SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ Two Southern California police officers were ordered Wednesday to stand trial in the death of a mentally ill homeless man following a violent arrest last summer.
An Orange County Superior Court judge made the ruling after a hearing that included surveillance video of the confrontation between the officers and 37-year-old Kelly Thomas in the city of Fullerton.
Officer Manuel Ramos is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Cpl. Jay Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault or battery by a public officer. Both have pleaded not guilty.
The officers confronted Thomas while responding to reports that a homeless man was looking into parked cars at a transit center.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said during the hearing that Officer Manuel Ramos bullied a shirtless with his menacing remarks and aggressive stance _ actions that would have led anyone to fear they were about to get beaten by police.
``Any person, any creature on this earth would have fear at that point,'' Rackauckas told the court during the preliminary hearing.
``You're going to fight or flee because this is an imminent threat of a serious beating by a police officer who is there with a baton and a gun and other police officers.... This is going to be a very bad deal,'' the prosecutor said.
Defense attorneys countered that police _ who are authorized and trained to use force when necessary _ viewed the incident as an encounter with a man who refused to give his name and continued to resist arrest even as multiple officers rushed to assist.