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Kelly Thomas case: 2 plead not guilty in Fullerton beating death

July 13, 2012 | 12:43 pm

Fullerton
Two men serving as Fullerton police officers at the time of the fatal beating death of Kelly Thomas pleaded not guilty Friday to felony criminal charges in Thomas' death.

Cpl. Jay Cicinelli and former Officer Manuel Ramos appeared in Orange County Superior Court for arraignment Friday. Both previously had been ordered to stand trial for their involvement in an encounter last summer in which the mentally homeless man was beaten by police at a city transportation center. The event has been met with outrage and political unrest in the Orange County city.

Ramos, who left the police department last week, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

PHOTOS: Kelly Thomas dies after run-in with Fullerton police

Cicinelli faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and excessive force under the color of authority. He remains on unpaid leave.

Both are free on bail. They were ordered to return to court July 27.

In total, six officers were involved in the altercation with Thomas, who died five days after the incident.

The Orange County district attorney's office called the officers’ actions “gratuitous and unnecessary” and, during the preliminary hearing, showed a graphic video of the incident in which Thomas can be heard calling for help.

Investigations are ongoing into the actions of the four other officers who have not been charged but have been on paid administrative leave since last August.

Thomas’ father, Ron Thomas, filed suit against the city of Fullerton last week, on the one-year anniversary of the beating.

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-- Christine Mai-Duc

Photo: An image from a security tape of the July 5 encounter between Kelly Thomas and police. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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