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Who Is Officer Manuel Ramos?

                                                          by Allen R. Kates, MFAW, BCECR
                                                                        Fullerton PD Police Officer Manuel Ramos

Officer Manuel Ramos

Little has been published about Fullerton Police Department Officer Manuel Ramos concerning his background. He is 37 and is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the July 5, 2011, beating and subsequent death five days later of Kelly Thomas.

Officer Ramos has resigned or was fired from the Fullerton PD (the city won’t say which). He has pled not guilty to the charges. Although his bail was set high at $1 million, he made bail with the help of family and friends and property. In California, defendants can post 10 percent of the bail amount to secure release.

Ramos Accused In Another Attack

In a separate incident, Ramos is accused of attacking a disabled man just two weeks before he mercilessly beat Kelly Thomas. On June 21, 2011, Officer Ramos is accused in a lawsuit of throwing 59-year-old Mark Edwin Walker to the ground and stomping on his hand. The complaint alleges that Ramos approached Walker near his car and asked him what he was doing. Walker had just returned from a pharmacy after buying a prescription.

Allegedly, with no reasonable suspicion of probable cause, the officer placed Walker’s hands on his car and patted him down. Walker asked Ramos, “Why are you hassling me?” According to the lawsuit, Ramos picked him up, slammed him to the ground and stomped on his left hand. Walker sustained a broken bone in his hand and cuts to his body and face. Walker was cited on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, released and forced to walk four miles back to his car.

Previous Attack 14 Days Before Encountering Thomas

This occurred 14 days before Officer Ramos encountered Kelly Thomas, a person he did not consider dangerous or a threat. Yet something seems to have changed in the officer’s mind before he saw Thomas on July 5, 2011.

Officer Ramos punched Thomas in the ribs, tackled him and lay on him to hold him down, despite Thomas’s cries that he could not breathe.

What Are Reasons For Ramos's Behavior?

What happened to Manuel Ramos? Did something in him snap? Was he involved in other incidents of brutality before the encounters with Walker and then Thomas? Was brutality a pattern in Ramos's police career that escalated over time?

Perhaps the murder trial will tell us more about Officer Ramos's motivations.

*Partial Source: NBCLA.com June 1, 2012

Update: On January 13, 2014, the police officers charged in the Kelly Thomas death were acquitted of all charges. At the moment, there has been no response from the Justice Department of the federal government.

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