Two former police officers were acquitted of all charges Monday in the 2011 beating death of a homeless man at a Fullerton, Calif., transit station.
It took a single day of deliberations for jurors to reach their verdicts regarding the culpability of former Fullerton Officer Manuel Ramos and former Cpl. Jay Cicinelli in the death of 37-year-old Kelly Thomas.
Ramos, the first police officer in Orange County to be charged with murder while on duty, was found not guilty of one count each of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Cicinelli was found not guilty of one count each of involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force.
Charges against a third former Fullerton police officer, Joseph Wolfe, will be dropped in light of the not guilty verdicts, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said outside the courtroom.
Reaction was emotional on both sides after the verdict was read. Ramos and Cicinelli began to cry when they were acquitted, with Cicinelli hugging his attorney. Thomas’ father, Ron, burst into tears, kicking or stomping his foot.