Officers acquitted in California homeless death 

click to enlarge Manuel Ramos
  • AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Joshua Sudock, Pool
  • Former Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos listens to Orange County district attorney Tony Rackauckas' closing argument in the case against Ramos and fellow former officer Jay Cicinelli in Santa Ana, Calif. Cicinelli and Ramos pleaded not guilty in the beating death of Kelly Thomas, 37, a mentally ill homeless man. Thomas died five days after a violent struggle with officers who were responding to a report of a man breaking into cars at a transit hub.
Two former California police officers were acquitted in the death of a homeless man who died five days after a violent, videotaped struggle with several officers.

It was a rare case in which police officers were charged for a death that occurred while on duty.

The verdicts against former Fullerton Officer Manuel Ramos and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli were returned Monday in Orange County Superior Court.

Ramos was acquitted of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Cincinelli was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force.

Kelly Thomas, 37, had a history of run-ins with police before the July 2011 confrontation. His father, Ron Thomas, said his son suffered from schizophrenia and didn't understand the orders from police.

Prosecutors relied on grainy surveillance video at trial to show Thomas being struck, shocked by stun guns and restrained by officers.

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