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Officer charged in death of homeless man Kelly Thomas heads to court

September 26, 2011 |  7:16 am

Fullerton police Officer Manuel Ramos One of two Fullerton police officers charged in the death of Kelly Thomas is scheduled to be in court Monday morning.

Officer Manuel Ramos remained in jail over the weekend with his bail set at $1 million. He is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of the 37-year-old homeless man.

He is slated to enter a plea at 8:30 a.m. at an arraignment hearing in Santa Ana. A judge also will consider whether his bail should be lowered.

Ramos made his first court appearance last Wednesday, but because his attorney was out of town the arraignment was postponed.

A second officer, Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, entered a not-guilty plea to charges of involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force and was released on $25,000 bail.

Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas pinned much of the blame for the incident that led to Thomas' death on Ramos.

He said the officer escalated the situation from a routine police questioning to a violent struggle without provocation and that he threatened Thomas, holding up his fists and saying, "They're getting ready to 'f' you up."

His attorney has said Ramos was simply doing his job and Thomas was combative.

Thomas died five days after the July 5 incident in which he was struck and shocked with a Taser multiple times by officers.

The cause of death was asphyxia caused by chest compression; injuries to his head and face were contributing factors.

Four other officers involved in the incident were not charged. All remain on paid administrative leave.

-- Abby Sewell

Photo: Fullerton police Officer Manuel Ramos in court Wednesday. Credit: Paul Rodriguez / Associated Press