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Kelly Thomas Beating Video: Fullerton Homeless Man's Beating Revealed At Pre-Trial Hearing

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 05/08/2012 12:11 pm Updated: 05/08/2012 1:31 pm

Kelly Thomas Beating Video
A screenshot of the surveillance footage that captured Kelly Thomas' beating. (YouTube)

Never-before-seen surveillance footage of the beating of Kelly Thomas, a Fullerton, Calif. homeless man with schizophrenia, was revealed Monday during a hearing to determine if the police officers involved in the altercation that led to his death will face trial.

The 33-minute video starts with Thomas being approached by Fullerton Police Department Officer Manuel Ramos, who engages him in conversation. By minute 15, Ramos has already donned latex gloves.

"You see my fists?" Ramos asks Thomas. "They're getting ready to fuck you up."

"Start punching, dude!" responds Thomas, who was sitting on the ground. When Thomas stands up to walk away, a second police officer hits him repeatedly with a baton. The first few minutes of the altercation are off-screen, but the audio shows Thomas verbally giving up.

"I'm sorry, dude! I'm sorry," Thomas said. But the blows continue. At minute 16:30, the trio comes back into focus, and both police officers are on top of Thomas.

"I can't breathe dude, I can't breathe!" protests Thomas. "Please, I can't breathe!" Throughout, officers keep telling him to put his hands behind his back.

At minute 18, a back-up police car arrives at the scene and at least one more officer joins in. This is when the tasering starts, amid police requests to "stop resisting." After more prolonged tasers, Thomas is wailing and multiple officers are piled on top of him.

At minute 20, Thomas cries out to his father, who isn't there: "Dad! Dad! Dad! Help me, help me Dad!"

The video ends with emergency responders removing Thomas from the scene, who is now unconscious.

The officers involved in the altercation surround him, discussing what had just happened.

"We ran out of options so I got the end of my Taser and I probably ... I just start smashing his face to hell," says Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, according to the transcript provided by prosecutors. "He was on something. Cause the three of us couldn't even control him."

The video shown on Monday seems to confirm what many Fullerton residents have been saying for almost a year now: that police used excessive force to subdue Thomas.

THE DETAILS OF THE CASE

On July 5, 2011, Fullerton police officers responded to a call about someone breaking into cars at a local bus depot. Officers encountered Thomas, a shirtless, unarmed transient, and asked to search his backpack.

According to police, Thomas refused to submit to a search and became combative, requiring six officers to subdue him. During the altercation, Thomas sustained severe head and neck injuries and had lost consciousness by the time medics were on the scene.

After five days in a coma at the UC Irvine Medical Center, Thomas' family made the decision to remove him from life support.

The coroner later determined that Thomas died from mechanical compression of the thorax, which made it impossible for him to breathe normally and deprived his brain of oxygen. The autopsy also showed he had multiple broken bones in his face and several cracked ribs.

While Thomas was in a coma, his father Ron Thomas revealed that Kelly suffered from schizophrenia. His sister Christina Kinser described him as a "quiet, gentle soul."

Officer Ramos and Cpl. Cicinelli are the only two policemen charged in the beating death of Thomas. Ramos is charged with one count each of second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Cicinelli is charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter and excessive force.

Currently, the FBI is investigating whether Thomas' civil rights were violated, and the city of Fullerton is also conducing its own internal probe, reports the Associated Press.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Kelly Thomas

    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 & Ron Thomas

    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

    Elisha Beulah, 33, right, cries by a memorial for Kelly Thomas, 37, on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, in Fullerton, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

  • Kelly Thomas Supporters

    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)

  • Kelly Thomas Supporters

    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

    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 & Mayor Richard Jones

    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)

  • Medical Records

    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

    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)

  • District Attorney Tony Rackauckas

    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)

  • Cpl. Jay Cicinelli

    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)

  • Officer Manuel Ramos

    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)

  • Cicinelli & Ramos

    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)

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