Is Orange County Proud of Not Guilty Verdicts In Kelly Thomas Murder Trial?

mannyramoshappy.jpg
Media pool photo by The Orange County Register
Ex-Fullerton cop Manny Ramos hugs defense lawyer after not guilty verdicts
Minutes after Jan. 13 verdicts that elated two former Fullerton Police Department cops charged in the beating death of Kelly Thomas, a defeated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas stood in front of a bank of television news cameras and nearly three dozen reporters in hopes of making a graceful exit from a courthouse disaster.

Rackauckas--a conservative, law-and-order Republican--declared that he accepted the jury's relatively swift, eight-hour rejection of his charges against Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, and he floated a sales pitch: He'd succeeded because his goal was for a citizen's panel representing the community to decide if the brutal police killing of the 37-year-old, homeless man in July 2011 had been reasonable.

"The police have to be accountable to the community," said the four-term DA, who insisted he stands by his decision to make history by filing a second-degree murder charge against Ramos, who instigated the fatal encounter with the schizophrenic suspect, as well as lesser charges against Cicinelli, who used the butt of a Taser gun to crush a restrained Thomas' facial bones.

Prior to the Thomas killing, no police officer in Orange County history had been charged with murder for on-duty conduct.

See also: Kelly Thomas Trial: Courthouse Aftermath

When Rackauckas announced charges 845 days before these verdicts, I called it one of his finest moments because--though we have outstanding, decent cops in every department--our county also has a long, disgraceful history of law-enforcement officials covering up sickening cases of police corruption.

Now, from what transpired inside Judge William R. Froeberg's 10th-floor, Santa Ana courtroom, it isn't hyperbole to say OC juries will let thug cops get away with murder--even when such attacks are captured on video-surveillance cameras.

"They got away with murdering my son," a weeping Cathy Thomas told reporters while wiping away tears with a tissue. "It just isn't fair at all."

jaycicinelliverdict.jpg
Media pool photo by The Orange County Register
Jay Cicinelli
John Barnett, seasoned attorney for accused dirty cops and Ramos' representative, told the biggest whoppers of the trial, including that prosecutors conspired with four dishonest doctors to frame the defendants and that Thomas posed a violent, lethal threat necessitating responding deadly force by officers. He also claimed the seven-minute police beating did not cause the death that immediately followed it. In his alternative world, the cause of death will be forever an unsolved mystery.

Barnett took the expected victory lap in front of reporters after the verdicts.

"The jury clearly understood the law and the facts," he said after aggressively walking up to the media microphones on the second floor of the courthouse and crowding out Ron Thomas, the distressed father of the victim. "I thought we had very good facts on our side."

Sadly, the truth is that Barnett and co-counsel Michael Schwartz likely could have limited their high-priced utterances to the assertion of a lone fact--their clients had been on-duty cops during the killing--then sat down in silence for the remainder of the trial and reaped the same verdicts.

The defense lawyers know the quickest way to Orange County jurors' hearts is to remind them, as Barnett continuously did, the defendants patrolled the--don't laugh--"mean streets of Fullerton," kept the public safe from hoodlums and didn't deserve to be second-guessed on "split-second decisions" about using deadly force.

To reinforce that strategy during their closing arguments, Barnett and Schwartz growled in theatrical contempt that the DA had the nerve to question cops who, they said, get up every morning, put on a uniform and risk their lives.

There's nothing original about the tactic we can call the Colonel Nathan R. Jessup defense from A Few Good Men: "I have neither the time nor the inclination to defend myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it!"

But the DA did rightly question the killing of Thomas because it was (to anyone being honest) savagely unnecessary, and while police officers in California enjoy extraordinary, special rights, they don't yet have codified, blanket immunity.

Rackauckas' error wasn't botching a cross-examination. He didn't forget to call an important, trial-altering witness. Some may say he should have filed only excessive force counts and avoided the more sensational murder charge.

In truth, he mistakenly believed he had a fair chance to convince a jury inside our cop-loving county to hold police accountable.

View our Kelly Thomas killing archives here.

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175 comments
SwEtMsry
SwEtMsry

Rackauckas--a conservative, law-and-order Republican-- More like, Rackauckas--a CORRUPT, Mobsters DA, that tries to FOOL the people of OC into THINKING he's a "conservative, law-and-order Republican.  <~~~THAT is comical.  He threw the case.  On purpose.  And it's NOT the first time.  

rayp1353
rayp1353

karma is a bitch.. i hope these motherfuckers die !!!!!!!!!!! an eye for an eye..

wahinewarrior2000
wahinewarrior2000

Go anywhere else but the WEAKLY to get your info....they do stories depending on their advertisements, Mox is good, but even he cant carry this failing rag. Its like a greg diamond circle jerk over there.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

Recently Judge William R. Froeberg a well respected member of the Orange County Courts, gave an interview with his observations on the Kelly Thomas Case.  It was a logical and understandable explanation of why things turned out the way they did.  The Thomas Case was a tragedy and hopefully all of us, especially the men and women of law enforcement have learned a few things and there will be no repeat of the problem in the future.  

CalNewsEditor
CalNewsEditor

We saw the video. Fullerton CA...America's most feckless city, and America's worst police force.

PaulyWalnuts
PaulyWalnuts

Sad,sad,sad. I hope there is a civil suit or something to put these murderers is jail.


DontFeedTheMachine
DontFeedTheMachine

Sick Twisted Corrupt "Authority" System with no backbone of anything virtuous


Who are these people to  claim they have the monopoly on Justice when they are the complete antithesis  of what Justice is.

JrMaybach
JrMaybach

Can we get a count on how many of us live in OC, when was the last time you or someone you know was even notified you might need to report for jury duty?  Ive lived here 17 years and have never even seen a post card summons.  For 3 years when I lived in Whittier myself and everyone one else I know seemed to be summoned every year,  Not to Whittier Court, no DTLA or Compton Courts.  


This is a very high profile case, the officers worked in Fullerton and the trial was in Santa Ana.  Where did the county of Orange go for the pool of jurors? Do we know for sure jury duty is as random as they want us to believe it is?  



deepoli46
deepoli46

I was enraged and deeply disappointed with the verdict. I mentally put myself in the position of a juror in an effort to understand how anyone could have come to that decision and suddenly got a little jolt of fear. Really, in this day and age of impervious, militarized police departments, would YOU want to be part of a jury that put one or two of them in jail for brutality? They know (or can find out) who you are, where you live, where you work. Just not worth the risk. But maybe that's just my little old lady, paranoid vulnerability speaking. 

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

I don't really thnk that these comments are helping in the least because a man was killed by the cops and they are continuing to be killed by the cops for nefarious reasons as if it's helping society.

They removed him from life support and he died as a result of the injuries that were administered to him by police brutality.

ussaisapolicestate
ussaisapolicestate

I brought my family here from Argentina over a decade ago in order to escape the massive corruption, judicial malfeasance, police brutality, excessive taxes, lack of infrastructure, lack of personal freedoms, lack of jobs, financial fraud and lack of rule of law.

NOW it looks like I'm RIGHT BACK WHERE I STARTED!

Time to gather my family, pack it up and leave while I CAN ..I smell a DICTATORSHIP looming on the horizon in AmeriKa. Even going BACK to Argentina (not that I will) seems like a win-win at this point.

roman_archer
roman_archer topcommenter

One more thing to remember: These officers were found to be not guilty. They were not found to be innocent. A civil trial will be most interesting in that Ramos and Cicinelli will not be able to hide behind the 5th amendment as they did in their criminal trial. In a civil trial they will have to testify. I can't wait.

roman_archer
roman_archer topcommenter

I'd like to pose a question to the minority group of two or three posters who are defending the cold blooded savage murder of an unarmed homeless man who had committed no crime: Two different Fullerton police officers testified in the trial that the police officers on scene who administered the beating were acting under department standards. That being said, why were both Cicinelli and Ramos fired from the same department that claims they were acting accordingly to their police training and department procedure?

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

Anyone have a link to trial transcripts where his family members testified that Kelly attacked them 

CRIMECONCERNS
CRIMECONCERNS

The presiding Judge in the case is married to one of Rackauckas' Asst. DA's, and the jury foreman is an OC defense attorney once employed in Rackauckas' office.  This was a set up from the beginning and anyone who thinks differently needs to watch the video again and again, placing one of their loved family members in Kelly's place.  WAKE UP ORANGE COUNTY!  Your DA is corrupt and most of the Judges sitting on the Orange County judicial bench have no clue about appearances of conflict of interest.

warmachine
warmachine

Hell yeah they are. It's OC. Also they had the same defense lawyer for Cicinelli that got the cop off of beating Rodney King years ago.

dickbubkus
dickbubkus

Moxley seems to forget that Thomas smashed his grandfather in the back of the head with a fireplace poker not once, but twice, and for no apparent reason.  He then hit him a third time as he ran down the hallway to a bedroom.  Why did he run to this particular bedroom?  The old guy said because it 1. had a locking door, 2. had a phone inside it, and 3. had a GUN inside it.  His own grandfather was so scared of Thomas that he thought he might have to use a gun to protect himself.  Much more recently, a young woman running a produce stand said she'd been harassed by Thomas for three years and that he threatened to kill her with a pipe after throwing rocks at her produce stand.  Because of the previous harassment, she armed herself with a machete and pepper spray and chased him off during their last contact.  Then there's the unprovoked punching of a Christmas party attendee at the Alano club.  Then....barely six months before his death, Thomas grabbed his mom's throat and choked her for a minute or two.  His own mom gets a restraining order against him only months before he decides to take on the police for six minutes.  The number of unreported acts of violence committed by Thomas will never be known, but that young girl will never be harassed by him again, his grandfather will never be gronked on the head with a metal bar again, john doe citizen will never be punched by him again, and mom will never be choked by him again.  So all you people that think he was just a nice urban outdoorsman, think again.  I'll bet none of you ever even met him.   

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

Anyone know what the ethnic makeup of this jury was?

phildibatu
phildibatu

The fact that Rackaukas is okay with the verdict is proof this was just a horse and pony show.  I have a problem with the fact that he dropped the charges on the 3rd killer, based on this verdict. How telling is that? It was hard enough to corrupt this judge and/or jury.....to do it again would be extremely difficult - nah! Easier to just drop the charges!  You're goin' down Rackaukas!  We know what's up!

dickbubkus
dickbubkus

Dear 18usc241:  you're beginning to sound a lot like Ron Thomas.  "The cops are after me."  The CHP started harassing you after what?  After you began leaving comments on this site?  Garden Grove PD officer "fled the scene" after you were victimized by a criminal psychopath?  Very dramatic, indeed.  Ronnie boy says HBPD cited him because of who he is.  HBPD says he nearly changed lanes into a motor officer and then nearly caused two other cars to collide.  Ronnie then whines to the media and says he plans to fight the citation.  Bring your checkbook to court, R-dog, you'll lose that case, too.  I know, I know.....you'll lose because the traffic judge has it in for you, too.  Freaks.

ussaisapolicestate
ussaisapolicestate

 @ltpar You scoundrel! There is absolutely NOTHING that's 'logical and understandable' about this egregious miscarriage of justice perpetrated by the Orange County judiciary and the uninformed, racist SLOBS that comprise its apathetic JURIES.

What the "men & women of law enforcement" have learned -if anything- from this is that they are now FREE to BEAT, TASER, PUMMEL & MURDER the citizens of this nation with absolute IMPUNITY.

I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you & yours that humanity has already successfully defeated Nazism ONCE and I'm pretty convinced that we can DO IT AGAIN.

PS: I also wanted to add that I find it DISGUSTING to see how you LITERALLY wrap yourself with the American't flag in your icon. Where I come from we wrap turds in toilet paper.

z.true
z.true

The Civil Suit is about money and Ron Thomas "Fred" is getting bupkis!

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@roman_archer Ron Thomas isn't gonna sue these officers directly so it's not going to affect them in the slightest. Fullerton will settle out of court and close some parks, fire some librarians or something. 

ussaisapolicestate
ussaisapolicestate

@roman_archer A civil trial is BULLSHYT wherein JUSTICE will be exchanged for MONEY. If Ron Thomas had any ballz he'd deal out his O W N sentence. 

msbabbit
msbabbit

@vegandawg23 there are about 1000 more sources that covered the trial. Hard to believe people claim to "know" so much and yet lack the basic skills required to obtain that knowledge. This information has been available to the public since the day the testimony was given. 

msbabbit
msbabbit

@vegandawg23  SANTA ANA – The 91-year-old grandfather of a homeless man who died after a July 2011 encounter with Fullerton police testified Thursday that his grandson attacked him with a fireplace poker in 1995.

Walter Dieball said grandson Kelly Thomas “hit me in the head” with the first blow and then struck a second blow “when I was on my knees.”

Dieball said at first he was “too dizzy to stand,” but then managed to get to his bedroom, where he locked the door and called Placentia police.Two Placentia police officers testified later Thursday that Thomas bolted and ran from them after the fireplace-poker incident with his grandfather, and was ultimately apprehended only after one pointed his gun and threatened to shoot.

Thomas pleaded guilty to felony assault with a deadly weapon with a penalty enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury in that case and was sentenced to 270 days in jail.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/thomas-541400-police-witness.html

roman_archer
roman_archer topcommenter

@vegandawg23 I was wondering the same thing.  Care to enlighten us dickbubkis or msbabbit? And please msbabbit, if you reply, please think punctuation and grammar so we can better understand your posts.

deepoli46
deepoli46

@dickbubkus  All of which is irrelevant to this case. Thomas wasn't doing any of this when these police officers beat him to death.

msbabbit
msbabbit

@dickbubkus For what ever reason, people seem to think the totality of factual evidence weighed in this case was ...Illegal. Lol. 

roman_archer
roman_archer topcommenter

@dickbubkus"HBPD says he nearly changed lanes into a motor officer and then nearly caused two other cars to collide".  Yes "Dick", and we all know that what HBPD says is absolute gospel. You do realize that the police spokesman/captain who made those comments was not a witness to the incident? Do you realize that the department spokesman who made those comments Russ Reinhart, is absolutely loathed in this city as a divisive police apologist who always backs his brothers in blue no matter how obviously they are wrong? Please keep posting "Dick". Your comments are pure blogger gold.

ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

@ussaisapolicestate  "Scoundrel," now that's one of the nicest names I have been called in years.  However, your ravings  sound like an a typical older person with preliminary symptoms of Alzheimer's and no one deserves such a fate.

I am guessing you are not from Orange County because our Judges, Juries and Justice System is noted for being on the conservative side. I am also pleased to inform you that your image of the men and women of law enforcement is about as skewed as your brain defect.  No Cop I have ever known, ever gets out of bed in the morning, has his/her bowl of Wheaties and says to their significant other, "Well it's time to go to work and see how many citizens I can fuck up today?"  In actuality, most common is the significant other saying a silent prayer that their loved one will come home in one piece.  Yea, it sounds corny to outsiders who haven't a clue what the real world is like, but Police and Military families face it on a daily basis.

You are absolutely correct in humanity vs Nazism.  I prefer to use the term "Patriots" rather than humanity, because when the brown stuff hits the fan, parts of humanity like yourself, may well go along with the enemy just to get along.  Patriots will stand and be accounted for as they did in early times.  At the head of the line of Patriots will be a vast majority of Police and Military members that you liberals like to demonize.

Lastly, I choose to use an American Flag as part of my background because I believe in what it stands for and have defended it for more than fifty years.  I have earned the right and am proud of it.  Now our educational session is over, take your meds and a nap and hopefully you will feel better when you wake up.  Semper Fidelis.      




vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@msbabbit @vegandawg23 Look no need to beat me to death about this. I don't read the OC Register as they started charging people to read their crap. I asked for trial transcripts as well, which with your superior googling skills you haven't found or posted. Didn't ask for MSM articles, just the facts ma'am. 

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@msbabbit @vegandawg23 For you, msbabbit, to continuously post OC Register story links is evidence of your determination to spew misrepresentations and outright lies. Nobody reasonable here relies on the dwindling Reg for news. Also--by the way--your shameless manipulation of facts are laughable to OC Weekly readers, who know the truth: The police unnecessarily beat Kelly Thomas to death. 

roman_archer
roman_archer topcommenter

@vegandawg23 It appears that msbabbit has provided some bits of the trial transcript several posts below this.

msbabbit
msbabbit

@deepoli46 The vidoe when shown frame by frame also showed only 2 hits to stop Thomas from grabbing the officers weapons as well has the knee compression. Four hits total. That was not disputed in court by anyone. 

Little known fact apparently but, cops are allowed to use lethal force when it comes to preventing a suspect from getting their weapon. 

msbabbit
msbabbit

@deepoli46 If it was not relevant it would not have been allowed. What made the information relevant were two issues .#1-It showed a consistent pattern of violent behavior that required police intervention #2.The testimony and previous police reports submitted showed previous encounters Thomas had with the defendants had resulted in verbal commands working with him. 

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@roman_archer@dickbubkus 

I live in HB as well, so I am all too familiar with the shenanigans of the HBPD. I am also of the opinion that picking on members of a murder victim's family demonstrates an incredible lack of class...so our friend "Dick" is classless as well as clueless.

rlindjr
rlindjr

@ltpar "how many citizens I can f up today.."--No, 

But In Fact, nearly All of them say, in one form or another, " I Will do, Whatever it takes to Minimize, to the Smallest Degree, Any Risk of my Not coming home today, **No Matter What I have to do,or to Whom or how I may have to F' them up,.. EVEN If I am Wrong,....And the System will MOST LIKELY back me up,..,Because I Am Right,,, & because I Must come home,.. & Because That is How the System Works.

That is a fact Itpar, to which You are either naive ? or shrewdly Ignorant; And It IS problem of Society, that ought to deal with,..Sooner than later.

A Hero, is not honored, as you suggest, by donning a uniform 'for 50 years' but by proving his/her principles through performance of the duty.These Officers were not coming to aid of a defenseless citizen being beaten, nor were they facing a gang robbing a bank, or assaulting another officer,, but rather a single thin man, sitting on a curb for some time, as he was requested.

At the very least, incompetent policing practices led to this tragedy, and more accurately a twisted sense of  'Us vs them,,The enemy public, whom We Are superior to, and to whom We do Not owe Any respect..'

Further belying your distorted belief, that only officers are deserving of Rights,is your Definition of Patriot. Defining Patriot as "those at the head of the line against Nazi-like invaders" does not hold water. Even in Our Nations First War, The Revolutionary War, It was Militiamen,, "minutemen" that were the front line against the invaders, not commissioned officers. 

Militiamen were/are everyday citizens,,they are everyday men and women ,,that are Heroic and deserve highest respect.  As such, non officers have as much right to their criticism of this inappropriate, in fact, Criminal police action, as you, or anyone. 

I am an Oathkeeper myself. And I am glad to see you Defend officers all day long, when it's  appropriate. But you become a fool, and you become even much worse,, trying to defend such perverted system, as seen in this case.

rlindjr
rlindjr

@ltpar "how many citizens I can f up today.."--No, 

But In Fact, nearly All of them say, in one form or another, " I Will do, Whatever it takes to Minimize, to the Smallest Degree, Any Risk of my Not coming home today, **No Matter What I have to do,or to Whom or how I may have to F' them up,.. EVEN If I am Wrong,....And the System will MOST LIKELY back me up,..,Because I Am Right,,, & because I Must come home,.. & Because That is How the System Works.

That is a fact Itpar, to which You are either naive ? or shrewdly Ignorant; And It IS problem of Society, that ought to deal with,..Sooner than later.

A Hero, is not honored, as you suggest, by donning a uniform 'for 50 years' but by proving his/her principles through performance of the duty.These Officers were not coming to aid of a defenseless citizen being beaten, nor were they facing a gang robbing a bank, or assaulting another officer,, but rather a single thin man, sitting on a curb for some time, as he was requested.

At the very least, incompetent policing practices led to this tragedy, and more accurately a twisted sense of  'Us vs them,,The enemy public, whom We Are superior to, and to whom We do Not owe Any respect..'

Further belying your distorted belief, that only officers are deserving of Rights,is your Definition of Patriot. Defining Patriot as "those at the head of the line against Nazi-like invaders" does not hold water. Even in Our Nations First War, The Revolutionary War, It was Militiamen,, "minutemen" that were the front line against the invaders, not commissioned officers. 

Militiamen were/are everyday citizens,,they are everyday men and women ,,that are Heroic and deserve highest respect.  As such, non officers have as much right to their criticism of this inappropriate, in fact, Criminal police action, as you, or anyone. 

I am an Oathkeeper myself. And I am glad to see you Defend officers all day long, when it's  appropriate. But you become a fool, and you become even much worse,, trying to defend such perverted system, as seen in this case.

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

@msbabbit@vegandawg23Thanks. Didn't know they Youtubed criminal trials now. Hope I don't go to trial for something. That'd be a bit embarrassing. Might watch some of it.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@rscottmoxley 

"I didn't put you in a prison...I just showed you the bars."

~ V For Vendetta


Thank you for your dedication to the truth, Mr. Moxley.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@roman_archer 

Yeah, I support freedom of speech and the right to express oneself...even if someone is talking out their ass. But even though it is tempting to make "Dick" the "butt" of more jokes...I suppose we must try to restrain ourselves...

roman_archer
roman_archer topcommenter

@FishWithoutBicycle@roman_archer@dickbubkus Ya know what though, I completely support "Dick's" right to come out in a public forum and make an ass of himself (notice I didn't say make a "Dick" of himself. I'm trying to refrain from making too many "Dick" jokes, but with "Dick" it's so "hard").

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