Kelly Thomas, a 37-year old schizophrenic and homeless man, was beaten to death by police in Orange County, California. Authorities say that Thomas was a drug addict with a history of violence that had ruined his brain through an addiction to methamphetamine and LSD since the 10th grade. Thomas, who was known around the town as “Crazy Kelly,” screamed in agony as he suffered devastating injuries from the police officers who beat him. He panicked and insisted that he couldn’t breathe as he was gasping for air and begging for his dad to rescue him as the cops beat him unconscious on June 5th, 2011.
His father was nowhere near the incident while Thomas endured the beating. The Coroner’s report showed that Thomas died from a crushed thorax, causing a cutoff of oxygen to his brain.
The two officers who were responsible for the brutal and unnecessary attack were recorded on video. They went to trial this week where one of them, Manuel Ramos, was charged with murder. The other, Jay Cicinelli, was charged with involuntary manslaughter. This is the first time in Orange County history that a cop has gone on trial for murder.
Prosecutors claim the surveillance video shows Ramos taunting the mentally ill man until he’s so frightened he tries to run, giving the cops an excuse to tackle and pound him into submission. On the video, before the beating starts, Ramos can be heard reprimanding Thomas:
“It seems like every day, we have to talk to you about something. … Do you enjoy it?” The officer later puts on plastic gloves and continues to taunt the confused, homeless man. “Now see my fists?” the officer asked. “They are getting ready to f*** you up.”
The defense lawyers are claiming that Thomas reached for the officer’s gun, which was not shown on video. Apparently, Thomas has a long history with the law and drug abuse.
No drugs were found in Thomas’ system the night he was brutally beaten by the police. His family says that his history of run-ins with the cops, mostly over such petty offenses as vandalism and urinating in a public water fountain, is irrelevant when it comes to what happened on that night outside a bus station more than two years ago.
“It doesn’t matter what my son did in his life, it just doesn’t matter,” said Thomas’s father, Ray. “It’s what the officers did that night. That’s what this trial’s about.”
WARNING: This video contains graphic content: