California police officers not guilty of beating homeless man to death

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LOS ANGELES — A jury has acquitted two former Fullerton, Calif., police officers on trial in the beating death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill and homeless man.

The verdict was read in a Santa Ana courtroom Monday afternoon. Eight women and four men began deliberating the case on Thursday.

The beating of Thomas in a transit parking lot was recorded by security cameras on the night of July 5, 2011. The surveillance camera footage shows Thomas being beaten, clubbed and stunned with a Taser by police. On video shot by witnesses, the suspect can seemingly be heard begging for his life. The videos sparked a nationwide outcry.

Former officer Manuel Ramos was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. A second former Fullerton officer, Jay Cicinelli, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force.

Both were found not guilty on all charges.

In closing arguments, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told jurors that Ramos bore responsibility for Thomas’s death because he issued a threat to the uncooperative homeless man. Ramos can be seen on the surveillance video putting on gloves and shaking his fist in Thomas’ face.

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