By Nicole Zelniker
My jaw dropped when the Fullerton, California jury trying Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli for the murder of Kelly Thomas announced their verdict: not guilty.
Unless there is a new law that says police are immune to the judicial system, there is no reason why this should have occurred.
Mental health advocate Carla Jacobs speculates why Ramos and Cicinelli committed this murder in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“Why was Kelly given a death sentence?” Jacobs asked. “Because he was mentally ill, disheveled, unmedicated and in public.”
Mike Aiken of the Greensboro Urban Ministry agrees.
“The brutal killing of Kelly Thomas by police is another example of how our mental health system has failed,” said Aiken in an email interview with the Guilfordian.
Jacobs and Aiken hit the nail on the head. This never would have happened had Thomas been a well off, mentally stable man. Ramos and Cicinelli’s bias is what killed Thomas.
University of Southern California Freshman Ariel Sobel believes there might be more to the story.
“I’m sure there is more to the situation than a simple homeless man being mercilessly beaten to death,” said Sobel in an interview with the Guilfordian.
But it is pretty clear that that’s exactly what happened based on the video of the brutal murder.
On July 5, 2011, Thomas was beaten to death by Ramos and Cicinelli after they found Thomas at the scene of a car vandalism. According to reports, Thomas was uncooperative and resisted arrest.
In the video, however, Thomas is only unable to cooperate because of the officer’s actions. After screaming and swearing, the officers beat Thomas to death, his cries of “help me” ignored.
Guilford Junior Noelle Lane believes that brutality like this is a reoccurring theme between the police and homeless.
“(Student) Jon Macemore and I did the 48 hour homeless challenge (and) a cop told us how two policeman threw a handicapped man living on the streets out of his wheelchair,” said Lane in an email interview with the Guilfordian.
To add insult to injury, Cicinelli has declared that he wants his job back.
“I was wrongfully terminated,” said Cicinelli in an interview with Paul Detrick. “How do you argue with a jury of 12 who all agree on the same thing?”
Easily. The jury only declared Cicinelli innocent because they were afraid.
But since Cicinelli was declared innocent, should he be able to protect his city? Police Chief Dan Hughes says no, rightfully so.
“I will do everything in my lawful authority to ensure that (Cicinelli) never (has) the privilege of wearing (his) badge again,” said Hughes in a speech to city council.
The fact that Cicinelli and Ramos got off with no penalty while Thomas is lying in a grave is an incredible oversight in our judicial system. Under no circumstances should anyone be allowed to get away with murder.