An Inside Look At Ron Thomas' Day At The District Attorney's Office and the Arraignment of The Two Fullerton Policemen Charged

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Marisa Gerber/ OCWeekly
Ron Thomas
As soon as Ron Thomas showed up at the district attorney's office around 10 a.m., reporters and members of "Kelly's Army" swarmed around him. That same clan would be there again an hour later when he learned that the D.A. charged two Fullerton policemen--Officer Manuel Ramos and Corporal Jay Cicinelli--in the beating death of his son Kelly Thomas, and again when he got to look both officers in the eye at their arraignment.

Around 10:15 a.m., Thomas said he knew it was rare for a D.A. to charge policemen. "Hopefully at least manslaughter for two officers. We would certainly have a renewed faith in this district attorney." 

Then, a few minutes before 11, when the press conference was slated to begin, news leaked that one officer had been charged with second-degree murder and another with manslaughter.
Ron rushed through the crowd of reporters and over to Dana and Melissa Pape, Kelly's stepmother and stepsister. He whispered in their ears and then all three of them hugged each other. As a misty-eyed Melissa looked up at her mother, Dana said, "That's good news, baby." 

Then, Ron headed toward a group of supporters from "Kelly's Army," and told them the news. "One for murder and one for manslaughter," he said. Some of the people cried, others stood still and one woman hoisted a sign with Kelly's picture on it into the air and said, "We finally got justice for Kelly." Ron smiled, hugged several people and said he was "ecstatic," but added that he still wanted to hear the news from the D.A. himself. "If this is all true, it'd make me believe the D.A. has done the right thing."

So he and several others walked to a TV news van and watched a live feed of District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' announcement. When Rackauckas said that he was, in fact, charging two officers, one with second-degree murder and one with manslaughter, Ron smiled slightly and nodded his head. 

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Marisa Gerber/ OCWeekly
From inside a TV news van, Ron Thomas watches a live feed of the press conference.
As she listened to Rackauckas describe, in detail, how Ramos threatened and beat her stepbrother, Melissa Pape's chin began to quiver and she looked up, before closing her eyes and burying her face in a Kleenex. Attorney Garo Mardirossian flung his arm over Ron Thomas' shoulder, shook his head and whispered to Ron: "They're telling the truth." Ron responded, "Yes they are." 

A few minutes later, the crowd, including Thomas and his attorney, burst into applause after Rackauckas said, "Citizens have a right to self defense--even against the police." As the press conference finished up inside, the crowd outside circled around Thomas, who said, "I'm very emotional. Extremely happy with the D.A." Mardirossian echoed that, saying, "We must recognize and praise the district attorney." 

The people in the crowd exchanged hugs and words of encouragement. "We, the people of 'Kelly's Army' believe that justice was served. Tony Rackauckas is a hero. He did his job. Thousands of citizens can rest assured that they will have a voice as long as he's the D.A.," said JoAnne AbuQartoumy.

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Marisa Gerber/ OCWeekly
Members of "Kelly's Army" consoling Kelly's step mom and step sister
Some other members of "Kelly's Army," however, wanted more. "I think the other police should be held accountable and we still wanna see the video tape," said Charlotte Cianciola, who has attended several Saturday protests in front of the Fullerton Police Department. 

Mardirossian then whisked Thomas inside the building for a meeting with the district attorney. Thomas later told the Weekly that he was extremely pleased with how the meeting went, adding that Rackauckas answered every question he asked. "We're all on the same team now," Thomas said. 

After about an hour-long meeting, the men came out of the building and fielded a few questions from reporters. When asked what they talked about, Thomas said, "Obviously, I thanked him an awful lot." Later he said, "We came in here expecting the worst and we got the best." When asked about Rackauckas' decision not to charge the four other officers who were involved, Mardirossian said, "We have no criticism against him or the charges in this case." The attorney then stopped the press conference, but said he and Kelly Thomas' family would be at the officers' arraignment later in the afternoon. 

A few minutes before 2 p.m., a crowd poured into Judge Erick Larsh's courtroom, which is only a five-minute walk from the district attorney's office. Kelly Thomas' family and several members of "Kelly's Army" showed up to see what would happen in the two cases: People vs. Ramos and People vs. Cicinelli. 

Ramos, who wore and striped blue shirt and sat with his hands cuffed behind his back, pleaded not guilty, as did Cicinelli, who wasn't handcuffed, because he had already posted $25,000 bail. When Larsh asked Rackauckas, who is prosecuting the case, about his thoughts on Ramos' bail, Rackauckas deferred to Ron Thomas, who asked the judge not to reduce the bail. 

Thomas later told the Weekly that he got a look at Ramos when he went up to speak to the judge. "He looked the way he should--in handcuffs," Thomas said, adding that he thought both policemen looked like "cowards, lonely cowards." 

Michael Schwartz, who is representing Cicinelli, didn't answer any questions after the arraignment. "There will be a day, not today," he told reporters.

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Pool photo by Paul Rodriguez/ The Orange County Register
Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, left, and Officer Manuel Ramos at their arraignment



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9 comments
Wholetruth2012
Wholetruth2012

Ron Thomas is a piece of work and a media-whore. There isn't a medium that he doesn't want his mug on. When local PDs would call him about his son his response was, "He's your problem now."But now with a BIG payday in the horizon he has all the time in the world.

For the record he was NEVER in law enforcement like he keeps saying in interviews. He was dismissed from the academy for being incompetent. When confronted with the truth he no longer wishes to comment. Why doesn't the media ask him the hard questions?

Freetibetbooks
Freetibetbooks

I'm astonished that everyone is so naive, Kelly was on the street for a long time, like all street people, everyone including his family just got used to it and accepted it, never imagining that the real reason people are homeless is not mental illness, or disenfranchisement it's Mony; the 'support groups' take in an average of one million dollars each month to pay lip service to helping anyone, if they got people off of the street their grants would dry up, open your eyes, the homeless are deliberately subjugated, just listening to Ron I can tell which 'support' party line he has been propagandized by. There is no hope now, because he so socked in, look, here is a letter that I wrote to my lawyer about it:Douglasbarker.esq@gmail.comDear Doug, Maybe you knew the Kelly Thomas family, they went off on me when I offered to give them the proceeds from the sale of the book, The Jabberwocky, so I had to reinstall it on blurb, maybe the preview will be up tomorrow, his pic is on one page, and there is some commentary about him on another, it's a book about the roots of homelessness, Kelly’s family threatened to sue me, then I found that they never even so much as looked at the cover of the book, to come up with an endless diatribe defaming me, they certainly didn't read it, some stranger who doesn't know any of us and has never been to the preview site had been emailing Ron (Kelly's dad) every day on his blog with long winded diatribes about me, stating that I was exploiting Kelly. I still have no idea of who she is or why she would say all of that. Aside from the fact that she was probably drunk and bored, but what seems sad to me is that Ron got really nasty about it, actually I think that it was Ron's brother, it definitely was a Thomas, and he definitely had bought a lot of misinformation, but anyway one of them put some really stupid nasty comments regarding my efforts up on his site, not for any reason other than he is so jealous of all of the money he's making in donations on the Kelly memorial site, that he cares more about that than about Kelly's memory, he didn't like Kelly when Kelly was alive, according to Kelly, actually I think that he towed the cop line, regarding the homeless, but how that Kelly is dead, Ron is the most devoted father on earth, harvesting his memory, while accusing me of doing same, sight unseen. What a creep. It's like a wolves den over there, they are all so vicious and ravenous to get something off of Kelly's memory. All of the Charities who banned Kelly when he was alive are jealously sucking in millions from his death. Kelly didn't have anything good to say about any of them when they could have been his benefactors, and now he is their benefactor. Mary's kitchen had banned Kelly yet they were so happy to accept a donation from Ron's wife that they had the police escort Mrs. Wyatt off of the property when she tried to tell Ron's wife that Mary's had kicked Kelly out. All of these people were meaner than cat shit to Kelly when he was on the street; now that he is in the grave they pat themselves on the back saying they had been his 'support.' Anyway it makes me all the happier that I wrote an expose about it. You should email Kathy, ask her about Gloria getting the cops to tell her that Mary’s is exempt from the law, and they would arrest Kathy for telling Ron's wife the truth. How much further would one have to look for the cause of homelessness than at the commercialization of it. People are not as stupid as they are greedy.

Michael Müller
Michael Müller

While I totally agree with the charges against the police officers,there is one question I simply don't get out of my head:How come a mentally ill person lives on the street?How can a father ignore the problems of his homeless child?The real crime was negligence and that happend years ago.

Phil Marlowe
Phil Marlowe

Still don't understand how a man allows his mentally ill son to live on the streets.

TheRefriedMexican
TheRefriedMexican

Am I the only that's not happy with the fact that the other 4 police officers who did nothing to stop Kelly's beating are going to be let off the hook!? What about Cicinelli? He tasered Kelly and beat him with said taser, yet only faces Manslaughter charges!? That's BS

Mikey
Mikey

And you never will until you are faced with an awful situation as this family was. Having a mentally ill family member is heartbreaking and challenging in so many ways. Its a major challenge raising them as minors and it becomes extremely more challenging as they reach adulthood and you can no longer control them but dont want to have them commited becuase that is your child that you love, mentally ill or not.

Lopez lupe
Lopez lupe

Well i agree with you 100% percent but at least 2  out of 6 is not bad considering the  fact that police always get their way just look at past incidents with police beatings they always get off the hook. So sad Kellly had to die this way .I dont think they coul've lied anyway too many witnesses and videos .

Michael Müller
Michael Müller

I have a mentally ill uncle (49) and a mentally ill nephew (21).

Yes, they a re a burden on the whole family, but none of us would ever toss them out to the street.

TheRefriedMexican
TheRefriedMexican

Sorry but I'm not buying that argument Lupe. "Because cops get away with it all the time, let's be happy that 2 of the 6 got charged". All 6 should be charged. Period!

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