Two of six Fullerton, Calif., police officers involved in the brutal public beating that resulted in the death of 37-year-old Kelly Thomas, a homeless schizophrenic man, have been charged in connection with the case.

Officer Manuel Ramos, who allegedly donned a pair of latex gloves before the beating and told Thomas, “These fists are ready to [F] you up,” was charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Officer Jay Cicinelli was charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force after he allegedly tasered Thomas four times, kneed him in the head twice and hit him with the taser eight times, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Wednesday.

UPDATE: Cicinelli pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon and was released on $25,000 bail. Ramos, who faces more serious charges, had his arraignment continued to Monday, Sept. 26.–BF

Los Angeles Times:

Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said the “menacing” actions of a Fullerton police officer in the fatal beating of a homeless man strayed so far from acceptable law enforcement practices that he was left with no choice but to charge the policeman with murder, and a second officer with involuntarily manslaughter.

Rackauckas, using blunt street language to describe the events he said led to Kelly Thomas’ death, said Fullerton Officer Manuel Ramos turned a potential routine confrontation with a homeless man into a crime scene.

“We simply cannot accept” the actions of the police officer, Rackauckas said. He said Ramos’ actions were “reckless” and created the situation that led to Thomas’ death.

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