It’s scarcely believable that the officers got off for this, given the gruesome video footage of events as they unfolded. ThinkProgress writes:
Two former police officers in Orange County, CA were acquitted of murder Monday for beating a schizophrenic homeless man, Kelly Thomas, to death. After watching a harrowing video showing Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, along with other officers, brutalizing Thomas, the jury [found] the two men not guilty.
In July 2011, the Fullerton cops came upon the 37-year-old schizophrenic taking some letters out of a trashcan and started beating him with a taser and a baton. The entire encounter was caught on a nearby security camera. As the officers hit him, Thomas begged for help and called out for his father.
Cicinelli arrived later, tasing Thomas with a stun gun and then struck him across the face with it hard enough to break several bones. “I just probably smashed his face to hell,” he says on the video. Thomas went unconscious and died five days later.
The verdict has already sparked national outrage, but Ramos’ and Cicinelli’s fates are hardly unusual. While stories of police brutality are all too common, accused officers rarely face a courtroom, let alone prison time.