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Kelly Thomas video: 'Dad, they are killing me'

May 7, 2012 |  3:10 pm
Kelly Thomas repeatedly apologized to Fullerton police officers, saying he was "sorry" as they continued to pummel him with their fists and batons, a dramatic video of the July 5 beating of the homeless man reveals.

The grainy black-and-white video, shown Monday on the first day of a preliminary hearing for two Fullerton police officers charged in the case, shows a shirtless Thomas being repeatedly struck.

He eventually screams: "Dad, they are killing me."

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

The sounds of the baton and a fist hitting the homeless man can be heard on an audio recorder that one of the officers had on his belt. Several spectators in the courtroom left during the video, and the judge paused it at one point as people in the crowd groaned.

Two officers, Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, are charged in Kelly's death.

The video begins with Thomas being detained, uncooperative to a point at which officer Ramos appears to grow angry.

"See these fists," the officer can be heard saying. "They're getting ready to f--- you up," he adds after putting on a pair of gloves.

A short time later, Ramos can be seen hitting Thomas with his baton and heard saying, "get on the ground."

Thomas repeatedly apologizes to Ramos and a second officer. "I am sorry, dude. I can't breathe, dude," Thomas says.

One of the officers can be seen kneeing the 37-year-old homeless man.

Several people in the court left the proceedings, and Orange County Superior Court Judge Walter Schramm paused the tape at one point because of gasps in the courtroom.

"I cannot breathe, man," Thomas says on the video as Ramos tells him to relax. Some of the struggle is hidden by a tree, but a Taser can be heard, apparently stunning Thomas, whose legs appear to wiggle.

Thomas' voice gets lower and lower as the encounter continues. "Dad, they're killing me," he says.

By the time the confrontation ends, Thomas is lying in a pool of blood. Officers then examine their own wounds as they stand over Thomas, handcuffed and on the ground.

"You are covered in blood, dude," one officer can be heard saying to another.

Cicinelli adds: "He is the one you're gonna need to look at." 


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-- Richard Winton, reporting from Orange County