Hundreds of demonstrators are expected to gather Saturday at the Fullerton Police Department to protest the recent acquittal of two officers charged with the death of Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic homeless man.
The trial of Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli played out for nearly three weeks in a Santa Ana courtroom, but the jury deliberated just two days, handing down their verdict Monday.
The shocking decision led to a rallying cry by an organization that calls itself A California Campaign to STOP Police Brutality.
“We do not accept a NOT GUILTY verdict in the murder of Kelly Thomas! We DEMAND the murderers to be imprisoned or FULLERTON will continue to feel the wrath of the people,” read the Facebook page that promoted the Fullerton protest.
By Saturday morning, more than 1,000 people planned to attend the event.
The case of Thomas, who was 37 when he was beaten into unconsciousness two years ago, was the first in Orange County’s history that involved an officer facing murder charges for actions while on duty. Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas argued the case himself in court.
Fullerton Chief of Police Dan Hughes posted this statement immediately following the verdict:
“We respect the jury’s verdict, and appreciate the consideration the jury gave to the evidence. We understand that there may be a wide variety of reactions to the verdict and encourage anybody who wishes to express their feelings to do so respectfully.”