The Orange County District Attorney's Office is looking for witnesses to the incident between Fullerton police and Thomas that led to his death.
If you have any information about this incident, please call Investigator Stan Berry at (714) 347-8813.
EMAIL the THOMAS FAMILY - FreeSprit74@aol.com
SANTA ANA (CNS) - A judge agreed today to put off until July 13 the arraignment of two Fullerton police officers facing trial in the death of schizophrenic transient Kelly Thomas when a defense attorney asked for more time to analyze an audio recording that he said puts the conflict ``in an entirely different light.''
Orange County Superior Court Judge Craig Robison agreed to reschedule arraignment for Officer Manuel Anthony Ramos, 38, and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, 40.
Ramos faces second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter counts, while Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and using excessive force in the violent, July 5 arrest of Thomas July at the Fullerton Transportation Center. The 37-year-old homeless was taken off life-support machines and allowed to die five days later.
Deputy District Attorney Jim Tanizaki objected to today's delay, saying ``we don't believe it has any impact on the case.''
At issue is a recording of Ramos talking to Thomas before his arrest. Much of the encounter included in audio synchronized with video that was played at the officers' preliminary hearing in May.
A couple of weeks ago, Fullerton polices said they had overlooked several more minutes of audio of Ramos and Thomas. That was later shared with the defense.
Ramos' attorney, John Barnett, said he believed the recording would help his client's case. He asked for time to incorporate the evidence in a motion to ask for the charges to be dismissed. That motion would be filed after the arraignment.
The recording in question was among about 6,000 police recordings dating back to 2008-09, Tanizaki said.
Barnett said he did not believe the recording was overlooked on purpose.
``I'm not saying the prosecution intentionally did anything,'' Barnett said.
He the first 13 minutes of Ramos' recording includes and encounter with another homeless man and that should show Ramos in a different light.
``It shows (Ramos) has a good relationship with (the homeless). He knows them and they know him. He's on a first-name basis and he's very kind (to the other transient).''
Thomas was rude and disobedient, he said.
``Kelly Thomas was using the F word all over that audio and this is a prelude to'' the arrest, Barnett said. ``We're going to evaluate that tape and include that evidence into our analysis into a motion to dismiss charges .... This certainly helps the defense.''
Tanizaki doubted that.
``We don't believe this is a game changer at all,'' he said.
Ramos' friendly contact with another homeless man ``won't change anyone's opinion'' about the arrest of Thomas, Tanizaki said.
Thomas' father, Ron Thomas, said he was not fazed.
``I've heard it. There's nothing there,'' he said outside court.
Ron Thomas said the delay did not bother him.
``I've always said I want the truth. I want the facts, however long it takes,'' he said.
Fullerton police Capt. Dan Hughes, the acting chief, called Ron Thomas to tell him about the recording.
``I'm glad Capt. Dan Hughes found it. He was doing his job,'' Ron Thomas said.
Ramos, a 10-year Fullerton police veteran, is free on $1 million bail, and Cicinelli is free on $25,000 bail. They are both on unpaid administrative leave.
Ramos faces a sentence of 15 years to life if convicted of second-degree murder and four years if convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Cicinelli faces up to four years if found guilty.