Former Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli have been found not guilty on all counts in the beating death of Kelly Thomas. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas headed up the prosecution of the two men and joined Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss on The Morning Answer to talk about the outcome of the trial.
Rackauckas told Ben Shapiro that clearly he thought there were violations of law so “naturally it’s a disappointing verdict.” He added that when he saw the video, he knew this was a case that they needed to take to a jury but that everyone knows it’s a hard case and would be tough to get a conviction.
Elisha Krauss asked Rackauckas if there had been any similar police brutality trials. He replied that they have but there has been nothing of this magnitude. She then asked what evidence was so damning to the prosecution’s argument. “I think it’s just the central question of whether or not Officer Ramos – to what extent he abused his authority and to what extent did Kelly Thomas have a right to resist and defend himself against that excessive force,” explained Rackauckas. “I don’t think there was any particular part of the case that was so damaging to that, it’s just that’s what the jury was required to look at, they looked at that – would a reasonable police officer would be out of line acting the way that he acted and they just decided ‘no.’”
Shapiro also inquired if there was any consideration to charging just manslaughter as opposed to second degree murder. Rackauckas explained the he saw a strong reason to bring second degree murder charges against Ramos because the beating was done in a conscious disregard for the life of Kelly Thomas and that is the mental state needed for that murder charge. He added that both manslaughter and murder charges were on the table and the jury could have found either way.
Later, Shapiro questioned Rackauckas about possible federal charges against the two former officers. Rackauckas said that they will give the FBI all of the information they have, including all of the tapes and reports and it will be up to them. They have different things they’re looking at and Rackauckas said he didn’t want to second guess that.
Click on the player above to hear the full interview with Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas and don’t forget to listen live to The Morning Answer every weekday morning from 6am to 9am on AM870 in Los Angeles or online at http://www.am870theanswer.com