The graphic and disturbing video above was played at a hearing on Monday to determine whether two police officers in California should stand trial in the fatal beating of a homeless man.
The video above showed officers kicking and punching Kelly Thomas, who was mentally ill, as he lay on the ground screaming and begging for help.
[UPDATE BELOW: See below for an update on this case]
The violence begins at around the 15:20 mark above.
Thomas died five days after the July 5, 2011 beating.
Manuel Ramos, a 10-year veteran of the police force, has been charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, while Cpl. Jay Patrick Cicinelli faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and felony use of excessive force.
Both police officers have pleaded not guilty.
The police beating video begins with with Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man with schizophrenia, sitting and being instructed by Ramos to extend his feet and put his hands on his knees.
The officers were responding to a call about a homeless man peering into car windows and pulling on the handles of several parked vehicles.
Thomas is slow to comply with the officer’s instructions.
Ramos then tells him: “You see my fists? They’re getting ready to f–k you up.”
An unarmed and shirtless Thomas stands up as another officer walks over. They then begin beating him with their batons and restrain him on the ground as he cries out for help.
“Ok, I’m sorry, dude. I’m sorry!” he screams. At one point, Thomas tells the police officers that he is unable to breathe. The cops tell him to lie on his stomach, put his hands behind his back, and relax.
“Ok, here, here, dude, please!” he says.
Other officers then swarm onto the scene, as it obviously takes an army of mighty police officers to subdue a mentally ill homeless man.
One officer then uses a Taser gun on Thomas.
Eventually, Thomas starts crying out for help, and near the end of the beating, he cries out for his father, not unlike a certain biblical figure of note: “Dad! Help me. Help me. Help me, dad.”
Finally, his voice gets softer and begins to trail off.
Near the end of the video, Kelly Thomas is seen lying in a pool of blood as the police officers wonder aloud what to do next.
One of them is heard saying: “We ran out of options so I got to the end of my Taser and I … smashed his face to hell.”
Thomas ended up suffering brain injuries, facial fractures, rib fractures, and extensive bruising and abrasions, according to prosecutors.
The Orange County coroner has listed the death as a homicide and said he died after having his chest compressed, leaving him unable to breathe.
The FBI is also investigating possible civil rights violations after viewing the ugly police beating video.
Six Fullerton police officers, including Ramos and Cicinelli, were put on paid leave after Kelly Thomas’ death.
UPDATE: A California judge ordered yesterday (Wednesday) that Ramos and Cicinelli stand trial for Kelly’s death.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Walter Schwarm scheduled the next hearing in the case on May 22.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who’s prosecuting the case, told reporters that he expected defense attorneys to challenge Wednesday’s ruling in a motion and possibly an appeal.
Rackauckas said the case “was a terrible incident, and we’re going to proceed forward and get justice.”
“This is a hard thing to file, a case of this nature against police officers, because we have tremendous law enforcement in Orange County,” Rackauckas told reporters.
“This kind of incident is very damaging to the community – to everybody, the police, the community – because it erodes that trust.
“It brings down the image of the entire community,” the county’s elected prosecutor said.
Ron Thomas, Kelly Thomas’ father, told the media after the ruling that the Fullerton Police Department “is full of good officers.”
“It’s just this band of criminals, these hoodlums,” Ron Thomas added.
Ron Thomas noted he and other family members had worked in law enforcement for “generations.”
He said his son would have “never thought a police officer would beat him to death.”
- Video of deadly arrest unveiled in court (kshb.com)
- Doctor: Chest compression led to CA homeless death (sacbee.com)
- ‘Help me,’ homeless man begs as cops fatally beat him in videotaped incident (news.blogs.cnn.com)
- Kelly Thomas Beating Video Introduced As Evidence In Homeless Man’s Murder Trial (inquisitr.com)
- Kelly Thomas hearing: Violent photos from beating death shock hearing attendees (12160.info)