Open Federal Investigation into Violent Murder of Homeless Man

fullerton police

Target: Barry Ted Moskowitz, United States District Court for the Southern District of California

Goal: Open a federal case against police officers who brutally beat a mentally ill homeless man to death

Two California police officers were recently acquitted of the murder of a mentally ill homeless man. While investigating a vandalism call, the officers encountered Kelly Thomas, confused and shirtless, in the area. When the man did not seem to be responding to their questions, they called for backup and became aggressive with the man. After suffering a beating from six police officers, Thomas died of his injuries in hospital five days later.

The violent altercation began when schizophrenic Thomas, disheveled and distracted, allegedly did not comply with an officers demands to search him. After his partner called for backup, officer Manuel Ramos proceeded to threaten Thomas, stating “I am going to f**k you up.”

Surveillance videos show the officers punching and kicking Thomas repeatedly in the face and body. They then restrained him and used a stun gun on him several times before striking his head with the butt of the weapon. Throughout the ten-minute attack, Thomas screamed apologies at the officers and begged them to stop.

Upon arrival, a paramedic testified that he was told to attend to a minor wound on one of the officers first. He then noticed Mr. Thomas, lying unconscious in a pool of blood on the floor. Thomas’ injuries were too severe to be treated at the facility, and had to be transported elsewhere to receive emergency care.

Five days later, Kelly Thomas was taken off life support–he would never recover. The cause of death was listed as asphyxiation caused by the chest-compressing nature of his injuries. Also contributing to his death were brain injuries, multiple bones broken in the face and ribs, and extensive bruises and abrasions caused by the attack. A toxicology report found no alcohol or drugs in Thomas’ bloodstream.

Officer Ramos was acquitted of second degree murder in relation to the incident, and former corporal Jay Cicinelli was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force. This type of violent attack on the mentally ill should not be tolerated, especially from those sworn to serve and protect. Ask that the case be reopened in a Federal court.


Dear Barry Ted Moskowitz, United States District Court for the Southern District of California,

Recently, two police officers were acquitted of murder, manslaughter, and excessive force charges in the death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man. After encountering the man while on a vandalism call, the officers became violent when the confused man did not respond to their requests. The officers punched, kicked, and used a stun gun on the man repeatedly, and even beat him with the back end of the stun gun for ten minutes.

The man had to be transported to hospital to receive emergency treatment for several broken bones, open wounds, and severe bruises. Unable to recover, he died five days later in the hospital–he suffered brain damage and a compressed chest, which left him unable to breathe.

These former officers must be held accountable for their roles in beating an unarmed, mentally ill man to death. I ask that the cases against Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli be investigated on a federal level.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Torture in Egypt via Creative Commons

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