Crime & Justice

Kelly Thomas Trial Update: Defense tells jury to analyze case 'without the emotion'

Defense attorney Michael D. Schwartz, who is representing former Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli in the case of the death of Kelly Thomas, reviews video footage of the incident with the jury during his closing argument Wednesday.
Defense attorney Michael D. Schwartz, who is representing former Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli in the case of the death of Kelly Thomas, reviews video footage of the incident with the jury during his closing argument Wednesday.
Joshua Sudock, Orange County Register, Pool photo
Defense attorney Michael D. Schwartz, who is representing former Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli in the case of the death of Kelly Thomas, reviews video footage of the incident with the jury during his closing argument Wednesday.
Orange County district attorney Tony Rackauckas sifts through papers while defense attorney Michael D. Schwartz, who is representing former Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli in the case of the death of Kelly Thomas, delivers his closing argument Wednesday.
Joshua Sudock, Orange County Register, Pool photo
Defense attorney Michael D. Schwartz, who is representing former Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli in the case of the death of Kelly Thomas, reviews video footage of the incident with the jury during his closing argument Wednesday.
Defense attorney Michael Schwartz, who is representing former Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli in the case of the death of Kelly Thomas, delivers his closing argument Wednesday.
Joshua Sudock/Pool Photo
Defense attorney Michael D. Schwartz, who is representing former Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli in the case of the death of Kelly Thomas, reviews video footage of the incident with the jury during his closing argument Wednesday.
Defendant Jay Cicinelli listens to closing arguments Wednesday.
Joshua Sudock/Pool Photo
Defense attorney Michael D. Schwartz, who is representing former Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli in the case of the death of Kelly Thomas, reviews video footage of the incident with the jury during his closing argument Wednesday.
Defense attorney John D. Barnett, who is representing former Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos in the case of the death of Kelly Thomas, delivers his closing argument Wednesday.
Joshua Sudock/Pool Photo
Defense attorney Michael D. Schwartz, who is representing former Fullerton police officer Jay Cicinelli in the case of the death of Kelly Thomas, reviews video footage of the incident with the jury during his closing argument Wednesday.
Defendant Manuel Ramos listens to closing arguments Wednesday.
Joshua Sudock/Pool Photo

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Closing arguments resumed Wednesday in the trial of two former Fullerton police officers charged with beating to death mentally-ill homeless man Kelly Thomas in 2011.

Manuel Ramos is charged with second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and Jay Cicinelli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force for their role in a physical altercation with the 37-year-old Thomas outside the Fullerton Transportation Center on July 5, 2011. Thomas died five days later in a hospital.


Update 5 p.m.: Defense: Cicinelli took "measured responses" to control Thomas 

Defense attorney Schwartz continued his closing argument after the afternoon break.

Schwartz played a section of the video from the altercation that showed the officers in the midst of the physical struggle with Thomas.

"Kelly Thomas doesn't stop resisting," Schwartz told the jury.

He paused the video and used a pointer, telling the jury his client, Cicinelli, announced what he was doing prior to his use of the Taser darts.

"It's a measured response, he's taking the time to put those darts on, he wants to control this person (Thomas) with the least amount of injury to anyone."

The video is played again.

"You hear that clicking sound?” said Schwartz. “The darts are being deployed. But they're not being effective, so he (Cicinelli) keeps trying until the darts are effective.”

"Is he complying? Is he (Thomas) being controlled? No."

Schwartz said Cicinelli is taking "measured responses" to control Thomas during this part of the altercation.

He paused the video at a point where Schwartz said Thomas is grabbing for Cicinelli's Taser.

"If it's so harmful for my client to hit the suspect to keep the weapon from the suspect, how would it be if the suspect got possession of the weapon (Taser)?"

"He's (Thomas) a convicted felon, he's resisting and resisting and resisting," Schwartz told the jury. "The officer has the right to pursue the suspect until the suspect is controlled, that's how my client was trained." 

Schwartz said Cicinelli's actions were consistent with his police training. He continued to use the prosecution's use-of-force expert's principles to tell the jury that Cicinelli used those principles in the altercation. 

"Control, measured, not more, two strikes," said Schwartz as he paused the video after the point at which Cicinelli struck Thomas with the Taser. "He did that really, because he ran out of options. Measured, controlled, reasonable."

Schwartz said Cicinelli did everything possible to avoid hitting Thomas.  

"In his mind, the suspect is fighting with his partners and they can't control him." Schwartz said, "Kelly Thomas grabs the Taser and what are the options?"

He said, "the prosecution has not met the burden of proving there was a reasonable option to the exclusion of Corporal Cicinelli's action." 

"And to put a picture up there, a bloody face, that doesn't prove it all," Schwartz said, in reference to Rackauckas’ use of a color photo of Thomas. 

Schwartz said training requires officers to retain their weapons at all costs.

"So discarding the Taser was not an option for Cicinelli."

He also said Cicinelli is not required to retreat. 

"Here we are at the end of the case and they (prosecutors) didn't meet their burden," Schwartz told the jury as a slide was displayed on the courtroom monitor:

Burden of Proof

1. What does burden of proof mean: 

-Presumption of innocence

-Burden of proof

-Reasonable doubt

"They put on a theory of a cause of death (mechanical compression, blunt force facial, head trauma) that their own doctors can't agree on," said Schwartz. "They tried the case, that theory, basically twice to you and they (expert medical testimony) still can't agree."

"He died at the hands of the police, that was his (Rackauckas') argument," Schwartz said as he finished up his closing argument.

"We don't convict people just because it was a tragedy to ease our guilty conscience,” said Schwartz, who noted Rackauckas played on the emotions rather than evidence. "That's not fair, that's not just, that goes against everything the system (justice) stands for.

"The prosecutors played the video, said listen to his (Thomas) scream, wrench your heart and convict somebody.”

Schwartz told the jury to "analyze this case without the emotion."

"Look at all the evidence, the film (surveillance video), with the approach, the understanding, that it has to prove [Cicinelli] guilty with a reasonable doubt," said Schwartz, who thanked the jury.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas gets the final rebuttal when court reconvenes Thursday and then the jury gets the case. 

Update 4:00 p.m.: The 'myth' of the compression theory

Following the lunch recess, the defense attorney Schwartz resumed his closing argument, arguing that the evidence does not prove Cicinelli committed involuntary manslaughter. Schwartz made use of the courtroom monitor and projection screen to break down evidence presented  against his client by the Orange County District Attorney. He showed several pages of jury instructions, Fullerton Police Department policy citations and testimony transcripts. 

Schwartz continued to tell the jury about Dr. Aruna Singhania's May 2012 preliminary hearing testimony as to Thomas' cause of death. 

At the time, he said, the pathologist mentioned a discrete moment of compression, but after the preliminary hearing, "she now says it's prolonged compression and restraining the legs would affect respiration."

"She even goes so far to say that even putting pressure on the (Thomas) shoulder with two fingers affects respiration," said Schwartz.

"It's ridiculous, it's preposterous," he said of her 2013 trial testimony. "That was the myth of compression that they're [the prosecution] trying to sell you in this case."

UC Irvine Medical Center Dr. Michael Lekawa treated Thomas from July 5, 2011 to July 11, 2011. Schwartz questioned the doctor's testimony related to blood loss.

Lekawa testified that Thomas was given more than eight liters of saline and blood "or close to three gallons infused in him "because of his low blood pressure."

But Schwartz cited a defense witness [Dr. Gary Vilke] who said he (Thomas) had no significant loss of blood. 

"It wasn't significant, it wasn't a factor," Schwartz said, in reference to Thomas' loss of blood. 

Schwartz said testimony from paramedics at the scene [Stancyk, Zilgitt] showed there was "no blood in Thomas' airway, no obstruction of his airway."

The attorney said it is a myth that a nasal fracture affected Thomas' breathing. 

"Even Lekawa admitted Thomas did not die from nasal or cheek fractures," Schwartz told the jury. 

Related to compression, Schwartz said Lekawa was not able to render an opinion and said Thomas died from "intermittent compression over time."

During his trial testimony, Lekawa said: "The head assault, compression, bleeding from his nose and facial fractures, ultimately led to a lack of oxygen to his (Thomas) brain."

Schwartz said the testimony from Dr. Singhania, Dr. Lekawa and Dr. Juguilon on the factors that caused Thomas' death were contradictory and called them "theories."

"These are three experts and they have four theories, is that reasonable doubt?" 

"So a question folks, how can the prosecution claim that Kelly Thomas death was a direct, natural and probable consequence of mechanical compression of his chest when the prosecution experts can't even agree when they occurred?" Schwartz asked the jury. 

Schwartz said the doctors could not agree on the factors of mechanical compression and facial fractures.

"The prosecution did not prove any of my client's [Cicinelli's] acts were a factor in Kelly Thomas' death."

Vilke testified that Thomas' continuous speaking indicated he was effectively breathing.  Schwartz also said Cicinelli's strikes to Thomas' head did not contribute to Thomas' death. 

"It doesn't look pretty but it wasn't  a substantial factor [in Thomas' death]" Schwartz told the jury, using a transcript of Vilke's testimony on the courtroom monitor.

'Reasonable' use of force by Cicinelli

Schwartz went on to say the prosecution's use-of-force expert John Wilson did not even address Thomas' attempt to grab Cicinelli's Taser.

"That's the case folks, that's why we're here," Schwartz said. "That's the crux of this issue. They [the prosecutors] don't even ask him [Wilson] about that.

"Weapon retention is important for the officer's safety and to control the situation," he said. 

Schwartz again said that Cicinelli had a right to use the Taser to strike Thomas in order to retain possession of it. 

"It was actually reasonable based on their training for my client to use that weapon [the TASER] as an impact weapon to keep the suspect from grabbing it," Schwartz said.

In discussing the excessive use of force charge, Schwartz told the jury that several Fullerton Police Department officers testified that Cicinelli was "respected" and that he had never had an incident of "use of excessive force." He said the jury must consider that in their deliberations. 

"What's the evidence? Strip away everything, what the prosecutor showed was a picture of Thomas' bloody face," said Schwartz. He said the prosecution "pandered to emotion" due to a lack of evidence.

"No one is asking you to find our clients not guilty because Kelly Thomas had a violent past, but you have to know that information," said Schwartz. "It's not an attempt to smear him."

Schwartz said the use of force policy allows police officers to use self defense. "This was not an assault [by my client] based on his training."

"His strikes were measured, they were controlled, they were used to keep the suspect from grabbing the weapon," said Schwartz, who said Cicinelli did not use more force than necessary. "My client is not guilty. End of story."

Schwartz will continue his closing statement when the court resumes after the afternoon break. 

Update: 1:10 p.m.:  Lawyer says defendant Cicinelli only hit Thomas twice 

Court resumed after the morning break with Judge William Froeberg holding up a photo he said was surreptitiously taken of the jury in the courtroom Wednesday. 

"If I find out who this person is, you are going to jail," he said.

With that, Michael Schwartz, attorney for defendant Jay Cicinelli, started his closing argument by telling the jury, "What happens in this courtroom is what matters and the law in evidence. That's it."

He used the courtroom monitor to display a graphic titled: "Dispelling myths…" And he used a projection screen to display a portion of the written transcript. 

"They're so good," Schwartz said of prosecutors. "They put on a week and a half of evidence and spent about 10 minutes talking about it. This was a tragedy. Any loss of life was a tragedy. But was it a crime? No. The prosecution has to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. They can't meet their burden using the cold, hard facts. "

Schwartz said the prosecution needs the jury to believe "several myths" rather than facts. 

"The prosecution started its opening statement and showed one still photo of my client holding a Taser above the head of Kelly Thomas and said that's a hammer about to come down," Schwartz said, pounding the podium with his right fist. Schwartz said prosecutors used emotion rather than evidence.

Schwartz played the section of the video which showed Cicinelli with his Taser raised over Thomas. "But when Cicinelli's arm comes down, it doesn't strike Thomas' face," Schwartz said.

Schwartz showed a graphic with the header "Actual Evidence" on the courtroom monitor. The graphic read:

Only two strikes … to the face

The suspect grabbed my client's TASER.  

Corporal Cicinelli wrestled the TASER from the suspect's hand. 

Corporal Cicinelli tried to keep the suspect from continuing to grab the TASER. 

Corporal Cicinelli shifted to the left. 

"Why did he do that?," Schwartz asked. "Because he has a glass eye, he can't see out of his left eye."

"My client hit him in the face twice and Kelly Thomas didn't reach up for that weapon anymore, and that's what my client has been trained to do to control the suspect," Schwartz said. 

"Misinformation" from prosecutors

Schwartz said the prosecution used misinformation to mislead the jury. 

"You can't compare a Taser to a long hard wooden baton or a metal ASP, but that's what the prosecution tried to do," Schwartz told the jury.  

He said Cicinelli followed his training during the altercation between officers and Thomas.

"It wasn't deadly force, period."

"If hitting someone in the face twice is deadly force, then couldn't my client be at risk from getting hit with the Taser if the suspect grabbed it? The prosecution wants to ignore that fact. But it's not how officers are trained. 

"If you have a suspect that has been fighting with your two partners for several minutes  and nothing you have tried has worked and he's grabbing at the weapon and he's grabbing at the wires, what other option is reasonable?"

Schwartz next questioned the testimony from prosecution witnesses, including the testimony Dr. Aruna Singhania, the pathologist who conducted Thomas' autopsy. Defense attorneys say she changed her testimony between the preliminary hearing and the trial.

Prosecutors later called her boss, Dr.Anthony Juguilon, to clarify the Corner's Office determination into Thomas' death. 

"Dr.Anthony Juguilon came in to clean up a train wreck that was her testimony," Schwartz said.

Singhania testified Thomas died from a lack of oxygen to the brain as a result of respiratory failure. Singhania said compression on Thomas' chest and injuries to his face gradually cut off Thomas' air flow.  

Juguilon heads the pathology team at the Orange County Coroner's office. He testified he agreed with Singhania's conclusions that prolonged compression on Thomas' chest and blunt facial injuries – especially a nose fracture – cut off Thomas' air flow and resulted in asphyxia – when the brain and organs don't get enough oxygen. Juguilon also testified that Thomas had heart disease. 

"All that matters is that he died at the hands of the police, that's what [Orange County District Atty. Tony] Rackauckas said," Schwartz said, paraphrasing remarks Rackauckas made in his closing statement to the jury. 

Schwartz showed the jury quotes from Hollywood films on an easel. First, from  Twelve Angry Men: "The burden of proof is on the prosecution." From the film To Kill A Mockingbird: "People generally see what they look for, and know what they listen for." 

"The defense doesn't have to prove anything," Schwartz told the jury. He used the courtroom monitor again as he showed a slide titled "Burden of Proof."

"The only two people who are innocent in this room are those people," Schwartz told the jury as he pointed toward defendants Cicinelli and Manuel Ramos. 

Schwartz next used the jury instructions relating to the charge of involuntary manslaughter, one of two charges Cicinelli faces. 

Schwartz told the jury Cicinelli was not criminally negligent, one of the criteria that has to be met for a person to be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. 

Schwartz told the jury that "this is a circumstantial evidence case."  

Schwartz called the cause of death determinations by Singhania "myths."

He used a graphic to show various details from Singhania's initial autopsy findings and told the jury Singhania used the term "enlarged" in her description of Thomas' heart. 

During the trial, several medical experts testified for the prosecution that Thomas did not have an abnormally large heart. But defense experts offered testimony that said Thomas did have an enlarged heart -- a condition they say caused him to suffer heart failure after the altercation.

Schwartz said after the "gross autopsy," Singhania did not know Thomas' cause of death. 

"She does know he died from a lack of oxygen to the brain. Then she's visited by the DA's office and viewed the video a second time," Schwartz told the jury. 

Schwartz recounted Singhania's preliminary hearing testimony, when she said the compression of Thomas was a discrete event and once the event happened, Thomas stopped breathing. 

The court recessed for the lunch break at this point. Schwartz will continue his closing argument when court resumes at 1:30. 

Before the recess, Judge Froeberg told the jury that one juror is identifiable in the leaked photo and the court is still investigating who took the photo. 

Update 11:45 a.m. : Jurors told ex officers are innocent in death of homeless man

John Barnett, defense attorney for Manuel Ramos, resumed his closing argument Wednesday challenging the prosecution's assertion that Ramos had verbally threatened Thomas with violence.

In a 34-minute surveillance video of the altercation, Ramos can be seen showing Thomas his fists and saying, "See these fists? They're getting ready to f**k you up"

Barnett told the jury that no one would take that comment "literally."

He called the comment "sarcasm" and said Kelly Thomas didn't even take it seriously.

"No way does [Thomas] think 'I'm going to get a beat down,'" Barnett said.

Barnett said Ramos' comment was an "unquestionably lawful order delivered in an unquestionably lawful manner."

Barnett said that type of verbal sparring had been used previously and successfully in previous encounters between him and Thomas.

"But that night it just didn't work," Barnett said. He also said the statement did not give Kelly Thomas the right to flee Ramos, as the prosecution has asserted. 

Barnett used the courtroom monitor and an easel as he focused on the prosecution's claim of criminal negligence on the part of Ramos the night of the altercation.

"The prosecutor said Ramos is responsible for [the altercation]and he's calling other police in and creating a danger."

Barnett said based on the audio of the incident, it's the officers involved in the struggle that are in danger. 

"Listen to them  during the fight," he said. "You don't think they thought they were in the fight of their lives? Do you think that they called a bunch off cops there, every cop in the city, to come watch them and help them beat down some homeless person. Do you think that's what happened? 

"Is there any other reason at all to call 'Code 3' and call it three times? The force they were using was not sufficient, and they called for help. The prosecutor called this criminal. But is that negligent? Is that where we are now, that officers in a struggle can later  be second-guessed by people who are not trained as they  are trained?

"You decide what's reasonable. You decide what's fair. You decide guilt or innocence," Barnett told the jury. "You stand between the defendants and the prosecutors. We are long past whether Ramos did anything wrong."

Barnett then challenge the idea that Ramos was criminally negligent when he didn't offer assistance after Kelly Thomas said he couldn't breathe. 

"The evidence is, if he's talking he's breathing," Barnett said. "So what the prosecution is saying is that when Ramos hears that,  Ramos should have taken action."

Barnett referred to testimony from emergency medical expert Dr. Gary Vilke as he told the jury that a reasonable person could not assume someone is dying because the person says , "I cannot breathe.'" 

"[Vilke] is the world's leading expert on deaths in custody, especially asphyxia. He says nearly every time a suspect is taken down, they say 'I cannot breathe,'" Barnett said.

Barnett said when Fullerton Police Department Sgt. Kevin Craig arrived on the scene at the Fullerton Transportation Center, Craig was in charge of the situation not Ramos.

Orange County District Atty. Tony Rackauckas said in his closing statement that Ramos was responsible for managing the entire altercation and failed to act in a lawful manner to protect Thomas. But Barnett told the jury that according to police policy, Ramos was relieved when Sgt. Craig arrived at the scene. 

"So all this. 'he should have done this, he should have done that'… the sergeant is in charge [not Ramos]," Barnett said.

"The prosecutor said the officers seem kind of casual. Everybody there is so unreasonable, this is such conduct, that no reasonable person would act this way, so everybody there, at the scene, is unreasonable," Barnett said. 

Barnett then sought to refute the prosecution's claim that Ramos knew Kelly Thomas had a mental condition. He said there was no evidence that Ramos had any prior knowledge of whether Thomas had any mental conditions.

Barnett told the jury the use of the 'F' word by Ramos was consistent with Ramos' seven previous contacts with Thomas, where verbal strategies worked to resolve the incidents.

Next, Barnett picked on the prosecution's use of a former FBI expert, John Wilson,  who came from "3,000 miles away" to testify about the use of force. Barnett referred to Wilson, who was at the FBI 26 years, as "an accountant."

"He never worked the field, never called for or worked a 'Code 3.' He arrested bank robbers for fraud. He was no expert at all," Barnett said. 

During his testimony, Wilson said the actions by Fullerton officers were excessive. Wilson also testified that when Ramos puts on gloves and told Thomas, "See these fists? They're getting ready to f**k you up," it was a show of force by Ramos and was unprofessional. 

"Remember what Wilson said, [Ramos] has a right to tell Thomas where to put his hands," Barnett said. "And the force used, he -- check the video -- used his hands to tell Thomas where to put his hands. But nobody would believe Thomas has the right to take his hands off his knees while he's being lawfully detained or to stand up. The prosecution says 'put yourself in Kelly Thomas' position.' But a reasonable person wouldn't be there.

"[Ramos] had a right to restrain Thomas. He had a right to strike him. All of it is reasonable. We know he had a right to do this. Their expert told you he can rely on his training."

Barnett told the jury that Fullerton Police Department Cpl. Steven Rubio testified what the officers did during the altercation with Thomas was "consistent with their training." Rubio testified he provided use-of-force and tactical training to Ramos and Cicinelli. 

Rubio, the training officer for the Fullerton Police Department, testified in December that he saw nothing contrary to department policy when he watched the video of the encounter between officers and Thomas.  

"Their actions were consistent with their training and nobody disputes that," Barnett told the jury.

During his testimony, Rubio said while it is preferable not to use profanity, "sometimes it is necessary to avoid a physical fight."  He also said Ramos' threat "see my fists" was intended to get Thomas to comply with Ramos' orders and were preferable to a physical confrontation.

Barnett said the prosecutor did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ramos is guilty.

"Officer Ramos is innocent. He is not guilty of murder, and he is not guilty of manslaughter," Barnett said, as he finished his closing argument.

The court took its morning recess when Barnett finished. Cicinelli attorney Michael Schwartz will begin his closing statement when court reconvenes.

Update 8:08 a.m.: Closing arguments continue Wednesday

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas started and finished his three-hour closing statement Tuesday. Rackauckas used a combination of slides, autopsy photos, audio and video from the incident as he addressed the jury.  

"There are a number things in evidence here that clearly show that defendant Ramos acted with a conscious disregard to human life," Rackauckas said.

He cited a section of the Fullerton Police Department manual that describes the use of leg restraints. The manual states that when leg restraints are used, the person should be placed in an upright position because if the person is on "his/her stomach for an extended period of time it could potentially reduce their ability to breathe."  Rackauckas displayed the section on a slide for the jury to see. 

During the struggle, Thomas was placed on his stomach by officers and later, his legs were restrained by officers and a device called a "hobble."

Rackauckas used audio from the portion of the struggle where Kelly Thomas repeatedly tells officers he can't breathe and then later calls for his dad, saying, "help me, help me, please, dad help me. I can't breathe. … I can't breathe sir."

During the playing of the audio, the courtroom monitor was used to show key highlights of text from Thomas' pleas including "Help me" and "I can't breathe."

Rackauckas said Thomas' pleas for help were disregarded by Ramos. He used a picture taken from the video which showed Ramos on Thomas' chest.  "That's where the compression starts," Rackauckas said.

"He was trying to tell him, 'I can't breathe,'" Rackauckas told the jury. "So there was a lack of oxygen caused by compression."

Rackauckas cited testimony from medical experts that said holding the legs could impair breathing.

"We're talking about hitting Kelly Thomas in the face with a Taser, that's the assault here," Rackauckas told the jury, as he explained the involuntary manslaughter charge against Cicinelli. 

Rackauckas cited Fullerton Police Department policy in the use of impact weapons. He said the policy states that officers should avoid head strikes when using those weapons.

Although the Taser is not mentioned specifically in the policy, the district attorney said it should be considered one. He referred to testimony from Fullerton Police Sgt. Kevin Craig, who said a Taser could be used as an impact weapon. 

Rackauckas then returned to the video and showed the jury a portion of the video, first in real time then in slow motion, where Cicinelli is seen using the Taser to strike Thomas' head and face.

Using a slide of the Taser covered in blood, Rackauckas asked the jury: "Is there any question this could cause serious damage?" 

Rackauckas then told the jury, using a slide, what Cicinelli said the night of the incident: "I got the end of my Taser and I probably… I just smashed his face to hell."

As Rackauckas read the Cicinelli comment aloud, a picture of Thomas' bloody face, taken later at the hospital, was shown on the courtroom monitor. 

The district attorney referred to testimony from three medical experts, including the doctor who treated Thomas at the UC Irvine Medical Center and the pathologist who performed his autopsy. The three  testified Thomas died as a result of of a lack of oxygen to his brain, caused by compression and blunt facial and head injuries. 

A color picture of Thomas's bloodied head, tubes attached to his nose and mouth, was on the courtroom monitor with the word "Reasonable?" above it as Rackauckas wrapped up his closing argument. 

"Is this the result of reasonable police force? This didn't have to happen. This started out as a routine incident. Kelly Thomas did not represent any threat or any harm to any officer. So defendant Ramos committed murder, and defendant Cicinell committed involuntary manslaughter," Rackauckas said.

Defense: Kelly Thomas was a "dangerous guy"

John Barnett, defense attorney for Manuel Ramos, began his closing argument to the jury by depicting Kelly Thomas as a violent, dangerous man.

"This is about Kelly Thomas, who beat his 73-year-old grandfather with a poker, put his hands around his mother's throat. This is a case that involved Kelly Thomas with outbursts over years — spontaneous acts of violence that nobody caused except Kelly Thomas," Barnett said. "Kelly Thomas presented a danger. We're not smearing Kelly Thomas, he smeared himself with his conduct. Kelly Thomas was a dangerous, a very dangerous guy.

"This case isn't about a bully cop who was trying to beat down a homeless guy. [Ramos] acted the way he was taught. He followed that training to a T.  He didn't kill Kelly Thomas. He didn't use excessive force. He did exactly as he was trained to do, and he's not guilty of murder and he's not guilty of involuntary manslaughter."

Barnett used overhead slides and an easel with cardboard printouts to show the jury the definition of murder and involuntary manslaughter used by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, calling them "theories." 

"The people have to prove what the cause of death was, but here, there is some controversy over it," Barnett said. "Dr. Singhania [the pathologist who performed Thomas' autopsy] said it was mechanical compression that caused the death. During the preliminary hearing, she said it was a discrete event. She pointed to a specific part of the video when that happened. But Manuel Ramos was nowhere near Kelly Thomas and his chest when that happened."

Barnett told the jury that Singhania's cause of death determination "evolved" after viewing the video of the incident. 

"Is there reasonable doubt to the cause of Kelly Thomas death?" Barnette asked. "The medical experts can't agree," Barnett told the jury. "There's controversy over the cause of death."

"What is it that Ramos did that make him a murderer? He says 'these fists are going to f--- you up.' But what's the theory that makes him a murderer? Ramos' threat is what the prosecution uses to make Kelly Thomas' flight lawful," Barnett said.

"Ramos can use force and the threat of force to get [Thomas] to comply, and that's what he was trying to do," Barnett told the jury. "Who was Officer Ramos dealing with on July 5, 2011? I know the prosecution doesn't like this, but in order to judge [Ramos and co-defendant Jay Cicinelli] it's important to know this."

Barnett proceeded to talk about Thomas' alleged use of methamphetamines, which he said started in the tenth grade. He also discussed what he said was Thomas' "highly violent" nature. He used the courtroom monitor and showed the jury a timeline of various incidents, in which he said Thomas exhibited that behavior. 

Following the closing statements by Barnett and Cicinelli defense attorney Michael Schwartz, Rackauckas starts his rebuttal. The jury is then expected to get the case and could begin deciding the fate of the two officers Thursday.

Defendants Ramos and Cicinelli did not take the witness stand during the trial.