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Fire captain testifies police did 'nothing' to help Kelly Thomas

Last updated 2 years ago

A fire department captain testified Monday in a hearing for two Fullerton police officers charged in the beating death of Kelly Thomas that when he first arrived on scene "nothing was being done" to help the mentally ill homeless man.

Capt. Rob Stancyk of the Fullerton Fire Department testified that seven or eight Fullerton police officers were standing around a bus depot when paramedics arrived, about 15 feet from Thomas, who he said was lying on the ground.

"Nothing was being done," Stancyk said.

Stancyk testified that initially the officers on the scene were complaining about their injuries, but that then he turned and saw Thomas on the ground, barely breathing.

The testimony comes in the first day of a hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to order Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli to stand trial for Kelly's death last July 5.

The preliminary hearing got off to a dramatic start as prosecutors showed a bloody image of Thomas' face that elicited gasps from the audience. The image was taken at UC Irvine Medical Center several hours after his encounter with police.

Ron Thomas, Kelly Thomas' father, winced as the image was displayed on a monitor. Prosecutors also showed a Taser allegedly used by Cicinelli in the beating of Thomas. The weapon appeared to be bloodied.

Dawn Scruggs, a nine-year forensic specialist for the Fullerton Police Department, confirmed that the Taser had been used on Thomas. Scruggs also told of a pool of blood where Thomas fell.

Scruggs described the officers as having minor cuts but on cross examination acknowledged Officer Ramos told her he had been in the fight of his life.

"He was tired, exhausted and in pain," Scruggs said.

She said officers Cicinelli and Scott Wolfe told her Thomas "would not stop fighting."

Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas called the officers' actions "gratuitous and unnecessary" and noted the investigation showed Thomas offered no response to the blows, indicating he was "down and seriously injured."

Both Ramos and Cicinelli have pleaded not guilty and are free on bail while on leave from the Fullerton Police Department.

— Richard Winton in Santa Ana

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