Fullerton cops are not above the law

A menacing figure holds his large fists in the air, as he slips on gloves in front of the victim.

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By Chad Arias / Staff Writer

(Calwatch)

By Chad Arias / Staff Writer

A menacing figure holds his large fists in the air, as he slips on gloves in front of the victim. “You see these fists? They are getting ready to…you up.”

It doesn’t take a film buff to know that the description given sounds like a scene straight out of “The Godfather.” One would never expect to hear that this “menacing figure” was a cop, tormenting and threatening the very existence of a homeless man by the name of Kelly Thomas.

On July 5, the Fullerton Police Department received a call that a homeless man was looking into car windows and pulling on their door handles.

Officers Manny Ramos and Joe Wolfe were the first to arrive on the scene where they confronted and detained Thomas.

Thomas was not placed under arrest nor was he even patted down, thus leading one to conclude that the officers did not see Thomas as a threat.

According to the press release given by the Orange County District Attorney, Tony Rackauckas, the following event then took place: Ramos ordered Thomas to “put his legs straight out and place his hands on his knees.”

However, Thomas was previously diagnosed with schizophrenia and other cognitive thinking issues, so the order given was not properly carried out.

“After several minutes of increasingly aggressive instructions, Ramos is accused of escalating the contact to a physical altercation,” Rackauckas said in the press release.

Thomas, upon hearing these threats to his life, got up from the curb and began to step away. All hell broke loose soon after.

Ramos grabbed his baton, tackled Thomas, and continually punched him in the ribs. Officer Jay Cicinelli eventually arrived on the scene, joining Ramos and Wolfe in the beatdown, proceeding to taser Thomas four times.

In the moments that followed, Cicinelli used the front end of his taser eight times to smash in the face of Thomas and knee him in the head twice. Four other officers arrived during this time in the beating and voluntarily assisted in Thomas’ detainment.

In total, the ordeal lasted approximately ten minutes, leaving Thomas motionless and in handcuffs.

“Thomas’ injuries included brain injuries, facial fractures, rib fractures, and extensive bruising and abrasions,” the press release said. He was pronounced dead from head trauma at the UC Irvine Medical Center on July 10.

Policemen are given the right to use reasonable force while making an arrest or detainment.  However, the term “reasonable force” is left up to the discernment of the policemen during the altercation.

Policemen are only human, therefore making them susceptible to errors in their judgment.

Naturally, mistakes are made every day, but when those mistakes cost a man his life, retribution must be sought.

The government grants policemen power, but only under the premise that they know when and how much of it to use.

In this case, Ramos and Cicinelli beat a helpless, homeless, and schizophrenic man innocent of any actual wrongdoing to death.

Does it really take six police officers to subdue a homeless man?

With that said, is it even moral to taser him four times while smashing his face into the curb so many times that he accumulates brain trauma resulting in his death?

The actions made by both Ramos and Cicinelli can be classified as unreasonable, excessively forceful, and downright heartless.

Thomas reportedly cried out during the beating, “I’m sorry! Dad! Help me!” but to no avail. The feeding frenzy of sharks smelled blood in the water.

It took about a month for the death of Kelly Thomas to circulate throughout the media, garnering much local attention in the process.

His persistent father, Ron Thomas, is one of the main reasons these actions were even brought to light.

Police are infamous for covering up their ill-natured actions and burying anyone who dares to speak out against them. In the early 1990s, the acquittal of officers in the beating of Rodney King led to riots that spread throughout Los Angeles.

The officers present during the Kelly Thomas incident have since been put on administrative leave and will continue to receive full pay and benefits while the city completes its own investigation of the crime, according to officials.

Ramos and Cicinelli, however, have been charged with second-degree murder.

In the two months before these men were charged, they spent that time on administrative leave as well and continued to receive their pay from Orange County tax payers.

Policemen should not get away with abusing their power to such a degree that would result in an innocent man’s death. Our police force are in place to protect the peace, not to cause the mayhem themselves.

A harsh sentence should be given to Ramos and Cicinelli, and it should be harsh enough to show all police officers that they may be able to enforce the law, but they are not above it.

  

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