Kelly Thomas death: Prosecutors won't try third officer

Prosecutors will not pursue charges against a third Fullerton officer accused in the Kelly Thomas beating case after two former officers were acquitted.

The trial for the third officer, Joseph Wolfe, was pending.

"I don't intend to proceed with another trial when the two officers here were acquitted," Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas told reporters Monday.

An Orange County jury Monday found two former Fullerton police officers, Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, not guilty in the killing of a schizophrenic homeless man, Kelly Thomas.

Ramos and Cicinelli were charged with striking Thomas with a baton and a stun gun in a beating that left him comatose. He died five days later.

Ron Thomas, Kelly Thomas' father, said he was stunned by the verdict, saying he had never seen such a miscarriage of justice.

Thomas also suggested that federal authorities should look into the case.

Ramos' attorney, John Barnett, told reporters: "These peace officers were doing their jobs.... They did what they were trained to do."

The jury took less than a full day of deliberation to reach the verdicts. 

Rackauckas told jurors the former officers had abused their authority on the July evening when they confronted Thomas.

Ramos was facing second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges, and Cicinelli was charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force under the color of authority.

The incident, captured on surveillance tape, was shown repeatedly during the trial, but each side drew different conclusions as to what it showed.

Prosecutors said the video captured a real-time homicide with the officers beating a homeless man, even as he called out for help. Defense attorneys said it showed two policeman trying to restrain a violent suspect who possessed abnormal strength.

The coroner's office determined that Thomas died of brain damage from lack of oxygen caused by chest compression and other injuries sustained during his struggle with police.