'He committed no crime,' Says Lawyer of Cop Charged With Kelly Thomas' Murder
The attorney representing Fullerton Officer Manuel Ramos says his client was just doing his job and "committed no crime," when it comes to the death of Kelly Thomas, the homeless man beaten by cops during a violent confrontation. Yesterday, the Orange County District Attorney announced that Ramos and one other Fullerton policeman, Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, would face criminal charges in Thomas' death.
Thomas died of severe brain trauma and other physical injuries sustained while Ramos, Cicinelli, and other policemen attempted to subdue the mentally ill man at a local transit center.
Relatives of the accused are also chiming in, urging that the public not condemn Ramos unless he is found guilty by the court, reports ABC7.
Ramos' attorney, John Barnett explains his client's innocence:
"He was confronted with a suspect who was combative and refused to comply with his lawful order. He was non-compliant, resisted and set these tragic events in motion. To charge a peace officer with murder under these circumstances is unprecedented and just wrong."
OC DA Tony Rackauckas says Ramos was the instigator of the confrontation with Thomas, and that he willfully inflicted the blows that ultimately led to his death. Rackauckas describes evidence detailing Ramos informing Thomas he was about to "eff him up," ahead of the brutal beating.
Ramos will be arraigned Monday on one felony count of second degree murder and one felony count of involuntary manslaughter. He is being held in jail in lieu of $1 million bail. Cicinelli pleaded not guilty Wednesday, and was released on bail.