Kelly Thomas case: mother accepts $1-million settlement offer
The mother of a mentally ill homeless man who died after he was beaten by Fullerton police has reached a settlement with the city that will pay her $1 million.
The settlement agreement unanimously approved Tuesday by the Fullerton City Council resolves Cathy Thomas' legal claims against the city regarding the death of her son, Kelly Thomas, 37. He died in July 2011, five days after his confrontation with Fullerton Police Department officers.
Thomas reached the settlement after voluntary mediation with her attorney, Brian Gurwitz, city officials said.
"Resolution of Ms. Thomas’ claim at this time allows her to begin the healing process and avoid what would likely be protracted, expensive and difficult civil litigation," Thomas and the city said in a joint statement.
The settlement does not resolve a claim filed by Thomas' father, Ron Thomas, for damages. He has vigorously pushed for the firing of the six officers and to have them tried on criminal charges.
A Superior Court judge last week found there was enough evidence for Officer Manuel Ramos to stand trial for second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli to face a trial for involuntary manslaughter and excessive force.
The settlement comes on the heels of that preliminary hearing, during which a 33-minute video and audio recording of the incident was played. The recordings so horrified some in the gallery that they had to leave the courtroom.
The beating sparked outrage in the community and resulted in an effort to recall three council members in next month's election.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Fullerton police Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, left, and Officer Manuel Ramos. Credit: Orange County district attorney's office