FULLERTON – Ron Thomas, father of mentally-ill transient Kelly Thomas, said at a memorial gathering Saturday, July 5, that he has seen some positive strides made in the past three years since his son died following a confrontation by three then-Fullerton police officers in July 2011.
The fallout of that confrontation led to the resignation and recall of several Fullerton government and police officials and has sparked a national debate on the intersection of homelessness, mental health and police brutality.
The Orange County District Attorney’s office charged two of the former officers, Manuel Ramos and Jay Cincinelli, as responsible for Thomas’ death, but they were found not guilty on all counts by a jury in January 2014.
The counts ranged from excessive force to involuntary manslaughter and 2nd degree murder.
Ron Thomas said Saturday that despite the trial’s outcome, he was glad that he was able to get the charges against the officers filed, which he called an Orange County milestone.
“What I really want to see, what we really need to see — all of us around the world — is for at least one juror to come up and explain why they voted the way they voted,” he said.
The elder Thomas’ civil suit against the city of Fullerton is expected to start in December 2014, and there is the possibility of a federal lawsuit against the former officers, according to Thomas and media reports.
About 75 people attended the gathering, which was held at the Fullerton Transportation Center to mark three years since Kelly Thomas’ death.
Photo and report by Tim Worden.
Published July 4, 2014 at 2 p.m.
Updated July 6, 2014 at 2:30 p.m.