Violent Encounters

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Defense attorneys for two Fullerton police officers charged with beating a mentally ill homeless man to death went through six witnesses in less than an hour Thursday, many of whom recalled violent encounters with the man, Kelly Thomas.

ron thomas kelly fullerton
Ron Thomas, the father of slain Kelly Thomas, hugs Marlena Carrillo outside the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana after the arraignment hearing. (Credit / LA Times / September 21, 2011)

Attorneys for former officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, who are charged in Thomas’ 2011 death, have previously said they planned to present evidence to show Thomas was not the docile victim the public has been led to believe he was after video of the beating surfaced.

The 33-minute video, which shows officers repeatedly striking Thomas with batons and also using a Taser, caused an uproar in Fullerton. Thomas, a schizophrenic homeless man who was a well-known fixture in the city, died five days after he clashed with police July 5, 2011.

Ramos is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, Cicinelli iwith involuntary manslaughter and excessive force.

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