SANTA ANA, Calif. — A shirtless Kelly Thomas pulled on his long, scraggly hair while police searched his backpack.
Moments later, Officer Manuel Ramos snapped on latex gloves and threatened to take on the mentally ill homeless man, according to surveillance video and audio recordings unveiled Monday at a hearing to determine if Ramos and another officer will stand trial in the death of Thomas.
Thomas said he forgot his name and didn't sit with his feet stretched out in front of him, as police had ordered. When he got up, Ramos and another officer swung at him with their batons and pinned him to the ground as he pleaded with them to stop.
"I can't breathe man," Thomas moaned shortly before another officer used a Taser on him, according to a transcript of the muffled recordings.
"Dad, help me," Thomas says.
The 33-minute video – which was paired with audio from recording devices worn by some officers – was shown to the public for the first time as a judge decides if Ramos and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli will face trial in the confrontation in Fullerton last July.
Ramos, a 10-year-veteran of the Fullerton Police Department, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Cicinelli, who has worked in Fullerton since 1999, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force. Both have pleaded not guilty.
The incident spawned a federal civil rights probe and fueled weeks of protests by Fullerton residents that included a recall effort against three elected officials slated for next month's ballot.
Parts of the grainy nighttime video are unclear, and there is background noise from dispatchers and the transit hub where the arrest occurred while police were investigating a report of car burglaries.
When the altercation is in full swing, it's not clear on the video which officer is doing what.
The video ends with medics taking Thomas from a spot covered with a large bloodstain, while police gather their equipment and discussed the struggle.
"We ran out of options so I got the end of my Taser and I probably ... I just start smashing his face to hell," Cicinelli said, according to the transcript provided by prosecutors. "He was on something. Cause the three of us couldn't even control him."
Earlier in the day, Fullerton Fire Capt. Ron Stancyk testified that he found the shirtless, handcuffed Thomas lying on the ground. His skin was ashen, his hair and face bloody, and he was breathing slowly.
"Nothing was being done," Stancyk, a Fullerton paramedic with 20 years of experience, told the court.
Dawn Scruggs, a forensic specialist with the Fullerton Police Department, said Ramos was holding his rib cage and was out of breath when she got there. Appearing exhausted, he told her he had never had anyone fight him like that before, she testified.
"He looked like he was in disbelief of what just happened," Scruggs told the court.
Cicinelli, whose right pant leg was smeared with blood, was also tired, she said.
"He was in awe, like oh my God, I can't believe this," she said. "This guy just would not stop fighting."
Prosecutors say the beating began after two officers responded to reports that a homeless person was looking in cars and rattling door handles in the transit hub where numerous buses come and go and commuters park their cars.
The officers stopped Thomas, who suffered from schizophrenia and had trouble complying, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors say Ramos punched Thomas in the ribs, tackled him and lay on him to pin him down. They say Cicinelli, who arrived on the scene later, used a Taser four times on Thomas as he screamed in pain and also hit him in the face eight times with the Taser.
Thomas lost consciousness and was taken to a hospital. He was taken off life support and died five days later.
The coroner concluded that Thomas died from mechanical compression of the thorax, which made it impossible for him to breathe normally and deprived his brain of oxygen. Other face and head injuries contributed to his death, prosecutors said.
Orange County district attorney Tony Rackauckas, one of two prosecutors who questioned witnesses at what is expected to be a two day-hearing, declined comment on Monday, as did defense attorneys John Barnett and Michael Schwartz.
Six Fullerton police officers responded to the incident. All were placed on paid administrative leave and are facing an internal investigation, but only Ramos and Cicinelli were criminally charged.
About three dozen supporters of Thomas attended the hearing before Superior Court Judge Walter Schwarm.
Thomas' father Ron Thomas said the video shows there was no struggle while his son was on the ground being kneed by officers who huddled over him.
"It's made up to make Kelly look so bad and the officers the victim," Thomas told reporters outside court.
Barnett previously said he did not believe prosecutors would put forward sufficient evidence to try the officers on homicide charges.
"Officer Ramos was doing not only what he is permitted to do, but what he is required to do," Barnett said.
The FBI launched an investigation to determine if Thomas' civil rights were violated. That probe is ongoing. The city of Fullerton is also conducting an internal investigation.
This 1998 family photo provided by the Thomas family shows Kelly Thomas, who died after a confrontation with police officers in Fullerton, Calif. on July 5, 2011. The Fullerton police department had no intent to deceive the public by releasing an old booking photo of Thomas or information about officers' potential injuries from the confrontation, an independent consultant said Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Thomas Family, File)
Cathy Thomas and Ron Thomas, parents of Kelly Thomas, stand next to a memorial for their son on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, in Fullerton, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Elisha Beulah, 33, right, cries by a memorial for Kelly Thomas, 37, on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, in Fullerton, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Demonstrators wait for Orange County, Calif., District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, to announce that two police officers will be charged in the death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man, at a news conference in Santa Ana, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
People protest outside the police station in Fullerton, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, over the killing of Kelly Thomas, the homeless schizophrenic man who died after being beaten by Fullerton police during a violent arrest in July. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Cathy Thomas, left, mother of Kelly Thomas, the homeless schizophrenic man who died after being beaten by Fullerton police officers during a violent arrest in July, shakes hands with Fullerton police officers who barricaded a street to make room for a protest Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, in Fullerton, Calif. Six officers who were trying to search Thomas' backpack July 5 after reports of break-ins at a Fullerton transit hub got into a violent fight with the 37-year-old. He later died of severe head and neck injuries. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Ron Thomas, father of Kelly Thomas, left, says goodbye to City of Fullerton Mayor Richard Jones after a meeting Wednesday Aug. 17, 2011 in Fullerton, Calif. The Fullerton City Council had just approved the hiring of a law enforcement consultant to investigate the death of Kelly thomas, a mentally ill homeless man after a violent confrontation with police that sparked outrage and protests by residents. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Computer-generated images based on Kelly Thomas' medical records are shown at a news conference, displayed by his father, Ron Thomas, Wednesday Sept. 7, 2011 in Los Angeles, allegedly showing Kelly Thomas had multiple broken bones in his face and cracked ribs. The family of the mentally ill man, Kelly Thomas, who died following a violent confrontation with six Fullerton police officers, has released his medical records, alleging he died of blunt head trauma that led to brain death. (AP Photo /Nick Ut)
Ron Thomas, center, father of Kelly Thomas, walks into the court to speak before the judge during the arraignment hearing for Fullerton Police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli in Orange County Superior Court on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011 in Santa Ana, Calif. Prosecutors charged one police officer with murder and another with manslaughter in the killing of 37-year-old Kelly Thomas, an unarmed, mentally ill homeless man who was pummeled, shocked with a Taser and slammed with the butt of a stun gun in a beating that lasted nearly 10 minutes. Ramos was charged with one count each of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Cicinelli was charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter and excessive force. (AP Photo/Paul Rodriguez)
Orange County, Calif., District Attorney Tony Rackauckas clenches his fists to demonstrate how one officer threatened a homeless man, as he announces that two police officers will be charged in the death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man, at a news conference in Santa Ana, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Fullerton, Calif., police Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, left, and officer Manuel Ramos, right rear, are led away after being arraigned on charges in the death of a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, in Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. Cicinelli was charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter and excessive force. (AP Photo/Paul Rodriguez, Pool)
Fullerton, Calif., police officer Manuel Ramos is led away after he and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, not shown, are arraigned on charges in the death of a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, in Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. Ramos was charged with one count each of second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Thomas after a violent confrontation in Fullerton on July 5. (AP Photo/Paul Rodriguez, Pool)
This combo made from file photos provided by the Orange County District Attorney's office shows Fullerton Police Officers Jay Cicinelli, left, and Manuel Ramos. A judge on Monday, May 7, 2012 will weigh whether there's enough evidence to try the two officers, who are charged with one count each of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of 37-year-old Kelly Thomas after a violent confrontation with officers on July 5. (AP Photo/Orange County District Attorney, File)