Kelly Thomas Death: Two Officers to Stand Trial For Homeless Man's Beating

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Two police officers in Fullerton, Calif., have been ordered to stand trial for the death of Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old mentally ill homeless man.

Thomas died in July 2011 from injuries sustained during a violent arrest by six Fullerton officers, part of which can be seen in the video below.

Fullerton police officer Manual Ramos approached Thomas while responding to a call that someone was peering into cars at the town bus depot.

Surveillance video at the depot was running during the incident, and officer Ramos was also recorded by a device he was wearing on his uniform.

Synced together, the audio and video formed the key evidence shown in court during a preliminary hearing to decide whether to try the officers.

Kelly Thomas, who is shirtless and sporting a full beard the night of the arrest, was a well-known fixture at the bus depot before that night.

In the video, Manual Ramos approaches him and tells him repeatedly to extend his feet in front of him and to put his hands on his knees.

After several minutes, the tape shows a visibly annoyed Ramos putting on latex gloves and, using expletives, threatening Thomas with his fists.

The confrontation escalates, and Thomas is seen trying to run from Ramos, who hits him with a baton. Soon after, another officer assists Ramos.

Thomas apologized and insisted that he can't breathe. In all, six officers tried to subdue Thomas, who is heard in the recording crying for help.

Thomas fell into a coma and died five days later after being taken off life support. Kelly's father, Ron, says the recording is too difficult to watch.

The judge reviewing the evidence this week halted proceedings as audience members gasped and cried out as the video was screened.

Ron Thomas says those haunting cries have pushed him to seek justice for his son.

For weeks last year, dozens of supporters rallied in front of Fullerton's police headquarters demanding that the officers be prosecuted.

Under pressure, the chief of police took a leave of absence, then resigned, and three City Council members have been targeted for recall.

Orange County D.A. Tony Rackauckas personally presented the case and took the extraordinary step of charging Ramos with second degree murder.

Officer Jay Cicinelli faces lesser charges, including involuntary manslaughter.

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