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Kelly Thomas' Mom Agrees to $1M Orange County, California Wrongful Death Settlement from the City of Fullerton Over Fatal Police Beating

December 31, 1969

Cathy Thomas, Kelly Thomas's mom, has agreed to accept a $1 million Fullerton wrongful death settlement from the city. Thomas is the 37-year-old mentally ill homeless man who died last year after an altercation with police outside the Fullerton Transportation Center. This Orange County, California civil settlement is separate from the criminal cases against police officer Manny Ramos, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree murder, and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, who is charged with excessive use of force under color of authority and involuntary manslaughter. Both men will stand trial.

In exchange for the settlement, Cathy has agreed not to pursue further damages from the city related to her son's death. The $1 million amount was suggested by a mediator.

A 33-minute video of the July 5, 2011 altercation captures Ramos putting on latex gloves and threatening to use his fists against Kelly, who police suspected of attempting to open the doors of parked cars in the vicinity. Kelly then got up, put his hands in front of him and started to walk away. That is when Ramos and another cop, Officer Joe Wolfe, started striking Kelly, who didn't appear to pose any physical threat to them with batons. Cops also allegedly used their fists and Tasered Kelly. He was beaten for eight minutes before falling into a pool of his own blood. (After falling into coma from the traumatic brain injuries he sustained during the assault, Kelly died five days later.

The assault was recorded on a cell phone and the footage later went up on YouTube. His death allegedly hands of the six cops sparked an outcry and more than 200 protestors hounded City Hall and the Fullerton Police Department for answers and action.

Wolfe and three other cops allegedly linked to the beating, Sgt. Kevin Craig, Officer Kenton Hampton, and pl. James Blatney, have not been charged. All of them are on administrative leave. Kelly's dad, Ron Thomas wants a criminal case to be filed against Wolfe. Ron is not a part of his ex-wife's Fullerton excessive use of force settlement with the city.

"Even if no criminal charges are filed against police officers that you believe were involved in your loved one's assault, you may still be able to pursue damages against them, the department, and/or the city or state," said Orange County, California police brutality attorney Vincent Howard.

Following the way Kelly's arrest was handled, questions were raised about whether Fullerton police are properly trained to deal with people suffering from mental illness. At the time of the assault, Kelly, who was schizophrenic, was not on his medication.

Homeless man's mother settles with Fullerton over his death, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2012

Homeless advocates look to change city government, SCPR.org, May 15, 2012

Hundreds gather in Fullerton for Kelly Thomas protest, ABC Local, August 6, 2011


More Blog Posts:
Fullerton Cops Accused of Orange County, California Police Brutality in Fatal Beating of Kelly Thomas, California Injury Lawyers, August 13, 2011

Mentally Ill Homeless Man Beaten by Fullerton Police Died from Asphyxia, Reports Coroner, California Injury Lawyers, September 21, 2011

Fullerton Cops Accused of Orange County, California Police Brutality in Fatal Beating of Kelly Thomas, California Injury Lawyers, August 13, 2011

"Excessive use of police force is a violation of one's civil rights. Regardless of whether or not a police officer had the best of intentions, a cop is never allowed to use more force than necessary or warranted and he/she should be properly trained to do the job," said Fullerton injury lawyer Vincent Howard.

To schedule your free case evaluation, contact Howard Law PC and ask to speak with Orange County, California personal injury attorney Vincent Howard today.